According to almost every news source in America, the Democratic Party will win big on November 4. Presidential candidate Barack Obama is far from the only Democrat who will ride into Washington on the coattails of bad feelings for President George W. Bush. Almost every Democratic candidate for office in America, fairly or not, has enjoyed a bounce in popularity by campaigning on a platform of being anti-Bush, or by linking his/her opponent to the "failed policies of the Bush administration". Indeed, George W. Bush has never had a lower approval rating than right now, partly because of the recent financial crisis. But what these Democratic candidates are not doing is reminding people what it is that is so bad about the "failed policies of George W. Bush" in the first place. If the American public remembers that it can't stand that Bush guy but can't remember why, then the "failed policies" will surely be repeated by elected members of the Government. So to serve as a reminder mostly to myself, I've jotted down 33 "failed policies" that I think have made our country worse off thanks to the 43rd President of the United States of America.
1) "The United States doesn't torture." Except when it does. George W. Bush vetoed anti-torture bills, watered down water-boarding by referring to it as an interrogation technique (like how rape is just a sexual technique), and flauted the Geneva Conventions time after time when confronted in interviews or press conferences.
2) Unfounded wars on sovereign nations. Bad intelligence that should have been ignored about WMD and yellow cake fissile material led to a war against Iraq. The previous sentence was the best-case, most P.C. explanations for George W. Bush's intentions in the Middle East. Speculation abounds as to his real reasons for war with Iraq, most of which would be inconceivable if you told it to anyone eight years ago.
3) Secrecy. Over-classification of classified documents.
4) The Patriot Act
5) Bullying. Bullying of foreign nations for support for the above unjust Iraq war. Bullying of congressional leaders for support. Bullying of the U.N. to pass the war resolution, or else. It's called negotiating when there's a give and a take, and it's called persuasion when there's a well-explained and well-grounded rationale for action. It's called bullying if threats are made and fear is induced in entities that should be our allies.
6) Over-simplification of foreign viewpoints. You don't have to be either "for us or against us".
7) "Axis of evil". Well so much for negotiation.
8) Isolating North Korea to the point that they needed to build an atomic weapon to get any bilateral negotiation with the U.S.
9) War on terror. How does one win a war against extremism? You can't kill 'em all. There are always fringe elements in even the most tightly regulated societies, like gay people in Iran, bloggers in China, and terrorists in America.
10) Pre-emptive wars. The "Bush Doctrine", I think. Even police *should* have to wait until a crime is committed to detain people. And speaking of detaining people...
11) Guantanamo Bay. And more importantly, the lack of trials for prisoners there. (I hesitate to call them "detainees".)
12) Oh wait, not "prisoners" or "detainees". "Unlawful Combatants".
13) "Extraordinary renditions". They lead to "erroneous renditions" in the absence of the law.
14) Over-reaching of executive power to facilitate illegal wiretapping. FISA courts are just not necessary anymore.
15) The Alberto Gonzales Department of Justice. Attorney firings for partisan reasons, mealymouthed testimony by most Department of Justice officials including the Attorney General himself on several occasions, the approval of warrantless wiretapping, and the attempted repeal of Habeas Corpus.
16) Incompetent "loyal Bushies" like "heckuva job" Brownie.
17) Highly competent yet highly evil "loyal Bushies" like Dick "Overlord" Cheney.
21) Right-wing judicial nominees. I'm not talking about Roberts or Alito, which almost any other Republican president would have nominated. I mean all the other judicial appointments to lower courts that add unfounded legitimacy to an extreme right-wing judicial viewpoint by giving high-level careers to cronies. This will lead to future right-wing judicial nominees to the Supreme Court who should have gotten rejected long ago for their lack of objectivity being seen as legitimate. These juditial nominees also nearly tore up the rules of the Senate.
22) Federal Marriage Amendment. So glad that one didn't get anywhere.
23) Stem cell research. Not so much for the position (federal funds only for "existing" stem cell lines) but for the process of letting the church's viewpoint into a science decision.
24) Not signing the Kyoto protocol for anti-UN reasons.
25) While we're at it, John Bolton.
26) Sabotaging the EPA to the point where entities are now suing the EPA because it's not strict enough in regulating emissions.
27) Trying to privatize social security. How's that stock market idea looking now?
28) Increasing the national debt from about $5 trillion to about $10 trillion. This riles me up so much, I'm going to need some more bullet points about the budget.
29) Tax cuts benefitting the wealthiest of our society at a time when we were finally getting Reagan's debt under control.
30) Massive non-mandatory spending increases primarily benefitting the military industrial complex. We've got loads of money for super advanced fighter jets, but we're losing wars against people who make explosives out of pvc pipe and wire.
31) Making war spending separate from the budget. This would make sense only if the expenses were unforseeable.
32) Not addressing health care at all. Seriously, during a decade in which health care spending rose faster than any other industry, how was health care almost completely ignored by the Bush administration?
33) Well, he did address one thing. He vetoed SCHIP.
I'm sure there are plenty more policies I dislike, and I know there are plenty more policies that others dislike (No Child Left Behind, immigration). But none of this stuff gets specifically talked about by any of the Democratic candidates. We need to remember this so that we can hold future administrations accountable.