Edward Martin  
September 12, 2006

Why George Bush is a failed president
By Edward Martin


I voted for George W. Bush twice, and I would vote for him a third time if the only other options were John Kerry or Al Gore. Still, I have to agree with my liberal colleagues that Bush will go down in history as a failed president.

The reason for George Bush's failure is not so much in himself, but in the way the political parties choose their candidates, and the way this country elects it's president. An ideal system for choosing a leader would provide a candidate who had struggled through difficulties in life and had overcome them. A candidate who had shown leadership and courage in the face of adversity and had triumphed in the end. Only through tough, real world experience can a man gain the wisdom and the strength to lead the most powerful nation on earth. George Washington undoubtedly learned a great deal from the failure of his first assignments to rout the French out of disputed American territories; lessons he later used to his advantage when fighting to create this nation.

Unfortunately today we chose our presidents from the country club set. A group of men to whom a challenge is deciding what cocktail to serve at their next dinner party. Men like George Bush were so pampered and protected in their youth that they were never allowed to fail. They never had to deal with failure and never had the chance to grow and mature from it.

Examples of this span Bush's biography. From the beginning he was a member of the elite, growing up among the wealthy and privileged. How many other young white males could expect to be accepted to Yale with only mediocre high school grades? Well, in the case of George W. Bush, no problem..., Daddy stepped in and got him accepted. Once in Yale, Bush spent more time partying than reading his books. The New Yorker published an article in 1999 revealing that Bush had received an average score of 77 for his first three years at Yale (a solid C) and a similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.

When Bush graduated Yale in 1968 the war in Viet Nam was raging and Americans were being killed by the thousands. Bush was of draft age at that time and could have expected to be inducted into the Army. No problem again..., Daddy stepped in and got Bush into the Texas Air National Guard. So while other young men were fighting and dieing in the dirty jungles of Viet Nam, Bush was tooling around in Convair F102s out of Ellington Air Force Base over that dangerous world hot spot "Houston, Texas".

The period following Bush's release from the Air National Guard are filled with accounts of substance abuse and other disorderly conduct by Bush. On September 4, 1976 Bush was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He pleaded guilty, was fined $150, and had his driver's license suspended for 30 days.

Apparently Daddy had a long talk with the young Bush after this incident because, soon after this Bush applied to Harvard University to study for an MBA. Again, what white male with a C average could ever expect to be graced with an admittance to Harvard Business School? Again, no problem..., Daddy stepped in and made sure W got in.

After graduation, a mediocre student, even one with an MBA would be expected to start at a low level job and have to work his way up the company ladder, but again No Problem..., Daddy came to the rescue and Bush became an instant executive, serving as a senior partner or chief executive officer in several companies, such as Arbusto Energy, Harken Energy, and Spectrum 7. Bush never spent a day sitting in a cubicle, working his way up the ladder like the rest of us. He just went right straight to the top. As usual, he was given "instant success".

Bush's biography is filled with such examples. Every time Bush failed at something, his ties to privilege and power bailed him out and catapulted him to the next level. Upon entering the presidency it is clear that Bush thought it would be more of the same. After all, he had never experienced anything different. Upon entering office Bush quickly earned the dubious distinction of being the most vacationed president in history. During his first three years as president Bush spent a full 27% of his time on vacation, mostly at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. In fact, Bush vacationed for nearly an entire month after he was directly warned that Osama bin Laden's was determined to attack within the United States.

Now we are mired in a futile and tragic war in Iraq. A war Bush led us into. A war that has so far cost 2,700 American lives, 19,000 American injuries, over 120,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, and $300 Billion tax dollars. We haven't found a single weapon of mass destruction, and the only parties to gain so far have been the Muslim extremists and the Iranians. Yet Bush keeps telling the American people that they must "stay the course" - whatever that means.

It is becoming clear, however, that even Bush doesn't believe the Iraq war is winnable. He just wants it to fall apart on someone else's watch. By having the Iraq mess collapse under the watch of the next president, Bush can claim that it wasn't his fault it ended up that way. Again, Bush is looking for a "Daddy" to bail him out of the mess he made. Unfortunately for Bush and for the country, Daddy doesn't have long enough strings to get him out of this one.

 


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