And now the same folks that brought us the needless $3 trillion war in Iraq have the mother of all swan songs left in store: redefining the Bush legacy as something other than a failure. Weekly Standard senior writer and GOP insider Stephen Hayes let slip earlier this month that an unofficial White House PR campaign is afoot - which Hayes dubbed the "Bush Legacy project" - with the mission of highlighting what they believe are the President's accomplishments and shirking responsibility for the more numerous and far more consequential failures....The Bush legacy should be remembered as a grand and failed experiment of what happens when conservatives are in complete control of the government. Conservative ideology rails against government, argues that government is the problem, not the solution. So when a government run by conservatives is faced with the most important responsibility any government has - to protect its citizens - is it any wonder you wind up with a tragedy of epic proportions like Katrina?For helping drive a stake in the heart of conservative governance for years to come, Bush actually deserves all the credit and thanks in the world.
In the end, the shame of Vice President Dick Cheney was total: unmitigated by any notion of a graceful departure, let alone the slightest obligation of honest accounting. Although firmly ensconced, even in the popular imagination, as an example of evil incarnate—nearly a quarter of those polled in this week’s CNN poll rated him the worst vice president in U.S. history, and 41 percent as “poor”—Cheney exudes the confidence of one fully convinced that he will get away with it all....The Bush administration, with Cheney in the lead, did not so much fight the danger of terrorism as exploit it for partisan political purpose. The record is quite clear that the administration was asleep at the switch before 9/11, blithely ignoring stark warnings of an impending attack. But the hoary warmongering after 9/11 afforded a convenient distraction from the economic problems at home. As I asked in a column on June 26, 2002: “Has the war on terrorism become the modern equivalent of the Roman circus, drawing the people’s attention away from the failures of those who rule them? Corporate America is a shambles because deregulation, the mantra of our president and his party, has proved to be a license to steal.”That is the true legacy of Dick Cheney and the president he ill-served.