Monday, January 19, 2009

The last day of the nightmare.

It's been eight long years, but today is the last day of the Bush presidency. He has almost brought the US to it's knees.

It's been a failure of a quite astonishing scale.

Now his career of spreading destruction and misery has reached its apex with his failed wars and policies in the Middle East (with all the attendant death and displacement of millions that they caused), his mismanagement of the world's economy into its greatest collapse since the Great Depression, and the downfall of his own political party which he led from complete dominance to an Epic Fail of unprecedented proportions over these last four years. Few leaders of any nation have ever been so spectacularly wrongheaded, venal, immoral, wicked and incompetent. Failure is simply too limited a word to describe his legacy.
Leaving aside the two unwinnable wars which he leaves his country fighting, on any other measure that one might use to judge the success or failure of a presidency, his figures are spectacularly bad.

The deficit stands close to one trillion dollars, unemployment in the US is the worst since WWII, and the US has an unpopularity rating of an unprecedented scale:

America's image is still so tattered abroad after the Iraq war that China is viewed more favourably than the US in many countries, a global poll finds.

His own approval rating amongst Americans stands at a shameful 22%:
President Bush will leave office as one of the most unpopular departing presidents in history, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll showing Mr. Bush's final approval rating at 22 percent.

Seventy-three percent say they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush has handled his job as president over the last eight years.

Mr. Bush's final approval rating is the lowest final rating for an outgoing president since Gallup began asking about presidential approval more than 70 years ago

The rating is far below the final ratings of recent two-term presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, who both ended their terms with a 68 percent approval rating, according to
CBS News polling. Recent one term presidents also had higher ratings than Mr. Bush. His father George H.W. Bush had an end-of-term rating of 54 percent, while Jimmy Carter's rating was 44 percent.

Harry Truman had previously had the lowest end-of-term approval at 32 percent, as measured by Gallup.
It's hard to find any figures with which to view his presidency favourably. Indeed, the only piece of positive spin that even he is seeking to place on his record is by emphasising what hasn't happened:

"There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil," he added.

Most outgoing presidents would list their accomplishments, Bush asks for credit for what has not taken place, rather than for what has.

That sad fact alone speaks volumes about his presidency.

However, today that nightmare finally comes to an end and the American people open a brand new chapter tomorrow. All around the world people wish them and their new president well. Which, considering the behaviour of their last one, is little short of miraculous.


Steel Phoenix said...

I can only hope the rest of the world sees that 22% and our choice of replacement and finds some forgiveness for us. I still don't understand how this could have happened. It has been eight years of shame for most people I know.

Kel said...

I can assure you SP that, beyond your shores, the election of Obama wiped the slate clean.

American's power lies in it's ability to reinvent itself, and the world was utterly relieved that the American people decided to do just that.