THE BLOG
02/20/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Thank You George Bush for Bringing Us Obama

Thank you George Bush for breaking a 40-year evil spell which has gripped our country since the assassinations and chaos of 1968.

Your singular ineptitude -- starting a war that didn't need to be fought, fighting it badly, the Katrina fiasco, and neglect of the financial crisis -- finally discredited a Republican, phony "conservative" culture, which has straightjacketed "the better angels of our nature" for four decades.

And you single-handedly paved the way for the election of a true Change candidate -- Obama -- who now has the epochal opportunity to put our country in harmony with the practices of the more advanced nations in the world.

In the fifties and sixties America clearly led the world in education, health care, economic prosperity, and moral authority. We were the heroes -- the chosen land, beloved and admired by all peoples throughout the world.

But in the last forty years our political agenda was hijacked by cynical campaigns -- focusing on God, Guns, Gays, Abortion, and the Flag -- craftily exploited by Republicans who callously squandered the best part of American values for electoral gains.

Today, our health care stinks -- we pay twice and much and get worse results than any advance country in the world. Our education system ranks behind most other advance nations. Our standard of living is surpassed by many countries. We owe trillions to the Chinese, and we are hated and reviled throughout the world.

How did this nightmare happen?

Easy. The Republicans discovered that if they scared the bejesus out of voters, they could win elections. This was their credo. They contemptuously capitalized on the anger and bitterness of small town, backwater America, which has found itself abandoned by the rapid economic and social transformation.

By exploiting these economic, cultural and social anxieties, Republicans were able to forge deep schisms on the phony issues of gun control, tax increases, abortion, and homosexuality -- peripheral concerns which turned us against each other and transformed US culture into a mean and regressive society, domestically, and an aggressive bullying one, internationally.

Democrats did not lose elections because they were out of step with white working class voters on economic or foreign policy issues. They lost because voters became confused by the smoke and mirrors of a counterfeit faith-fear based agenda. The working and middle class voted against their own economic well-being.

This nasty run could have continued for decades to come. Even in 2008 the Republicans came frighteningly close to winning -- except for the financial crisis -- by painting Obama as an outsider Marxist not in touch with America's values.

Fortunately, the damage that W did was not easy to fix or forget and the result is that now Obama has been handed a once in a lifetime chance to turn Crisis into Opportunity. "Never let a Crisis go to waste" said Rahm Emanuel the other day.

With solid electoral majorities in both the House and Senate, Obama can aggressively move to implement long overdue reforms that can finally make our Government -- For the people, By the people and of the people.

The long frozen winter may finally be ending.

Obama can usher in a golden age of justice, universal health care, a wiser more constrained foreign policy, a supportive environmental movement, greater racial reconciliation, real education reform, and a narrowing of the income gap.

These are all in tune the core values of American culture. Obama can bring us closer to being one people -- free from the hatred that has been exploited by politicians for decades.

It will not be easy, but none of this would have been possible but for George Bush's blunders. If McCain had been elected president in 2000, he might have read the memo about Bin Ladin striking the US, we probably wouldn't have invaded Iraq, and McCain would have done a better job in Afghanistan. The flames of anti-immigration hatred would have been calmed. Torture would not have been tolerated, and a campaign reform bill would have passed.

Without 8 years of a stumbling George Bush, another regressive "moderate" Republican, like Mitt Romney, might have beaten Obama in 2008; once again strangling the Change -- reforms -- that have been stalled since the Kennedy-Johnson administrations of the 1960's.

jfleetwood@aol.com