2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Friday, November 9, 2007

What Bush’s Successor Must Face

Founding Father George
Famously could not tell lies
George Bush: not so much
...haiku by Arianna Huffington
As I’ve followed the presidential campaign over the past several months, I’ve consciously measured each candidate by envisioning how she or he would be able to clean up the mess George W. Bush will inevitably leave behind. But I’ve not as yet sat down and listed separately the nightmarish components of Bush’s likely legacy.

Not to worry. The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson has accomplished that task in his column today. Here’s Robinson’s take on the situation Bush’s successor will inherit:

Throughout much of the world, the United States is seen as an arrogant bully whose rhetoric about freedom and the rule of law is disgracefully empty. The lawyers and students who are being tear-gassed in the streets of Pakistan's cities will long remember that, when push came to shove, Bush chose to stick with a cooperative dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, rather than live up to his words about the universal value of democracy.

The next president will be left with more than 100,000 U.S. troops bogged down in Iraq, with an unfinished war in Afghanistan -- and, between those two crises, a strengthened and emboldened Iran that hopes to dominate the world's most dangerous region. Nice work.

Bush's successor will, incredibly, assume control of a United States government that interrogates suspected terrorists with "enhanced" techniques known throughout the world by a much simpler term: torture. The new commander in chief will almost surely take custody of hundreds of people detained without formal charges and on questionable evidence, and held for years in secret CIA prisons or at Guantanamo. The next president will take over a government that claims the right to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without meaningful judicial oversight.

Whoever takes office in January 2009 will be left with a more polarized economy -- an America where the rich have been made richer during the past six years with generous tax cuts, while more than 40 million people struggle without
health insurance. The new president will be left with a government that not only failed miserably in its response to the most extensive natural disaster the nation has ever faced but that also reneged on Bush's pledge to rebuild a better New
-- and to make it possible for all those who lived in the city to return.

The next occupant of the White House will find the nation's coffers depleted by Bush's wars -- the price tag doubtless will have reached $1 trillion by Inauguration Day -- and by
whatever it eventually costs to keep the housing market afloat.

Robinson concludes: “He or she will inherit, in short, a dismal mess. It will take most of the new president's first term to begin to set things right.”

Every item on Robinson’s list makes me shudder, but it’s the “enhanced” interrogation, our compassionate conservative’s euphemism for torture, that strikes me as the very dregs of Bush’s legacy. How low has America sunk under this evil man’s leadership?

In casting our vote for the next president we’d best ask ourselves which candidate has the integrity, wisdom, courage, experience, knowledge, leadership skills, and strength to restore America and lead us forward. As I've said before, never mind the “likeability” factor. That’s what gave us Bush in the first place.

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