by Ted Rall
I miss Bush.
Stop the presses and shut off the RSS feeds: the bashiest of the Bush-bashers is starting to appreciate the Exile of Crawford.
I haven't forgiven George W. Bush for stealing two elections, starting two wars, bankrupting the treasury and doing his damnedest to turn the U.S. into a fascist state. He deserves one of hell's hottest picnic spots for refusing to lift a finger to bring the 9/11 murderers to justice. Bush was stupid. He was vicious. He should be in prison.
He was the worst president the U.S. had ever had. Until this one.
On major issues and a lot of minor ones, Obama is the same as or worse than Bush. But Bush had an opposition to contend with. Obama has a compliant Democratic Congress. Lulled to somnolent apathy by Obama's charming manners, mastery of English (and yes, the color of his skin), leftist activists and journalists have been reduced to quiet disappointment, mild grumbling and unaccountable patience.
I don't care about window dressing. Sure, it's nice that Obama is intelligent. But policies matter--not charm. And Obama's policies are at least as bad as Bush's.
Guantánamo was but the beginning of Obama's betrayals. First he ordered the camp closed--not immediately but in a year. Now he's expanding the U.S. concentration camp at Bagram--where 600 innocent men and children are being tortured--so he can send the 245 Gitmo prisoners there. In the Bush era, Gitmo POWs received legal representation. Obama has ordered that the POWs sent to Bagram not be allowed to see a lawyer.
You saw the headline: "OBAMA BANS TORTURE." But it was a lie. Obama's CIA director told Congress that there's a "review process that's built into [Obama's] executive order" that allows torture to continue. Leon Panetta said the Obama Administration will keep using at least 19 torture techniques against detainees. In addition, Team Obama will "look at those kinds of enhanced techniques to determine how effective they were or weren't and whether any appropriate revisions need to be made as a result of that."
Bush was the biggest spender in history, running up a $1.8 trillion deficit with wasteful wars and tax cuts. But next to Obama, Bush was a tightwad. Glamour Prez hasn't been around six months, yet the Congressional Budget Office reports that he already has quadrupled the deficit by an extra $8.1 trillion. "The total debt held by the public [will] rise from 57 percent of GDP in 2009 to 82 percent (!) of GDP in 2019," reports U.S. News & World Report.
Against logic and history Obama claimed his bailout package would create jobs. Instead, unemployment has risen by 1.3 million. Has Obama's plan saved a single homeowner from foreclosure? Reporters can't find any.