I feel like I’ve seen the future legacy of George W. Bush, and it isn’t pretty for us progressives. Sure, he’s tied for the least popular President in recorded history, and almost every decent historian has rated him the worst President ever, and he has probably dealt the Republican Party a kidney-punch and groin kick that will reverberate for decades. But I can’t help the gnawing feeling that even when W finally serves out the rest of his eternally-seeming term, he’ll be reassessed by political culture in a way that will make survivors of his regime want to claw their fucking eyes out.
First off, corporate-owned media (sorry to use that hackneyed phrase, kids, but you gotta calls ’em like you sees ’em) won’t allow him to stay a villain forever. It’s never been in their interests anyway, and since 24-hour news stations (as well as salacious non-fiction writers) need reversals to keep their audience interested, we’ll get a flood of articles, stories and books with variations on the title “GWB: Was He Right All Along?”
Secondly, a terrorist attack of some gruesome nature seems rather likely to occur at some point during the next (Democratic) presidential term, which will lead headline writers – and other souls with gnat-like attention spans – to wax romantic about the days of Bush’s tenure when there were no evildoers doing evil on American soil.
Never mind the big one happened on his watch; that argument has never had any traction anyway. Progressives will tear their hair out trying to explain it was Bush’s policies and idiocy that led up to it, but instead, the blowback will be on whatever hapless Democratic president happens to be in office at the time.
As the years progress, whip-smart little fuckwits who are presently stealing crayons from Lucy at toddler group will grow up to worship GWB and perhaps even an aging, corpulent, arteriosclerotic Rove just out of spite. They’ll foment a bizarre resurrection of Bush’s reputation, the same way morons from my age group did with Nixon, leading old-timers like me to sucker-slap them in the kitchen if they say ONE MORE WORD.
A stopped clock is right twice a day, and I suspect Bush will accidentally look prescient. His Neanderthal ideas on alternative energy and his cruel position on stem cells will cease to have meaning, due to leaps in science he would never have predicted or encouraged – in essence, he will be saved by the very science that he and his evangelical cohorts fought to silence. Already, it looks like embryos can be avoided entirely in lieu of adult stem cells, and it feels like some new energy source for vehicular transport (and perhaps everything else) is tantalizingly around the corner.
Never mind the eight years we suffered under his utterly-backward line of sight – never mind the way gays were made to suffer, the poor were vilified, the country went into deep recession, the dollar became almost worthless, the planet heated up, Christianity became national policy and the Constitution was shredded in order to waterboard people with funny last names. George W. Bush will be resurrected because some people will think it’s cute.