It's been nearly six years since George Walker Bush left his domestic and foreign policy messes behind for someone else to clean up. However, no matter where you turn, there are still policy fires all over the place, nearly all of which can be traced to him.
Those policies, specifically, include the wars on terror, Afghanistan, Iraq, as well as the Patriot Act, as well as his failed economic policies.
The economic catastrophe left behind by Bush is pretty self-evident. By the time President Obama took office, the economy was in virtual meltdown. The stock market had lost nearly half its value, entire industries, from automotive to banking to housing, were on the verge of collapse, corporations were shedding both profits and jobs. And even though we've made significant progress under President Obama, we're still suffering from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
It's quite apparent that Bush's quagmires in both Iraq and Afghanistan are still commanding a fair amount of our attention and resources to this very day, despite enormous efforts to get past those.
However, what might not be understood by many is the significant, and deep, impact that Bush's war on terror and its spawn, the Patriot Act (as well as the equally nefarious National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)) have had. For the past few years, we've begun seeing the full ramifications of what the extraordinary surveillance and law enforcement authority of our federal government has done.
The revelations by Eric Snowden and others have felt like spine-chilling real-life versions of fictional novels from the past, like “1984” and “Brave New World.”
And the current racial turmoil going on in cities across the U.S., especially Ferguson, Mo., can also be traced, at least in part, to those very same policies. The Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Department that it created, facilitated the virtual militarization of police departments in cities across the country. And, while it's true that racism existed long before George Walker Bush became president, there's no denying that the cynical war on terror conducted by his administration certainly helped magnify the problem in our police departments by giving them both excuses and military hardware to justify continuing racist policies and practices of the past.
The fact is that President Obama has spent most of his administration cleaning up after the messes left behind by George Walker Bush's cynical and incompetent administration.
Even the problem of income inequality, which started well before George Walker Bush took office, was clearly made worse by Bush's pro-rich economic policies, including tax cuts that favored the wealthiest Americans at the expense of programs to help the poor and middle class.
Can Ralph Nader and his supporters tell me again how there was “not a dime's worth of difference” between Al Gore and George Walker Bush in 2000? Because we're still living with the nightmarish after-effects of the policies of George Walker Bush. Would we be in the same shape today if Al Gore were allowed to serve in the office that he was elected to? My suspicion is that things would be dramatically different, across the board.