I first referenced George W. Bush in a column titled L is for Leadership in June of 2000, when I wrote "George W. Bush isn't leading, he is a mouthpiece for his father and his cronies..." Could I have been more right or more wrong? Controlled by a warmongering cabal of NeoCon warmongers under the insidious guidance of Dick Cheney, W. was Propagandist in Chief.
Sure, George W. led us into a unilateral war of aggression and occupation against the people of Iraq using false intelligence and fear-based propaganda but that is where his leadership begins and ends. Remember, the George W. Bush Administration did not prevent the hijackings of September 11, 2001 nor were they prepared for, or all that concerned about, Hurricane Katrina.
It's clear a lot of troubled water has flowed under the bridge between now and then. Bloodied and bankrupt the United States has only suffered under the criminal incompetence of Team Bush.
My second reference to George W. Bush in this space was April 4, 2001 with a column titled George W. Bush is not a conservative where I commented on his anti-environmental agenda and the damage he could do. "The Shrub and his puppet masters are quite blatant in their contempt for the natural world. No matter how many American flags they wave, nothing can hide the fact they are planning systematic rape of the worlds remaining resources. In four very long years the Bush Administration could undo a century of sound environmental policy..."
Well, 8 years and trillions of dollars in debt later Team Bush has proven me right. Looking back over W's list of dubious environmental accomplishments is downright scary, that the mainstream media choose to look the other way in order to fixate on the trials and tribulations of drunken starlets and other inane diversions.
First and foremost the Bush administration consistently, and without wavering, has sought to weaken and undermine all existing environmental policies, most notably those that relate to industrial pollution and the extractive industries. Using Orwellian style Cheney and company gave us the Healthy Forest Initiative as cover for deforestation, the Clear Skies Initiative of 2003 to allow polluters to police themselves.
Dedicated to eviscerating the Endangered Species List, Bush anti-environmental efforts also focused on allowing power plants to operate near national parks, loosening regulations for factory farm waste and making it easier for mountaintop coal-mining operations to scrape clean entire mountain ranges. The Bush administration has also opened coastal waters to oil exploration.
The question now is will the Obama Administration be able to mitigate and reverse the damage done by his predecessor in the next eight years. Is it even possible? Nine years ago I predicted W. Bush would go down in history as the most anti-environmental President in the United States of mendacity. I was right, ten-fold. It will be decades before we know how much damage has been done.
There is no comfort in I told you so.