Forget impeachment! Forget censure! The front page of the Chapel Hill (NC) News today (5/24) has a column suggesting that, once Democrats regain control of Congress, they instead adopt a resolution officially declaring Bush the worst president in American history. I confess to authoring the column, but I think the suggestion deserves wide circulation.
Why? Reason unstated in the column: Impeachment only gives us President Cheney (yikes!) or President Condi (OMG). More important, it takes Bush off stage. We want him right there in plain sight until November 2008 so people remember how truly bad he is. Thus: do it the way we dclare National Barbecue Month or whatever. It brands him. To my mind, worse than censure. To read the column, you can go here:
...or read my extended remarks by clicking on "There's More" (I don't know how long it will be accessible on the newspaper's web site). Then pass on the word!
Bush, the worst prez in history?
By RICHARD HEBERT
Forget impeachment. Forget censure. The first thing the Democrats should do when they retake the Congress is adopt a resolution officially declaring George W. Bush the worst president in U.S. history.
Purpose: So we can move on, of course. It's important to assess your place in history to know where to go next.
Consider: Most presidents ranked among the "worst" are there because they did nothing. They did no good, but they also did no harm.
Most scholars' "worst" list include the Roarin' 20s' laissez-faire Republican trifecta that gave us the Great Depression - Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. Add Franklin Pierce, whose passivity gave us the Civil War. And James Buchanan, William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Millard Fillmore and Andrew Johnson, mostly because no one can remember anything significant they did. One is tempted also to add Gerald Ford. Nice guy, meaningless administration. Pardoned Nixon. Add him.
Compared to these wannabees, George W. Bush is a true champ:
* He squandered the budget surplus inherited from Bill Clinton.
* He squandered the international good will we enjoyed after 9/11.
* He gave us the Bush Doctrine -- preemptive invasion of other nations because they might someday pose a threat.
* He lied about why we had to go to war in Iraq.
* He let Osama Bin Laden, our avowed enemy, escape.
* He withdrew the United States from international treaties, including the International Criminal Court, the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and, most notably, the Geneva Conventions, which he said don't apply to us.
* He jettisoned the Kyoto Protocol to avoid addressing global warming.
* He put himself above the U.S. Constitution, choosing which laws to obey, which to ignore.
* Domestically, he stole from programs for the poor and middle class to give mega-buck tax breaks to his mega-wealthy friends.
* He eviscerated programs that help poor families heat their homes, feed their kids, and prepare those kids for school.
* He dismantled longstanding protections against foul air, foul water, feces-laced meat, and corrupt business practices.
* He invited Enron, Exxon and other energy giants to write the laws that regulate them.
* He kept energy regulators from stepping in as Enron engineered a crisis that made Californians' electricity bills soar 800 percent.
* He stood by applauding as natural gas and oil companies plundered the Rockies, rangeland, Indian reservations, national parks and refuges, and coastal waters.
* He handed insurance and pharmaceutical corporations the gift that keeps on giving - the Medicare drug benefit program.
* He tried (thankfully without success) to hand Wall Street another mega-gift - privatized Social Security.
* He mismanaged the response to Hurricane Katrina.
* He attacked critics with disinformation, slander, even outright lies.
* He named inept political cronies to key positions from the CIA, FDA and FEMA to (again thankfully without success) the Supreme Court.
* He let politics trump science on everything from drug approval and stem cell research to global warning and evolution.
* He authorized wiretapping of U.S. citizens without court-issued warrants, and arrests, imprisonment and torture without due process.
In short, he reversed decades of progress on virtually every front, sank us deep into debt, made us "the enemy" to most of the rest of the world, and turned our nation's bounty over to the most obscenely wealthy few.
First, do no harm? George W. Bush did almost nothing but. Helen Thomas and Rolling Stone were right. Congress should officially declare George W. Bush the worst president in U.S. history.
Richard Hebert, a freelance writer and former newspaper investigative reporter, lives in Chapel Hill and in Florida.