Re-Greening the Shrub

Hindsight is too kind.
34
Posted June 4, 2014 by KEN WHEATCROFT-PARDUE in News
U.S. President George W. Bush waves upon arrival at RAF Aldg

It’s official. Texas’ own Dubya is back, hinting at a dirty joke at a civil rights conference, leading wounded warriors on a 100K bike ride, and becoming well known in retirement as a veritable artiste.

For some Americans, nostalgic for what they saw as his strong leadership in foreign affairs and straight talk, a Dubya revival of sorts is under way. Just the other day, I was, as usual, minding my own business in a local waiting room when in comes a gentleman all in a lather after his daily marathon of Fox News and talk radio. This poor man was hyperventilating about how everything in this country is going to hell in a handbasket, nattering on about how the president keeps stealing more powers and giving money away to “those people” to buy their votes. Why, the country has been speeding downhill ever since Barack Obama got elected, he lamented.

There I was, wishing I could be like Woody Allen in Annie Hall, but instead of pulling Marshall McLuhan, I wanted to pull Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman out of thin air, already equipped with a PowerPoint presentation to refute this right-winger’s rant item by item.

It would show how nearly 4 million jobs have been created under Obama and how the unemployment rate has gone down almost 7 percent. And how the Dow Jones Industrial Average has doubled. If a Republican had those kind of numbers, all we’d be hearing about 24-7 would be that it was the greatest economic recovery since the Gipper himself.

Given the above, what exactly is it about the good old days of Bush 43 that some people are nostalgic for? Is it the chest-beating you miss? The torture? The invasions? The almost total collapse of the economy?

Of course, for reasons beyond me, Dubya has always kept his popularity here in Texas. In 2009 the Texas Rangers honored him by having him throw out the first ball in their season opener, and the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Not to be outdone, that same year the Dallas Cowboys had him do the coin toss at their inaugural game at Jerry World. In 2010 the Texas History Museum Foundation honored him as a history-making Texan.

History-making? Why, yes, I suppose so. This is the same George W. Bush who called himself the decider and who is unambiguously guilty of the supreme international crime of aggression against Iraq, a country that never attacked us and whose third-rate military was in no way a real threat to us. Even if they had WMDs, which they didn’t, they had no delivery system, outside of FedEx.

Think about it. Bush started an unnecessary war, a war of choice, that killed at least 100,000 people; displaced more than a million; brought untold misery to countless others; and will end up, according to economist Joseph Stiglitz, costing us three trillion dollars. Everyone, from American military personnel to your average Iraqi, owes their suffering to one man: George W. Bush.

He also admitted in his book Decision Points that he ordered waterboarding. Forget his hired legal guns and their alleged legal justifications for it. Waterboarding has historically been considered torture. More than 60 years ago, the United States tried and convicted Japanese who waterboarded American and Allied prisoners. Here is a man who besmirched the honor and integrity of the United States by allowing torture to take place on his watch.

So if you’re feeling nostalgic for those halcyon days of yore, you need to be sure you really know what you’re nostalgic for: hubris, war, international crimes, torture, the joys of the Great Recession? Take your pick.

Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue, an essayist, poet, and short story writer from Fort Worth, can be reached at kwheatcroftpardue@yahoo.com.


34 Comments


  1.  
    Roy

    My favorite memory of W is his public request for and support of an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to forever bar equal marriage rights to same-sex couples. And not even for principle (I doubt he cared much about it) but for election politics. The frigging Constitution. To help win an election.




    •  
      weekly reader

      Yes “W” should have tried out ignoring the constitution and producing policies by executive fiat circumventing the congress like the current POTUS. People don’t notice that sort of thing until it is too late…




  2.  
    Mark Metcalf

    What an excellent article, Mr. Wheatcroft-Pardue. I spend a lot of time debating with people who hate Obama. But we rarely get around to talking about any Obama policies. It’s all about the fictional things which they condemn Obama for: birth-certificate, Muslim faith, government-take-over of health care, BENGHAZI…and on down the long list.




    •  
      weekly reader

      Well, at least you acknowledge that there is a “LONG LIST”…An administration this incompetent (Obamas,i.e. ) really took some effort to be so wrong about nearly everything…(sad to say)




    •  
      Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue

      Mr. Metcalf,

      Thanks for the compliment. I appreciate it. And I agree that it’s hard to argue with people whose news sources are propaganda outfits. I guess it’s still worth doing though.




      •  
        Mark Metcalf

        Yes, a long list of Fictional things.




        •  
          Marcie H

          Well I don’t know what universe you live in –but the govt did interfere with the health care policy and physician I liked and was lied to about “being able to keep.” Now I have an expensive mess of a policy and a different doc unfamiliar with my medical history. Also re: Libya–was it really necessary for Obama admin flunky Rice to go on all those Sunday morning talk shows and attribute murders of Americans to an obscure video, unorganized “mobs” etc? Fiction,lies, and revisionism abound all right. This piece of salacious “opinion” journalism by Wheatcroft-Perdue is a prime example. The Obama doctrine seems to be: “when all your administrations policies are revealed to be inept or worse–down right deceitful– find a stooge to blame it on Bush”




  3.  
    Bennett

    Great article Ken! W is a war-criminal. Anyone who disagrees is missing something important.




    •  
      weekly reader

      Right (lol) like the “criminal” war against “terrorism” (mainly focused on an inept DOJ and Homeland Security either molesting middle class Americans of all ages at the Airport via TSA arrogance + corruption or willingly ignoring and abetting terrorists -”How did that scholarship to Boston Latin School work out ?” to kill Americans during marathons) which has continued here and overseas unabated throughout the horrendous 8 years of the Obama so called “administration”. There are a few war “criminals” or war” negligents/incompetents” but I they currently mismanage things in Wash DC. You guys would do better to interview Snowden–he likes to talk these days…




  4.  
    Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue

    Bennett,
    Thanks for the kudos. Appreciate it. And I agree. I hope some day to see justice carried out in this case.




    •  
      weekly reader

      Psst…Dude The Bush “derangement syndrome” is so last decade. You seem to be drooling all over yourself because some of your fellow citizens have alternative news sources and opinions from your own. Also– it is fairly churlish to be upset that Geo W Bush, (a former president with a lower profile than some others we could name) appears at local sporting events . Maybe you should get some professional help before things get out of hand and you hurt yourself or others.




      •  
        Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue

        Weekly Reader,
        Please, spare me your snark. Real people died and real people suffer to this day. Try, if you can, to come up with a cogent argument that excuses a leader from invading a country that was no threat then thoroughly botching its occupation. Something besides the smart-aleck, it’s “so last decade.” Given that “logic,” Guantanamo should be emptied, shouldn’t it? I’ve learned in my life that there are thoughtful people from all sides of the political spectrum. Try, if you can, to be one of them.




        •  
          Marcie H

          I agree with Weekly Reader. What is so “thoughtful” about ignoring a contracting economy? The NYT (for whom your hero “economist” Krugman works)is a sad excuse for a newspaper (the owners even unceremoniously dumped their only female editor). None of the readers comments reflect ANY diversity,either. They all seem to be “bootlickers”. Perhaps there are too many of the above in the current Whitehouse which can’t seem to end this unpopular war. (even Nixon did better with Vietnam). Speaking of which, what’s with the current thoughtless trend of calling anybody you disagree with a “war criminal”? This is tiresome. Although there have been “war criminals” since the time of Tacitus (i.e. Tiberius), some how the “scholarly elite” forgets to mention certain very prominent offenders who happen to have a similar philosophical leaning or for other reasons too murky to speculate upon, for example: Trotsky, Stalin, LBJ? Why would the Whitehouse prolong a “criminal” war. Doesn’t that make the current president a “war criminal” by extension? Why hasn’t the relationship with Iraq improved under the current administration? Why isn’t Gitmo emptied? I for one am tired of Bush bashing also. The Clintons and their foolishness always seem to get a pass, from you pundits-for example. Explain to me how Chelsea, who has no relevant employment, of which I am aware, now has a multimillion dollar net worth and owns a 10 million dollar apt in Manhattan . (and these people have the gall to talk about income inequality…). The stock market has soared and guess which party’s donors are now wealthier than ever.




          •  
            Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue

            Marcie,
            I’ll take it as a small victory that you waited until the 7th line before you started name calling, but try to use facts. The economy is not contracting, and Paul Krugman, whether you agree with him or not, is an economist.




            •  
              Marcie H

              KWP,
              Spare ME your snark. The first quater contraction of the US economy economy is well documented by the Wall Street Journal (among other national and govt data sources ) on May 29,204-less than two weeks ago. I would suggest that you expand your economic horizons “USGDP Contracts @1%in First Qtr.” online wsjcom/…/usgdpcontracted1%infirst qtr. Also “US EconomyShrinks in 1st QTR” http://www.youtube.com. Krugman WAS an economist at Princeton and is now an OP ED columnist at NYT (although he does hold a no show academic positon at NYU for which he is paid approx $250,000 per annum–so much for income inequality) As the current Princeton Economy Dept Chair (and Krugman debunker) maintains: “It is foolish to have a heated debate over facts so easily measurable.”




      •  
        Bennett

        weekly reader, please don’t bogart your meds.




  5.  

    Good reply Ken. Weekly Reader has done this before repeating the lies and misinformation that Fox News spews out by the minute. The only thing that 43 deserves credit for is being able to convince naive people that he’s something he’s not ie aTexan, caring, a good President, a talented artist, etc. The list is long. If it hadn’t been for Karl Rove, G. W. would have faded from history as the son of a mediocre President who was mostly a failure at everything he tried.




    •  
      Roy

      Actually, much as I loathe W, his father was not mediocre. George H. W. Bush was knowledgeable, compassionate, experienced in government, and from a generation of Republicans that simply doesn’t exist anymore. He put country above party, principle above power, and results above ideology. He did not believe his political opponents were evil, nor that his allies were infallible. He was willing to learn, change his mind if circumstances warranted, and appeared to want to be President for everyone.
      How he managed to sire a loser and dangerous frat-boy like W will always be a mystery.




      •  
        skeptic

        Yes the elder Bush is a gentleman which is why this “hit piece” aimed at his son must be regarded as disrespectful garbage. What is the point of launching this disorganized rant on or near the 70th anniversary of D Day by the way? This sordid example of in print rabid behaviour is akin to the NYT hit piece on the Bushs launched in 1988 which actually inferred that the elder Bush was not a WWII distinguished, shot down and rescued pacific theater aviator. Some way to honor those who served our country in WW II–eh “Mr. Wheatrcroft-Shame on you”?




        •  
          Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue

          Skeptic,
          Huh?
          Well, given your “logic,” since my grandfather fought in World War II, your attack on me is shameful.
          But still, huh? seems a good response, too.




          •  
            Marcie H

            Well, actually Ken, it isn’t all about YOU,now is it? I wasn’t aware that skeptic endorsed anyone calling you a “war criminal” or personally attacked you. The readers who disagree with you are simply pointing out that you are re-cycling old garbage




          •  
            Ty James

            “Skeptic,
            Huh?
            Well, given your “logic,” since my grandfather fought in World War II, your attack on me is shameful.
            But still, huh? seems a good response, too.”
            That’s Awesome.
            You win the internet today!!!
            Thanks got the smile.




      •  

        W Sr. used to head the CIA. You think CIA has your interests in mind?




  6.  
    Rebecca Wyatt

    Ken, must say I commend you for attempting to bring a ray of light to the people of Texas who still believe that W was a good president. No amount of facts will ever penetrate that wall of stubborness that insists that he never made any mistakes and was a saint compared to Obama. Some day Texas will regain an ounce or two of sanity (I have to believe this) and Fox will fade into a distant memory. Until then, fight the good fight and keep trying to educate the unwashed masses!




  7.  
    Giant Sperm Whale

    I am not a “Dubya” supporter, nor am I an Obama supporter. But I am compelled to share a few comments on this piece and maybe a question or two.

    First, believe it or not, there are people out there who have never watched a minute of Fox News and, yet, still disagree strongly with the decisions Obama has made during his administration. Believe it or not, some people actually think for themselves. There are actually people out in the world who have had it with Obama and base their opinions of his administration, not on the many opinions coming from talking heads, but a strict consumption of only HARD news. You hate Fox News and I get it. I don’t watch it; no one I know watches it. However, I think you insult people in general when you say they disagree with the administration because they bathe daily in Fox news and talk radio. There are people out there who would disagree with your assessment entirely and have never been inside a Fox shower.

    What’s the point of bringing up a few literally harmless appearances Bush has made at local sporting events? Are you trying to make us feel ashamed of ourselves? Since the founding of American baseball, every former president has thrown a ceremonial first-pitch at a baseball game. My step sister has thrown a first pitch at a Rangers game. Not that big of a deal, in my opinion.

    I am not a “Dubya” supporter, nor am I an Obama supporter. But I have some thoughts and questions regarding this adorable piece.

    First, believe it or not, there are people out there who have never watched a minute of Fox News and, yet, still disagree strongly with the decisions Obama has made during his administration. Believe it or not, some people actually think for themselves. There are actually people out in the world who have had it with Obama and base their opinions of his administration, not on the many opinions coming from talking heads, but a strict consumption of only HARD news. You hate Fox News and I get it. I don’t watch it; no one I know watches it. However, I think you insult and stereotype people in general when you say they disagree with the administration because they bathe daily in Fox news and talk radio. There are people out there who would disagree with your assessment entirely and have never stepped inside a Fox shower.

    Let me assure you, feelings of nostalgia for halcyon days of yore are not at play here. You can’t be nostalgic for something that still exists and has existed during every US presidency for more than a century: hubris, war, international crimes and economic failures.

    As far as the numbers go, I think it is extremely fair to say that details of Obama’s economic record are widely disputed by a wide variety of sources that lean every which way. The facts of Obama’s economic record appear neither here nor there when a multitude of people, who say they have the real facts, report highly contradictory data.

    What’s the point of bringing up a few literally harmless appearances Bush has made at local sporting events? Are you trying to shame us into killing what you perceive to be a George W. Bush revival? Since the founding of American baseball, every former president (even good ol’ Nixon) has thrown a ceremonial first-pitch at a baseball stadium. My step sister has thrown a first pitch at a Rangers game. Not that big of a deal, in my opinion.




  8.  

    While I agree that 41 is a gentleman and by himself politically savy, he was still a mediocre president. His economic policies were bad, he sent us into Panama as a distraction to the mistakes he was making at home and the fact he couldn’t get elected to a 2nd term tells you that the American people weren’t happy with his policies despite his success in Desert Storm. With 43 he wasn’t elected to a 2nd term so much because he was so popular, he wasn’t, but because the Dems didn’t have a good candidate. These apperances of 43′s are more about rebuilding his image for posterity. Just like him they have no substance.




    •  
      Patriot

      Bush Sr. might have come across as a nice guy but he sucked as a president. Dubya came across as a nice guy a lot of the time but he was a complete disgrace as a president, a puppet for Halliburton, a war hawk, an imperialist and worst of all a guy who seemed to feel morally superior to everyone else despite having no reason to feel that way about himself other than self-delusion and ego.




  9.  
    Gregg BeerDemon

    Pop! Glug, glug, glug! Burp! Yep! As far as I kin tell alla’ these politicians are a bunch a’ crooks so what difference does it make? They don’t care about regular folk, all they care about is maintaining the status quo and keeping them fat cats fat. Glug, glug! Crush! Pop! I ain’t makin’ enough money tuh be a Republicrat and I ain’t libbrul enuff tuh be a Democrican. Glug, glug. I say we gut us a candidate in thar that drinks a 12 pack a day and tells it like it is. And IT SUCKS!





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