Well, it seems that the folks at Vanity Fair realized that they won't have George W. Bush to kick around any more. So they decided to launch the journalistic equivalent of thermonuclear war against him in an attempt to get its shot at a "draft of history."
In a 14 web-page tome (the photo at the top right is at its beginning) that fancies itself an "oral history," the magazine hauls out every criticism, real or imagined, hurled at the president during the past eight years. It reminds everyone that the media's favorite stereotype of conservatives and Republicans is that they're dumb (I guess Ike's orchestration of D-Day was some kind of accident, and George W. Bush's MBA -- he is the first president to hold one -- was some kind of gift from Poppy).
Sadly, the magazine finds a few former administration officials to pile on. One of them likens Bush to Sarah Palin (that's supposed to be an insult). We're left with the long-discredited meme of Dick Cheney as puppet master and Bush as impotent since Katrina (then how did Bush get that Iraq Surge past everyone and make it stick anyway?).
All you really need to know to spare yourself a truly painful read is what is in the tease paragraph after the headline. Brace yourself:
The threat of 9/11 ignored. The threat of Iraq hyped and manipulated. Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. Hurricane Katrina. The shredding of civil liberties. The rise of Iran. Global warming. Economic disaster. How did one two-term presidency go so wrong? A sweeping draft of history—distilled from scores of interviews—offers fresh insight into the roles of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and other key players.
Gosh, I don't really want to do this, because it's so easy. But I'll pick off some of the low-hanging fruit, and let commenters handle the rest. Here goes:
- The threat of Iraq hyped and manipulated? Uh, there were weapons of mass destruction (yes .... there .... were), not to mention 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium. Really, guys. Oh, and "the sixteen words" ("The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa") were, and still are, true. Take the blinders off.
- The shredding of civil liberties? You guys must be referring to that FISA law that Barack Obama voted to keep in place?
- Global warming? Vanity Fair, that is so 1998. Didn't you know that "2008 was the year man-made global warming was disproved"?
- Economic disaster? You must be referring to the economic disaster brought on this June, just as the economy was growing again, when the Democrats' leading lights gave rise to the "POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy." The terrible triumvirate's promises to starve the economy of the energy it needs to keep growing and to radically raise taxes as soon as they had control of the Oval Office and Congress caused businessmen, entrepreneurs and investors to batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst. The Democratic-driven, decades-in-the-making debacles at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- enterprises that were run into the ground by Democratic cronies -- ultimately led to the perceived (but, in my opinion, not actual) need for Treasury's giant SUCKUP (the Seemingly Unlimited Cash Kitty Under Paulson) and the other bailouts that followed. If Bush and the GOP are at fault, it's for not screaming loud enough or early enough, and for acquiescing to the bailout blackmail. But, as Billy Joel would say, "they didn't start the fire."
Commenters can feel free to expand on these points and deal with the others I didn't touch on.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.