Former president George W Bush is getting a public makeover. Many neo-liberal Democrats and media figures have been pushing to recast Bush as reasonable, compared to Donald Trump.
Rather than Republicans trying to rehabilitate the legacy of Bush, it’s the Democrats and so-called liberals doing so. These Democrats and neo-liberals are doing a huge disservice to the so-called resistance they claim to foster. We should not be normalizing the record of George W Bush.
George Bush may seem more reasonable now compared to Trump, but it doesn’t mean Bush was reasonable. Our political spectrum has shifted so far to the right that the same politicians and media figures that once lambasted Bush, are now praising him. If the strategy of the so-called resistance is to cultivate Bush as an ally, then this seems to be a dubious resistance. What exactly about Bush’s record as president makes him reasonable? Not much.
George Bush is a war criminal. He launched the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. This alone should make him distasteful. The invasion of Iraq cost, at a bare minimum, 100,000 civilian deaths. Some estimates go into the hundreds of thousands, if not over a million. The war also cost the lives of over 4,000 American troops, and maimed tens of thousands more. The war was a brutal, unnecessary affair. The man who launched this debacle is now being painted as a voice of reason.
The security state was drastically expanded under Bush. The AUMF and PATRIOT Acts were put into law by Bush. These laws are direct violations of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. The government was given broad power to tap phones and email without a court order. The extent of these powers, ironically, were revealed with the Snowden revelations under the Obama Administration. Do these sound reasonable? If Trump put such laws in place, would the so-called resistance find them reasonable?
It was George Bush that contributed heavily to the economic crash of 2008. It is fair to note that the seeds of the crash were planted before him, but Bush cultivated it. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, while spending trillions in two disastrous wars abroad, sped up this crisis. Bush also continued to outsource American jobs, while pursuing pro-Wall Street policies that hurt American workers. This is what the so-called resistance sees as reasonable?
George W Bush may not have had such bombastic language as Trump, certainly. While Bush spent his career posing himself as a “compassionate” conservative, this compassion did not extend far. Bush may not have been as abrasive in his tone, but his ideological goals were not dissimilar than Trump. Quite the opposite is true. Bush and Trump are cut from the same cloth.
George Bush and Donald Trump both come from the corporate class. Donald Trump’s policies are no different than Bush’s were. Trump just lacks the friendly veneer that Bush had. When you peel back the orange layers, however, there is no major difference between Trump and Bush. Why is it, then, that the so-called resistance is now trying to whitewash Bush’s record? Why are we going to prop up Donald Trump’s spiritual predecessor?
The establishment press as well as neo-liberal Democrats are the main culprits in this rehabilitation effort. George Bush gave an interview with the Today Show’s Matt Lauer, discussing press freedom. Bush commented that independent media is “indispensable to democracy.” George Bush didn’t necessarily have a good record when it came to press freedom. Lauer’s framing is also comical.
George Bush was given a free pass by the corporate media to invade Iraq. There were little to no major cable news critiques of Bush’s invasion plans. The ones that were critical, such as Phil Donohue, Ashleigh Banfield, and Jesse Ventura were either fired, had their show cancelled, or in the case of Banfield, literally put in a closet. Free press? Not much.
Joy Behar, who often criticized Bush during his term, now claims,“I like George Bush now.” Ellen DeGeneres recently had Bush on her show. Neo-liberals painting Bush as a reasonable actor has dire consequences. It pushes the political spectrum farther to the right, to the point where its nearly off the grid. War crimes can now be chalked up to a minor disagreement. This is what the so-called resistance thinks is a winning strategy? You want to fight Trump by utilizing a friendlier version of him?
If this is what the neo-liberals think will defeat Trump, they are sorely mistaken. We are living in a world where Democrats now find George Bush reasonable. Rather than focus on the plight of working Americans, neo-liberals obfuscate on Russia and rehabilitate a war criminal. Don’t be surprised if the so-called resistance falls flat on its face.