Monday, January 19, 2009

Read This Now - The End Of An Error

Dan Froomkin has been chronicling Bush's end days and it's worth a look, although I won't blame you if you just want to get psyched for tomorrow.

On the final press conference...

In his last scheduled press conference, President Bush started off this morning with some kind words for the press corps. "I'm interested in answering some of your questions, but mostly I'm interested in saying thank you for the job," he said.

He then proceeded to demonstrate as clearly as ever that he doesn't read what they write -- or, at least, he doesn't let it change his perceptions of reality.

On the farewell address...

In a fitting end for a presidency that has often operated in its own reality, Bush was greeted warmly by his audience -- a hand-picked selection of hangers-on and human props -- even as public-opinion polls show that the nation is way past ready to move on.

On the legacy...

President Bush famously asserts that history's verdict on his presidency won't come until he's long dead. But far from waiting until his corpse is cold, the verdict is largely in before he's even left the building.

Some things just aren't gonna change, no matter how much time passes. Here is Bush's legacy, in part:

He took the nation to a war of choice under false pretenses -- and left troops in harm's way on two fields of battle. He embraced torture as an interrogation tactic and turned the world's champion of human dignity into an outlaw nation and international pariah. He watched with detachment as a major American city went under water. He was ostensibly at the helm as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression took hold. He went from being the most popular to the most disappointing president, having squandered a unique opportunity to unite the country and even the world behind a shared agenda after Sept. 11. He set a new precedent for avoiding the general public in favor of screened audiences and seemed to occupy an alternate reality. He took his own political party from seeming permanent majority status to where it is today. And he deliberately politicized the federal government, circumvented the traditional policymaking process, ignored expert advice and suppressed dissent, leaving behind a broken government.

Here's to a new day.

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