Karl Rove argued this afternoon that President Obama has created a “longing” for a “decisive” George W. Bush. I’m reasonably certain Rove wasn’t kidding.
He might as well have been. Bush excelled in being “decisive,” which is admirable just so long as we ignore whether those decisions had merit. The problem for the failed former president, however, is that Americans care less about whether a leader makes decisions quickly based on instinct and care about whether a leader makes the right decisions. Pausing to reflect and think through decisions based on evidence is not a bad idea.
In Bush’s case, the Republican had a unique ability to decisively make the wrong call in every possible instance that really mattered. He was “decisive” when he chose to ignore warnings about Osama bin Laden in August 2001; he was “decisive” when he brushed off concerns as Hurricane Katrina barreled down on New Orleans; he was “decisive” when he pursued one misguided economic policy after another; and he was “decisive” when he launched a catastrophic war in Iraq based on lies and ideological ambitions.
Why anyone would be “longing” for spectacular failures, resulting from gut decisions made by an incompetent man unprepared for the presidency, is a bit of a mystery.
Indeed, when it comes to U.S. foreign policy, in Syria and elsewhere, current events are still directly influenced by Bush’s extraordinary dishonesty, corruption, and mismanagement. The New York Times’ Timothy Egan reports today on the former president’s “legacy” and its capacity to undermine American interests even now.
Time should not soften what President George W. Bush, and his apologists, did in an eight-year war costing the United States more than a trillion dollars, 4,400 American soldiers dead and the displacement of two million Iraqis. The years should not gauze over how the world was conned into an awful conflict. History should hold him accountable for the current muddy debate over what to do in the face of a state-sanctioned mass killer. […]
This is cowardice on a grand scale. Having set in motion a doctrine that touches all corners of the earth and influences every leader with a say in how to approach tyrants who slaughter innocents, Bush retreats to his bathtub to paint.
The fact that Karl Rove and his allies even feel justified speaking in public about these issues is evidence of extraordinary chutzpah.
Indeed, many of those responsible for Iraq – Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, Dan Senor, Paul Wolfowitz, Ari Fleischer, and others – seem to keep popping up on my television, as if they have some expertise that Americans should find valuable.
They do not.