So much for the Bush legacy

So you’re a federal employee sitting in your cubicle pondering the smoldering ruins of your retirement portfolio when you receive an interdepartmental memo asking you to list your agency’s major accomplishments over the past eight years for something the White House is compiling called "The Bush Record."

If you’re at the Department of Homeland Security you might think, "Well, there was the time three years ago when we lost an entire American city." No, they don’t want to hear about Katrina or the financial meltdown or the two ongoing wars or the mounting deficits or jailing people without trial or the nonexistent weapons of mass destruction or the … But we stray.

To help focus your thinking, the White House narrowed the accomplishments down to three categories, which Al Kamen of The Washington Post helpfully reprinted in his In the Loop column.

You get to choose among these three themes: "Kept America Safe & Promoted Liberty Abroad," "Lowered Taxes & Reformed Government" and "Stood on Principle/ Tackled Tough Issues / Showed the Way Ahead," not that the White House is trying to influence your thinking at all.

Here our federal employee pauses to look out the office window and make sure there are no long, unruly lines of panicked depositors forming outside the local branch of your bank.

The White House told Kamen that The Bush Record was being compiled to help reporters with their retrospectives when President Bush leaves office. Among the aids to reporters are details of "your Department’s overarching communications strategy" — in other words how you plan to gull the public into believing any of this — and "any broad, overarching products you plan to produce," like a video of department successes, etc.

There’s nothing reporters like more than overarching. But if you’re at the Department of Education you probably don’t want to mention as part of any communications strategy the time when the department got caught paying friendly columnists to write friendly columns. Or the time it turned out the department was using a fake TV reporter to produce fake news reports.

And if you’re at the Federal Emergency Management Agency you probably don’t want to bring up the time last October when the agency got caught holding a phony news conference with FEMA employees pretending to be reporters lofting softball questions. That’s part of the Bush record but not what they mean by part of "The Bush Record."

The sudden interest in compiling positive Bush administration accomplishments even as Wall Street immolates is probably based on the well-founded suspicion that on leaving office Bush will join James Buchanan and Warren Harding in the pantheon of really awful presidents. And there’s early evidence for that. A Pew Research poll of what were described as "leading" historians this spring found that 61 percent thought he was the worst president ever and 98 percent deemed his presidency a failure.

Bush professes not to be interested in how history treats his presidency. If so, he’ll be the first president who isn’t. There is even a massive, taxpayer-supported apparatus designed to burnish presidential legacies — it’s called the presidential library. President Bush’s will be at Southern Methodist University and is projected to cost north of $250 million. That buys a lot of legacy.



(Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)


  1. Harve3

    We agree, the words Executive combined with Privilege are scary! But the scariest words this correspondent has heard are: Hello! I’m from the government and I’m here to help you. 😉

    Hill Country Weisenheimer

  2. Ladywolf55

    Bravo! Well said! You’ve now earned your place on the no-fly list. Welcome to the club. 🙂

  3. JudyB

    Bush’s legacy will be remembered throughout the ages for his hubris, feckless abuse of the presidential powers he inherited upon his appointment to office and the abuse of United States Constitution, which he chose to ignore.

    Bush’s leadership or I should say lack of, was for all intents and purposes, an imperilistic dictatorship, enabled by a U.S.Congress who allowed him to procede without any oversight, conscience, scruples, or principles thus enabling him and his band of thieves to get everything they wanted.

    America and her citizens now stand on the brink of bankruptcy, in shame and embarassed, all because of the unmitigated abuse of power by a man who has proven himself to be a greedy liar and who chose to be assisted in his crimes by aides and advisors that were the same.

    “Bush has the integrity of a tapeworm, the brains of a piss-ant and the morals of a crack whore”
    written by Judy B (myself) in 2002

  4. sawbuck

    Let’s not forget that this was the president on whose watch 9/11 occurred. Ignoring warnings of the outgoing administration about Bin Laden, ignoring the August 6th Memo, setting records for vacation time his first 6 months in office. 9/11 HAPPENED ON BUSH’S WATCH.

  5. Malibu

    The two most dangerous words in America are EXECUTIVE and PRIVILEGE. Bush and Cheney have protected themselves in a grand manner.

    The problem at this time is that there is no guarantee that anyone elected President won’t abuse and use the government in the same way. I think we all learned not to trust the current Congress to step up when something goes wrong so we must throw those bastards out as well!

    Keep our fingers crossed that President Bush will not push the red buttom before he leaves office….North Korea….Iran….Pakistan???


  6. barak

    $250,000,000 + cost overruns=$700,000,000,000. That’s Bush/Cheney math and a lot of money for a building with only one book, and that book begins: “See Spot run.”

    I say indict the bastards for murder and treason and flush them both down the toilet. The thought of seeing the Bush smirk and the Cheney attempt at a smile is nauseating and I don’t want to hear about them after the trial. Maybe, after they are found guilty and hanged for their crimes, they can be buried on the crawford ranch along with the rest of the shit there.

    Sorry for the vulgarity but those two poor excuses for humans really disgust me.

  7. AustinRanter

    Let’s just say that Bushocracy has failed to spread as quickly and as abundantly around the world as Bush and his cronies had hoped for.

    However, like it or not, Bushocracy has successfully established a social allurement and has collected a sizeable membership over the past 8 years.

    Government or Political systems that oppresses or legislates governmental micro-management of individuals’ personal lives apparently has a strong appeal to a lot of folks in the U.S..

    I believe that this is evident by the nominees of this presidential election. Regardless of the denials by many who say that oppression and micro-managing the lives of individuals by any government isn’t and acceptable, I suggest that those who support McCain have clearly assimilated into the new form of social rule perpetrated on the public by Bush.

    But, as the saying goes, “It takes all kinds.”

  8. Malibu

    President Bush 43, still has a large following and it is because he promised to legislate family values. Only the weakest Americans would believe that one can simply make a law to keep husbands home and wives able to tend to the children. A friend of mine wrote a magazine article on “family values” and interviewed thousands of family members who admitted that they lost the respect of their children and each other making separation necessary.

    It was not the lack of faith in the family, but the lack of communication. Family discussions were impossible with the television going 24 hours a day. Bush 43 found his issue for reelection and ran on family values without making a single statement outside of legislating against sins. This was in 2004 and he pulled it off. One can ask the question on many internet sites about the values of Bush 43 and the answer is still “family values.”

    These people will tell you that a liberal is evil and a communist. These same people will admit to backing Bush 41 when he declared that Atheists should not be American Citizens as they are terrorists. That whole Bush family is ignorant of American values and have done more harm to the American family than anyone in my lifetime….