Friday, June 15, 2007

Is Bush the *Worst President Ever?*

He would have some competition for that title, but, again, the question is a little misleading. Yes, I know I asked it, but I did so only because it is a phrase I hear repeated around the place, and thought it maybe bore a little examination.

Let's go back to the beginning.

There are those, I am sure, who would consider George Washington (funny that, all those Georges) to have been a pretty Un-American kinda guy. After all, he was the 1st President to be sworn in under the newly adopted Constitution of the United States of America. This *liberal* nonsense has come under severe attack from the latest, and in their eyes at least, most enlightened of Executive branches of government.

Indeed, it would appear that root and branch reform of this worthless liberal document, this "piece of paper" is in order. Notwithstanding the fact that it has proven to be the very foundation of this country, and the bedrock upon which a broadly democratic society has been built.

Given the outrage heard from some right wing quarters when *freedoms* are called into question, then there does appear to be some support for the notion that the Bill of Rights in particular, needed George Bush's wholesale reform, and never mind what the State's governments might have to say about it. Oh, but leave the 2nd alone, as those same people think it allows them to shoot folk in the streets without any apparent concern that there might be an arrest, trial and life-imprisonment to follow.

So, broadly we have two groups taking positions on the two Georges. One group insists the first George was an enlightened leader of a young nation, and that the latest George is a man of limited intelligence, who is pushed around mercilessly by the smart but evil folk around him, eventually to be found washed up, like flotsam on the shores of history. The other group, and I generalise a little, accepts that history deals kindly with George Washington, and acknowledges that he was indeed a man of honour and vision, during times when democracy must have been a hard line to walk. The two hundred years or so that have elapsed have done much to show that the document those guys signed up to is still relevant, still powerful, and still a moving tribute to their courage.

Yeah we get amendments. There is a process, and it requires the States to sign their agreement. I have no record of which States agreed to the trashing of the 4th Amendment, but feel confident that others will point me to the evidence I am missing. I am conscious that other Amendments have been damaged too, but the 4th is so damned obvious I am stopping there.

So .... is he the worst or not?

I think the answer to this question lies buried in another piece I wrote. I think you have to ask *Which America?*. It is a fatal error that Europeans often make (many Americans make the same mistake), to think that America is one big place, homogenised from shore to shining shore. It isn't, it never was, and it came as quite a shock to me when I first realised it. There are many Americas, all linked federally, but separated in significant ways. Separated socially, geographically, culturally, racially, economically and in many other ...allys.

One significant separation is that between the corporate side of the US, and the people who live here. Each would seem to rely upon the other, and to a great extent they do. But it is not a symbiotic relationship. Corporations here are not run for the benefit of their employees, nor of the community at large. Walmart does not provide health care for very many of it's workers. In fact, in many States, Walmart is a parasite upon the State relief for the poor, relying on this to cover it's sick. And Walmart isn't alone, it is just the biggest.

American corporations do not move American jobs abroad to advance the economic standing of the community. They do it to avoid paying a living wage, to maximise profits for a few, with no sense of shame or patriotism. I don't give a flying fuck how many Stars and Stripes they fly outside their corporate headquarters, they behave like economic terrorists.

So how would this America, this corporate society view the current incumbent? Well, quite frankly, they bought him the desk, and he hasn't let them down. Well maybe a little, having kinda queered the pitch for a potential successor. With that single caveat though, he has been a resounding success, and possibly the best President in history. The biggest American companies have grown bigger, fatter and more difficult to reason with, more in the last six years than at any time in history. Take a look at the increases in defence spending if you don't believe me.

Meanwhile, I still post in internet groups where ordinary Americans ... you know, the comfortable but still need to work, the poorer but still happy, those Americans, most of us ... and this President gets oodles of support.

They support the employer who discriminates then is supported in turn by a bankrupt Supreme Court. They support the man who shoots someone who *looked at him in a threatening manner* (I exaggerated that for comic effect, but you get the drift). They think they have decent healthcare ... are they nuts? ... and heaven forbid we ever had *socialised care* ... you know, the kind that gets you better without bankrupting you ... and they will vote for Republicans again.

I want some of that. Some of the kind of power that allows you to treat people mercilessly, to abuse them, to deny them any worker rights, or even habeas corpus, yet still gets them buying, again and again and again.

Most of all, I want Democrats to have it .... have it and use it wisely, responsibly, and for the benefit of all Americans. Yeah, even the ones who voted Republican ... again, dammit.

There are many different Americas ... I want a government that responds positively to them all.

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