George W. Bush took his one talent and parlayed it into something much greater than he deserved. The worst President ever was able to parlay his reputation for being “someone you’d like to drink a beer with”, into a second term as President. To be fair, he did have that whole “war thing” going for him, and he was a personable rascal.
Now, W was not someone that I would “buy a used car from”, but apparently there were millions of Americans who bought what he was selling. So much so that they gave him a majority in the House and Senate. The Supreme Court was already in the bag, so now you had all branches of government in the hands of the folks who don’t like government. It was the first time since Herbert Hoover was elected in 1928 that a Republican president was elected along with Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress. Who says history doesn’t repeat itself?
Before W could start his work driving the economy into the ground, he was given the opportunity to show the world what a compassionate conservative was really all about. On August 29th, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast killing at least 1,245 people and creating billions in damage. Thousands were displaced, and the area has still not recovered to this day. Where we had billions to give to private companies like Halliburton and others to support our invasion of Iraq, W had very little will to make the Gulf Coast whole again. Cheney is widely reported as having said, “F*ck them, they don’t vote for us anyway”.
W’s Momma was less explicit, but every bit as damning in her assessment of the situation. “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway,” she said, “so this is working very well for them.” The arena in question being the Superdome, where 30,000 people sheltered with little power and resources and no plumbing. Why, the Superdome must have seemed like the Bush compound at Kennebunkport compared to their normal lives. Or so Barbara Bush in her jaded worldview would have one believe.
If W’s Momma is telling him that the folks in the area are better off than before the hurricane, why would W be inclined to put the full support of the government into helping the people get back on their feet? Besides, W had a war to wage with reduced resources. Since W had given all of his class a tax cut, the Clinton surplus had been completely blown. Now the country was headed back into deficit land at a rate even bigger than the Reagan years. Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill had tried to warn Cheney that growing deficits posed a threat to the economy. Cheney is quoted as saying, “You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter.” So, everybody remember, deficits are not bad if a Republican made them.
In W’s second term he spent a lot of capital trying to get Social Security privatized. Social Security is like the Mount Mordor of The Trilogy to Republicans. It exists to be destroyed. W proposed siphoning part of the money in Social Security directly into the stock market and establishing “private accounts” where taxpayers could elect to put their money into the market rather than in the government secured plan. Like any good hustler, W hoped that the promise of “greater riches” would entice the public to part with their secure savings and place them in the hands of the greed heads of Wall Street. What could go wrong?
Did I mention earlier than W had the same conditions as Herbert Hoover had when he was elected? Do we remember that nine months after taking office, Hoover presided over an unprecedented stock market crash that resulted in the Great Depression? W did his best as a shill to get Wall Street all of the money in the Social Security system. It is only the unwillingness of the Democrats to participate in the scam that saved us all. I’m having a hard time juxtaposing the concepts of compassionate conservative over an evil policy that would place hundreds of thousands of our most fragile citizens in the street. But, there it is.
We’ll talk more about it later.