The George W. Bush Legacy as seen through the eyes of George W. Bush
President Bush tells interviewers he does not care how history will portray him.
The Los Angeles Times has obtained an internal White House memo giving cabinet members talking points for painting history a rosy portrait of Mr. Bush even though his image will only get worse, as new, damning facts emerge.
What does the memo say? And how are we obliged to correct its bizarre claims?
To start, it says Mr. Bush, quote, "...promised to raise standards and accountability in public schools -- and delivered the No Child Left Behind Act," an act so poorly received, that the Times points out it became a standard applause line this year... for Democrats.
Also from the memo: he curbed AIDS in Africa.
Its spread has slowed, and Mr. Bush has won praise for this but he has not won any praise for withholding funds from groups that promote condom use, a proven life-saver in favor of abstinence-only programs, which have also failed in this country.
Also, Mr. Bush's foreign-aid puritan, Randall Tobias quit last year after patronizing an escort service linked to prostitution.
Also from the memo: Mr. Bush lifted the economy with his tax cuts and, quote, "responded with bold measures to prevent an economic meltdown."
In 2005, Mr. Bush told a 57-year-old single mother of three, one of them mentally challenged, that it was "fantastic", "uniquely American" that she had to work three jobs unlike half a million people who have no job as of November... in the first presidency for decades during which family earning power fell, and income disparity continued to rise.
The "meltdown" he "prevented" now having claimed several Wall Street institutions which had weathered 1929, and 9/11... but not 43.
And, of course, the old standby, quote, he "kept the American people safe"...
Not counting 20 percent of his first term, January 20th, 2001, until September 11th, 2001.
On 9/11, he sat reading "My Pet Goat" for seven minutes after learning America was under attack.
Then covered up environmental dangers at Ground Zero, and failed to provide for the health of rescue workers.
Helped bin Laden's family flee the country.
Opposed the 9/11 Commission, the Department of Homeland Security.
Tried to outsource America's port security to Dubai.
Did not keep us safe from the shoe-bomber... alert passengers and crew did that...
Did not keep five Americans safe from anthrax... and never caught their killer.
Still hasn't caught the killer of 17 sailors aboard the USS Cole.
Still hasn't caught the killer of 3,000 on 9/11... outsourcing that to Afghans... turning that country into a narco-state, giving bin Laden a safe haven in the region of Waziristan by literally endorsing a truce that Pakistan signed with the Taliban there.
And most of all, not keeping safe 4,200 Americans dead in his war, a war that made us less safe, invading a country that posed no grave or gathering threat, provided a check on Iran... then igniting insurrection by disbanding the Baathist Party, creating a Muslim theocracy purged of its moderate intelligentsia. One in which freedom has marched backward for women.
And Lebanon, too, elected a Muslim theocracy... run by Hamas, no less.
Keeping us safe?
Terrorism is rising worldwide.
The still-thriving enemy has claimed Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto...
And thousands of people in India... including 200 in Mumbai last month.
Russia can now invade U-S allies without fear of retribution.
And Mr. Bush failed to prevent Kim Jong Il from joining the ranks of nuclear powers.
Despite even more ample warning than he received prior to 9/11, he lifted not a finger to keep a major American city safe from wind and water.
And what, finally, of the claim in the talking points... that Mr. Bush has always upheld, quote, "the honor and the dignity of his office"?
You must define dignity downward to find it in a lie.
The lie of "Mission Accomplished."
Of upholding the Constitution... or protecting habeas corpus.
That we do not eavesdrop without warrants... do not eavesdrop on Americans.
The lie that we do not torture.
That we do not play politics with justice... that we do not use the wheels of justice... to crush dissent.
That we do not betray those who serve us in secret.
That we uphold, rather than commute, the penalties for those who do.
That we do not stage fake news conferences, do not censor science... do not plant propaganda in Iraqi newspapers... nor pay US columnists to write it in American newspapers.
Or push respected Americans to vaporize their honor and dignity with lies to the world.
Or lie about the causes of the credit crisis, high gas prices, or even that he watched the first plane hit the North Tower on TV.
Where is the honor in vowing a crusade? Of daring those who would kill American troops to "bring it on?"
Of promising to care for the troops after you put them in harm's way, without body armor or up-armored vehicles?
Where was the honor, the dignity in giving a dead soldier's mother a presidential coin and telling her "don't sell it on eBay."?
His memo, revealing yet another lie.He does care how history will portray him.
And now... he knows.