The George W. Bush Years: Retrospective and Legacy

12 Jan

Most of those analyzing George W Bush’s years as President will offer a legacy of questionable decisions, confusing policy, and abject failure.  But the evaluation of any administration should be rooted in actual results.   A historical comparison reveals that the Bush years might not be the disaster they seem.

I, George W

Both conservative and liberal media have hammered aspects of George W Bush’s reign, including the war in Iraq, economic disparity, unwarranted firing of federal judges, increasing national debt, the failure to capture Osama Bin Laden, etc..,.   The list could continue until my hands cramped.  However, if the W. Bush presidency is looked at through the prism of the Roman Emperor Claudius (10BC-54AD), the subject of Robert Graves’ seminal historical novels I, Claudius  and Claudius the God, one realizes that Bush may deserve more credit than he is generally given.

Parallels between Claudius and George W are evident.  Claudius was a stammering, afflicted member of a royal family who considered him unsuitable for governing.  George W also possesses a certain lack of grace with spoken language.  And while Claudius was left to study history (a laughable undertaking for a “royal”) at the outskirts of his family, George W founded several oil exploration companies, all funded by family and friends, all of which lost money.  Bush persevered, however, and was elected Governor of Texas.  He then won the presidency in an unlikely manner, as it was his opponent who had garnered the most votes.  In his ascension, Claudius was named Emperor by Palace Guards just hours after Caligula, the sitting Emperor, was stabbed to death.  It helped that Claudius was the last surviving member of the ruling line. 

Claudius, however, had little desire to be Emperor.  He hoped for a restoration of the Roman Republic over the dictatorship that his family had engineered two generations earlier.  According to Graves, Claudius had a plan to insure that restoration.  He would govern so poorly that the Roman Senate would have no choice but to rise and re-establish the Republic.  Instead, Claudius found an assemblage who for the most part did not care how they were governed as long as there was money to be made and food to eat.  Although Claudius ultimately failed to reinstate the Republic, his attempt was a noble one.   

George W implemented a similar strategy.  His head-scratching, imperial governing was no accident.  Instead of letting corporate interests and the moneyed elite rule in perpetuity, Bush hoped to incite the average American to reclaim the rights and powers that the Founding Fathers had bestowed him.  Every move was designed to force the masses into action.  Perhaps because of the incessant heat or a mediocre educational system, Florida wasn’t able to help George W achieve his goal in ‘04.  But after four more years of effort, Bush seems to have succeeded. We are only days away from the Obama Administration.

Clearly, George W took it upon himself to return our Democratic Republic to the people.  It is the only way that his actions make sense:  Reading The Pet Goatto school children for seven minutes after finding out the country was under attack; misleading the country into an unneeded and unwanted war; positing the executive branch above the legislative and judicial; practically ignoring one of our greatest cities in the aftermath of a natural disaster.  If not to cultivate outrage and force the American public into responsible action, then why?  George W went into his Presidency with a plan and he executed it well.  The citizenry demanded change. Mission accomplished, indeed.    

(This post contains updated content from a previous Hangover post.  Enjoy the encore presentation.)

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2 Responses to “The George W. Bush Years: Retrospective and Legacy”

  1. aaron, of course January 12, 2009 at 2:20 pm #

    I’d amend just slightly…George Bush, with a lotta help from Barack Obama’s $250million, returned our Republic ‘to the people’…whatever that means.

    I have a different recollection. Who can honestly say that, the day after 9/11, if I were to tell you there would be no more terrorists attacks on our soil for the next 8 years, would have believed me? I think we all were operating under the assumption that the other shoe was going to drop. It never did. Who gets the credit for that?

    Also, other than 9/11 (which had obviously been planned for years in advance, who gets the blame for that?)I seem to remember the first 6 years of the Bush administration as being pretty good years. It’s been the last 2 years–or what I like to call the ‘Congress controlled by the democrats years’ that have been in the crapper.

    8 years ago it was all cigars, interns and impeachment with a recession thrown in for good measure. The American people spoke loud and clear (remember, if Gore had won his home state he woulda been President). I voted for Gore, and I was crushed when he lost. Then in 2004, despite remarkable media bias (helloooo Dan Rather et al)George won AGAIN. I think the last 8 years, if looked at objectively, will be viewed as a mixture of successes and shortcomings, much like most administrations. I think one would need to be on the outside of either end of the political spectrum to come to any other conclusion.

    Let the Obama administration begin!

  2. hp mini 210 review August 27, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    As far as me being a member here, I didnt even know that I was a member here. When the article was published I received a username and password, so that I could participate in the discussion of the post, That would explain me stumbuling upon this post. But were certainly all members in the world of ideas.

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