Extremely Jaundiced

As I write this, Carter, Bush, and Clinton have just been introduced to the crowds at the Inauguration.

One would think that, at such a special occasion, most in our country would be looking forward to the new administration. Most, but not everyone. In yesterday’s Washington Post, there is plenty of Bush Derangement Syndrome on display, courtesy of E. J. Dionne’s opinion piece titled Why the Uniter Divided Us.

The crowds are resuming the chants Obama, Obama, Obama!

Dionne wants to help the new president in avoiding the mistakes made by Bush

There are many reasons why most Americans are not mourning President Bush’s departure. But our new president would do well to concentrate on the deeper causes of the public’s disaffection with the man headed to Texas.

From the very beginning of his presidency, won courtesy of a divisive Supreme Court decision that abruptly ended his contest with Al Gore, Bush misunderstood the nature of his lease on power, the temper of the country and the proper role of partisanship in our political life. His win-at-all-costs strategy in Florida became a template for much of his presidency, reflected especially in the way the Justice Department was politicized.

What? I won’t defend the politicization of the Justice Department. But does Dionne really think that Bush had a win-at-all-costs strategy in Florida? I seem to recall that it was Gore that had the win-at-all-cost strategy. Wasn’t it the Gore camp’s idea to keep recounting votes from only a few districts until the total count for the state came out in his favor? What are they serving there at the Post? Hashish?

Bush did not respect the obligation of a leader in a free society to forge a durable consensus. He was better at announcing policies than explaining them. He dismissed legitimate opposition and plausible doubts about the courses he wished to pursue. It is partly because of these failures that Americans reacted by selecting a successor with such a profoundly different political personality.

What the hell is a “durable consensus”? Is it a consensus where politicians vote one way, and then do not pretend that they voted differently 6 years later? Whose fault is it that Bush did not get a durable consensus from Democrats? Here are some important issues where Bush achieved consensus

  • The Iraq War
  • No Child Left Behind
  • Prescription Medication for Seniors
  • AIDS and Health Programs for Africa

Interestingly, Dionne mentions a few of these later in the column, but I don’t see how they bolster his main theme. I might add, that Bush was better able to find consensus with Democrats on immigration reform than with Republican legislators.

Barack H. Obama was just announced.

Admittedly, Bush did not seek consensus on one of the most important decisions of our time. The decision to move ahead with the surge. Thankfully he did not listen to those that would throw the USA under the proverbial bus, and throw Iraq into civil war and the Middle East into true chaos, just to score “electoral advantage”.

Rick Warren is providing the invocation.

For a few months after Sept. 11, 2001, the president governed as a truly national leader. At that moment, we saw the consensus-builder he promised to be in 2000. He might have built a durable majority for his party on the basis of more moderate, consensual policies. Instead, he moved to ridiculing those who doubted the wisdom of his Iraq adventure and used the war on terrorism for electoral advantage.

Let me see if I have this right. Dionne is accusing Bush of using the war on terrorism for electoral advantage? I would have thought the other way around. That Democrats used the war on terrorism for electoral advantage.

Aretha Franklin is singing “My Country Tis of Thee”. [I don’t care for the big bow.]

Remember “This War is Lost”? Remember “General Betrayus”? Now that is attempt at electoral advantage. To suggest otherwise is despicable and intellectually dishonest.

John Paul Stevens is administering the oath of office of the Vice President. [How many names does Biden have?]

But [Obama] is decidedly not an us-vs.-them guy. He gets both the uses and the limits of partisanship. He has been known to quote the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr on the dangers of moral arrogance. He could make nuance and complexity cool again. Of course it will take more than that to be successful. But it’s a start.

Nuance and complexity? This sounds like it could have been applied to Jimmy Carter. Nuance and complexity? That is the watchword at the United Nations (an organization that has accomplished exactly nothing).

John G. Roberts is administering the oath of office of the President. The crowd roars. A few hiccups.

Congratulations to Barack H. Obama, 44th President of the United States.

Now, would E. J. Dionne and the rest of those afflicted by BDS please take some of your own advice and move on? What does E. J. stand for? Extremely Jaundiced, I would say.

President Obama is addressing the nation.

Barack H. Obama - 44th President of the United States

Barack H. Obama - 44th President of the United States

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