Written by: Dr. Albert Samuels
President Bush Administration: A Presidency In Shambles
Wed Jan 31, 2007 16:20

President Bush Administration: A Presidency In Shambles

CNN’s Larry King asked a small sampling of citizens about what they expected to hear from President Bush in his State of the Union address. Most of them said that they didn’t expect much. One woman’s comment was telling: “Nothing,” she said. “Just more lies.” Wow. And to think that at one time this president enjoyed a 90 percent approval rating. What happened?

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks, George W. Bush’s approval rating soared to unprecedented heights. We were not Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, we were Americans. Americans cheered as the administration launched the war in Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden was going to get it, we thought - and if Bush took down the Taliban for protecting Bin Laden, so be it. However, it is during these days when the country seemed more united than it has been in decades that the Bush administration sowed the seeds that have led them to today’s sorry state of affairs.

Some may argue that George W. Bush still has two years in office; therefore, he still has time to shape his legacy, and it’s too early for history to judge him. And this is true. However, there are some things we can clearly say now. Times of national crisis have historically provided great opportunities for presidents to exercise great leadership - the examples of Lincoln and FDR come to mind. President Bush has categorically squandered some of the greatest opportunities for presidential greatness in American history.

In the aftermath of 9/11, an angered, stunned America was ready to go to war. People were ready for sacrifice - ready to do their part. There were people who wanted to sign up for the military even though they knew they were too old - that’s just how strong the patriotic fervor was. People were waiting to be led - to be given something to do in order to serve their country in its time of need. Who knows - we possibly could have had an intelligent discussion about the “D” word (draft), or some other kind of national service requirement with the right leadership. Instead, the president told us to go shopping - a far cry from President Kennedy’s vow that America would “pay any price” or “bear any burden” to advance the cause of freedom around the world. Therefore, despite the president’s rhetoric that the struggle against terrorism represents the “defining battle of the 21st century,” Americans would be told that, by and large, that very little would be asked of them to combat it.

Instead of marshaling the patriotic frenzy after 9/11 to accomplish large goals worthy of America, the administration (along with its allies in the Congress) decided to use the War on Terror for partisan purposes. The president embraced the creation of the Department of Homeland Security after opposing its creation for nine months - then deliberately picked a fight with Democrats over collective bargaining rights for federal employees in the new department. Republicans branded those who dare question the administration as unpatriotic and cowards - they even went as far as accusing ex-Vietnam veteran and triple amputee Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) of coddling Bin Laden. (The charge against Cleland is even more outrageous considering that it came from people who had used their power and privilege to avoid service in Vietnam, while Cleland lost three of his limbs in that conflict.) As it turned out, politicizing the war was simply the tip of the iceberg - the governing philosophy of the Bush White House is to use “wedge issues” like abortion, stem-cell research, judicial appointments, same-sex marriage, and the Terri Schiavo case to “fire up the conservative base” in order to vanquish the liberal cowards whose opposition weakened America (in their way of thinking).

We now know that the Bush administration and its surrogates deliberately, systematically, and repeatedly fed the nation a steady diet of lies and deceptions to make the case for war in Iraq. Yes, we toppled Saddam Hussein, but no weapons of destruction have been found, Americans have not been welcomed as liberators, and instead of bringing democracy, Iraq appears hopelessly mired in an ugly civil war that could potentially drag on for years, maybe decades. Once again, opposition to their viewpoint was treated as if it were akin to treason. They even went as far as to deliberately leak the name of an undercover CIA agent - which is a crime - in a vindictive effort to punish Ambassador Joseph Wilson who dared to tell the truth about what the administration knew - and should have known - before the war. Only in recent days has the president grudgingly admitted that the policy in Iraq is failing - a message which still hasn’t reached Vice President Cheney who still speaks of America’s great successes in Iraq. Even the “rubber-stamp” Republicans in Congress are finally getting it.

The timing of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, in that they occurred as support for the war in Iraq was dwindling, presented Bush with another opportunity to salvage his presidency. However, not only did the administration bungle the initial response to Katrina, but the ongoing federal response to the devastation on the Gulf Coast has been nothing short of immoral. The president did not even mention Katrina in his State of the Union - apparently he thinks the administration has done all that it’s supposed to do. Never mind the fact that thousands of Americans citizens living along the Gulf Coast or displaced in cities around the United States are nowhere close to recovered from these storms.

Whether one voted for President Bush or not, it’s sad when a President of the United States is viewed in the way he is. Sixty percent of Americans in a recent poll said they do not believe the president is honest. His job approval ratings are in the low 30s. Since we’ve been keeping that statistic, only Truman during the Korean War and Nixon at the tail end of Watergate had lower approval ratings. The president still has time to accomplish a few things that may salvage his legacy somewhat. But one cannot help but wonder what might have been had the president kept his word during the 2000 campaign that he would be a uniter, not a divider.



Written by Connie George on 1/30/2007

Your article is ridiculous and very one sided. We better listen to the Bush Administration in the long run or this great country could be in trouble. Freedom is not free nor is it "easy".

Written by BSL on 1/29/2007

I agree that we should be targeting terrorists and that the war on terror is different. The enemy and the battlefield are no longer geographically defined entities. So what are we doing in Iraq? It is a very costly diversion from the war on terror. Al Qaeda – the enemy who attacked us on our own soil – is much bigger and stronger now because Bush basically forgot about them to concentrate on Iraq. Our invasion laid out the welcome mat and handed the keys to Anbar province over to al Qaeda, who had been kept out by Saddam Hussein. US military brass says there’s not much we can do about their dominance in Anbar now. Meanwhile, al Qaeda is again operating terrorist camps in Afghanistan, where they now dispatch recruits to missions in Europe and the Middle East. Most importantly, the Iraq war has increased terrorism worldwide. Who can forget Donald Rumsfeld’s fruitcake idea that Iraq would serve as ‘flypaper’ to enable us to catch terrorists and deal with them overseas? Talk about wishful thinking. Firstly, Iraq serves no purpose in stopping terrorists from attacking the US again – they are footloose. Secondly, they recruit globally and have a never-ending supply. We have a limited number of US troops. Our military is the one stretched to breaking point. That’s us on the flypaper in Iraq. And for that we can thank the shocking incompetence of the Bush administration.

Written by Minzy Grant on 1/27/2007

"President Bush Administration: A Presidency In Shambles" Great Article Doc, I could not have said it better myself. Good to see a new face on here, I hope you write more quality articles, keep up teh good work.

Written by shelly on 1/26/2007

Excellent article. Bush’s abysmal performance in the top job has cost America dearly. It seems that the only people in the country who are actually better off are his far right conservative political base and the wealthiest one percent of Americans. It’s hard not to put his ruthlessly divisive mindset down to his shortcomings as a human being. Some people are born leaders, unifiers. Bush is not among them. It’s no wonder he was worse than useless in the aftermath of Katrina. As appalling was his willingness to lie to Americans and cynically leverage off the trauma we all felt after 9/11. Just how did we end up in Iraq? There was no credible evidence of WMD. It’s tempting to think he picked a new fight with Saddam because he lost the big fight with Osama, who lived happily ever after. And for all their tough talk, the most vocal warmongers – including Bush himself – have a history of cowardice and using privilege to dodge service in Vietnam. Thank you for reminding us of the incredible courage and sacrifice of Senator Max Cleland who was so cruelly smeared as a weakling on national security by Republican disciples of the Bush/Rove camp. These people aren’t patriots. They are parasites of the worst kind.

Written by Minzy Grant on 1/26/2007

Good grief. I started to write a much longer comment, including facts like the run up to the Iraq war took over a decade, both Democrats and the UN were among those who approved the war based on the information that was available at the time, and that the New York Times has reported that WMD were found, as were WMD programs, including a nuclear program. Then I realized, why bother? Reading this article and the comments so far are like stumbling across some kind of alternate universe. The partisanship has gone so far in this country that we can't even agree on the facts; discussion is useless.

Written by Laura on 1/26/2007

To be fair you cant compare Bush to Kennedy since the United States was viewed by the world, during Kennedy's term, as a True Super Power. The world didn't really want to deal with the US military. The biggest obstacle that Bush needs to deal with is the United Nations and all the loser's it is saturated with. Kennedy didnt have to deal with that. We have become a country that lets the media, with all its experts, tell people how to think. We have become a nation that is victim to our own spoils. No more accountability or responsibility and a significant part of the population that can't think on their own. I would suggest to all to take the time and research the media and its reports during World War II and you would see the same type of negative journalism then. I totally agree this is a complete mess in Iraq but if anyone thinks we are not fighting for our very existence, freedom and life as we know it then you are very naive to the real world. The media doesnt say much about President Clinton having numerous chances to take Osama bin Laden out during his term. Thats because the media is totally biased and have their own agenda. Just look at what is going on in New Orleans and Louisiana since Katrina! Why did the citizens of New Orleans pick up the pieces after Hurricane Betsy and get their lives back together with hardly and federal intervention at all? Thank God these complainers weren't the founders of our great country or we wouldn't have existed more than a decade.

Written by Addie Fanguy on 1/26/2007

What you said about President Bush is all lies, in other words you are the liar.

Written by You are the liar on 1/26/2007

"We now know that the Bush administration and its surrogates deliberately, systematically, and repeatedly fed the nation a steady diet of lies and deceptions to make the case for war in Iraq." Dr. Samuels, it is so hypocritical of you to say that the Bush administration has set out to divide our country, and then punctuate your remarks by calling him a "deliberate, systematic and repetitive liar." Your true feelings of animosity toward the administration and your and my President became quite clear after your weak attempts to cloak them in your early paragraphs. It is you, sir, that give expression and strength to our enemies by your continued efforts to demean and emasculate this President. It is not that criticism is undo, but the rank hatred you evoke is. It appears that you and those such as you will only be happy when this President is brought down and this country with it. Then you and those with your political philosophy can take over and we can once again repeat all the great things that Mr. Clinton did to lead and defend us. All those who you politically follow were in lock step with our President until things didn't go the way we wanted in Iraq. Now, instead of Iraq being a place for us to defeat our enemies, it is a place for you and yours to defeat our President. Respectfully, Frank Loria New Orleans

Written by Frank Loria on 1/26/2007

I agree with you that President Bush still has time to salvage his legacy, but that can only be possible with the injection of a dose of realism and sincerity in his strides.

Written by Paddy Ezeala on 1/26/2007

Some corrections are definitely in order: (1) The US invaded Iraq without UN approval. (2) The Bush administration used false, fraudulent and forged ‘evidence’ to get Congress to support the invasion of Iraq in an atmosphere of lynch-mob patriotism. (3) No WMD have been found in Iraq. (4) The US remained a highly regarded superpower until George Bush squandered that status and our reputation before the world. (5) The invasion of Iraq has (a) diverted funds and attention from the war on terror, and (b) increased terrorism. (6) Unlike Clinton, Bush resolutely ignored the threat of al Qaeda for nine solid months despite being spoon-fed numerous warnings from US intelligence. (7) There is no meaningful comparison to be made between the damage caused by hurricane Betsy and the catastrophic destruction of 80% of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. (8) Reality has a liberal bias. That’s not the mainstream media’s problem. People who want misinformation and blatant conservative bias need look no further than the Faux News Channel. Good luck with that.

Written by Minzy Grant on 1/26/2007

I read the article and wanted to write a long response but I think others have covered my points well. I will add only this, At this time if we spent time as a country supporting the goal of ending terror organizations and their threats and less time tearing down the only our efforts we would be better off. People, the right to disagree is one of those rights that I spent 20 + years in the military fighting for. I was drafted and served in Vietnam, Granada, both Gulf Wars and the former Yugoslavia. Every War is different and must be approached in a different way. If you don't like what is happening, make a recommendation don't just complain. Constant negative remarks without added guidance is useless.

Written by P Hebert on 1/26/2007

If you think the Dems are giving Mr. Bush a hard time, wait to see the fun when the other side gets to shoot at Ms. Clinton.

Written by Bob Northshore on 1/26/2007

Dr. Samuels, You hit the nail on the head! Before President Bush was ever elected, I knew and predicted that America would become the "laughing stock of t


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