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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Worst Column Ever?

It was inevitable, I guess, that the departure of George W. Bush from the White House would stimulate at least a few would-be revisionists or sycophants to argue publicly that the man wasn’t really the disaster that most of us perceive him to have been. But a British historian named Andrew Roberts took to the pages of the Telegraph to pen a paen to W. that is my personal nominee for Worst Column Ever, worse even than Andrew Klavan’s infamous “Dark Knight” column lionizing Bush for his brave willingness to break or ignore laws.
You need to read the whole thing to fully absorb Roberts’ breathtaking mendacity on a variety of issues related to Bush’s tenure in office. It says a lot that perhaps his least objectionable assertion is the claim that warantless wiretaps by the administration saved many thousands of American lives. The following may contain more howlers than I’ve ever read in one sentence:

With his characteristic openness and at times almost self-defeating honesty, Mr Bush has been the first to acknowledge his mistakes – for example, tardiness over Hurricane Katrina – but there are some he made not because he was a ranting Right-winger, but because he was too keen to win bipartisan support.

Yeah, that’s George W. Bush in a nutshell, all right.
Then there’s this masterpiece of economic analysis:

The credit crunch, brought on by the Democrats in Congress insisting upon home ownership for credit-unworthy people, will initially be blamed on Bush, but the perspective of time will show that the problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started with the deregulation of the Clinton era. Instead Bush’s very
un-ideological but vast rescue package of $700 billion (£480 billion) might well be seen as lessening the impact of the squeeze, and putting America in position to be the first country out of recession, helped along by his huge tax-cut packages since 2000.

I particularly like the phrase “credit-unworthy people” as the cause of the financial crisis. Not “people who could struggle to make their mortgage payments,” mind you, but “credit-unworthy people,” a fascist word-construction if ever I have read one. And it says a lot about Roberts’ sycophancy that he praises the Bush-Paulson “rescue package,” which most conservatives of the sort who like to sniff about “credit-unworthy people” absolutely loathed. As for the idea that Bush’s earlier tax cuts will help make America “the first country out of recession,” we are perhaps mercifully left in the dark about Roberts’ “reasoning.”
There are plenty of conservatives in the world of gab with whom progressives strongly, even violently, disagree. But they can be roughly divided into those who make the conservative case with logic and some reference to verifiable facts, and those who really don’t bother. One of the worst features of the Bush Era is the great encouragement his administration and its support network offered to the latter. For that reason, perhaps George W. Bush has found his most appropriate court minstrel in Andrew Roberts, who did not have to suffer the inconvenience of actually living in the United States over the last eight years. I do know this: as an avid reader of history, I will give the works of Andrew Roberts a very wide berth. Certainly his prediction that “history” will vindicate Bush as a great and misunderestimated man should stimulate some questions about his credibility to write “history” with anything other than crayons.

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