Karl Rove's Giant Delusion on George Bush's Legacy

Karl Rove has claimed that George W. Bush should be considered 'up there' with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln when assessing his legacy. We match Roves fiction with reality, and the results don't bode well for Dubya.
Avatar:
Ben Cohen
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
45
Karl Rove has claimed that George W. Bush should be considered 'up there' with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln when assessing his legacy. We match Roves fiction with reality, and the results don't bode well for Dubya.
U.S. President Bush puts his arm around

Bush and Rove: Tweedledumb and Tweedledick

Continuing in the longheld GOP tradition of making shit up, Karl Rove has come out swinging to defend George W. Bush's legacy as President. In a wide ranging interview, he made the following claims on an ABC interview:

1. “He kept us safe after 9/11,"

2. "He moved to modernize our tools, provide the tools to fight terror, he called terror for what it was"

3. "He tackled the big issues of trying to reform Social Security, Medicare, immigration, education,”

4. “The Iraq War was the right thing to do and the world is a safer place for having Saddam Hussein gone,”

5. “The greats, you can't touch: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, FDR, the greats. But yeah, I'd put him up there,”

Tearing this nonsense apart isn't particularly difficult, because, well, everyone reading this experienced the Bush years for themselves. The man only left office five years ago, and much of the world is still recovering from the monumental fuck ups he and his gang of lunatics wrought while in office.

Let's take Rove's claims one by one and match the fiction with the reality.

1. "He kept us safe after 9/11"

First of all, he didn't exactly do a great job of keeping the nation safe before 9/11, when it actually mattered. It is well documented that Bush ignored many credible warnings that Al-Qaeda was planning an attack on American soil and did next to nothing to investigate them. He then attacked the wrong country afterwards and let the country fall apart under his disastrous management. As a result, authoritative studies have shown that the threat of terrorism increased by 700%. Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank
Research fellows at the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law, note that:

"As The administration’s own National Intelligence Estimate on "Trends in Global Terrorism: implications for the United States," circulated within the government in April 2006 and partially declassified in October, states that "the Iraq War has become the 'cause celebre' for jihadists...and is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives."

2. "He moved to modernize our tools, provide the tools to fight terror, he called terror for what it was"

If by modernized our tools, Rove means the unprecedented expansion of the security state and the use of torture, then he's kind of right. As for calling terror what it was, Bush essentially ushered in a war against a military tactic - about as useful as declaring a 'War on Reconnaissance Missions'.

3. "He tackled the big issues of trying to reform Social Security, Medicare, immigration, education,”

Despite Bush's best efforts to privatize Social Security (ie. dismantle it), he had no luck, and the popular government program remains intact. On medicare, Bush introduced a baffling, ludicrously expensive bill (Medicare Part D) that was essentially a giant giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry and added trillions of dollars to the deficit. As for immigration, Bush was reasonably pro immigrant, but then that's because he saw immigrants as a giant source of cheap labor for beloved corporations. On education, Bush's 'No Child Left Behind' policy was about as successful as the post war occupation of Iraq. As Diane Ravich at The Daily Beast wrote:

NCLB [No Child Left Behind] is the worst federal education law ever passed. About half of all public schools in the nation have been stigmatized as “failing” because they couldn’t meet its utopian mandates, and the proportion is certain to grow every year. In Massachusetts, the nation’s highest performing state, 81 percent of the state’s schools are officially “failing” by the standards of NCLB. No national legislature in history has ever designed a law that resulted in the shaming of most of its public schools.

4. “The Iraq War was the right thing to do and the world is a safer place for having Saddam Hussein gone

Consider this when thinking about the war in Iraq:

More than a million deaths and millions more wounded with varying lifelong disabilities, including thousands of tortured prisoners, with an estimated 16,000 of them still unaccounted for. Twenty-eight percent of Iraqi children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.8 million people are still internally displaced or living as refugees outside the country.

Add to that the complete upheaval of the Iraqi economy, as well as its transportation, education and medical institutions....the countless people suffering from trauma and depression, sectarian strife, terrifying birth defects from toxic pollution, and a brain drain that has left the country illiterate.

Forget the fact that the war was illegal, unnecessary, stupendously expensive, and incomprehensibly badly executed, it also left a power vacuum for Iran to fill, making it the biggest power in the Arab world and direct threat to US/Israeli hegemony in the region. Iraq is now an open breeding ground for terrorists and is decades away from serious stability.

5. “The greats, you can't touch: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, FDR, the greats. But yeah, I'd put him up there”

If think that allowing the biggest domestic terror attack ever to happen under your watch, invading two countries with no post war plan, trashing America's image around the world, increasing the threat of terrorism, gutting the government to the point of no return, massively expanding the debt, creating unprecedented levels of wealth inequality and poverty and wrecking the global economy makes you a great President, then yes, Rove is right on the money.