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Peter Mehlman

Peter Mehlman

Posted: June 20, 2007 08:25 PM

At Least They Didn't Mean Well....


Boy, America has had a lot of shitty presidents. Just take a stroll down repressed memory land and look at that police line-up from November 22, 1963 through January 1992. Ford may come out looking the best of the bunch and he was widely acknowledged to be unable to walk and chew gum. (Wisely, his advisors encouraged him to sit while chewing).

And really, Clinton could have been a lot better too.

So now we're six and a half years into Bush and everyone from Helen Thomas on down is declaring him the worst president ever. What no one is saying is the one overarching reason he's the worst: the Bush administration is the first that doesn't even mean well.

With the possible exception of immigration reform -- and who knows what grotesque financial incentive underlies that -- try to pinpoint even one policy motivated by the desire to lessen human suffering, to improve the life of citizens. Nothing. There is nothing.

As much as Democrats loathed Nixon, there was no denying he had some noble goals. He tried for universal health care and... I'm pretty sure there were other things.

As much as Republicans loathed Clinton, they had to know he cared about people. Amazing how his "I feel your pain" quality became such a disdainful joke. That sounds like a good quality in a president.

Even with the low poll numbers, liberals still feel stymied in conveying just how bad this administration is. It's been the ultimate frustration to consider the people who don't see Bush's malevolence: In 2004, rural America cited national security as their number one reason for voting for Bush. But people in the major cities, where there's actually a chance of being victimized by terrorism, people voted against Bush. Frustrating. In the cities, where most people are utterly at two with nature, people cited Bush's raping of the environment as a major reason to vote against him. In rural America, where people fish and hunt and generally do things outside, they voted for Bush. Sooooo frustrating. On Sutton Place and in Harvard-Westlake, where kids go to college after high school, they vote against Bush. In rural America, from where the majority of tragically killed kids in Iraq soldiers come, they vote for Bush.

You could argue that even the world's worst fascist dictators at least meant well. They honestly thought were doing good things for their countries by suppressing blacks/eliminating Jews/eradicating free enterprise/repressing individual thought/killing off rivals/invading neighbors, etc. Only the Saudi royal family is driven by the same motives as Bush, but they were already entrenched. Bush set a new precedent. He came into office with the attitude of "I'm so tired of the public good. What about my good? What about my rich friends' good?"

How can anyone not see it? It's not that their policies have been misguided or haven't played out right. They. Don't. Even. Mean. Well.