Assessing the Bush years | The frat boy ships out | The Economist
I know I said I would try to be more positive in my entries but I just couldn’t help myself. On this day of the historic inauguration of Barack Obama, I find it strangely comforting that a publication as conservative as the The Economist is more than willing to comment on the deficiencies of “W” and his administration and legacy.

Mr Bush relied heavily on a small inner core of advisers. The most important of these was Dick Cheney, who quickly became the most powerful vice-president in American history. Mr Cheney used his mastery of bureaucracy to fill the administration with his protégés and to control the flow of information to the president. He pushed Mr Bush forcefully to the right on everything from global warming to the invasion of Iraq; he also fought ruthlessly to expand the power of the executive branch, which he thought had been dangerously restricted since Watergate.

The two other decisive figures were Karl Rove, Mr Bush’s longtime political guru, and Donald Rumsfeld, his defence secretary. Mr Rove was obsessed by pursuing his dream of a rolling Republican realignment, subordinating everything to party politics. Mr Rumsfeld regarded the Iraq war not, like his boss, as an exercise in democracy-building, but as an opportunity to test the model of an “agile military” that he was pioneering at the Pentagon.

The fruit of all this can be seen in the three most notable characteristics of the Bush presidency: partisanship, politicisation and incompetence. Mr Bush was the most partisan president in living memory. He was content to be president of half the country—a leader who fused his roles of head of state and leader of his party. He devoted his presidency to feeding the Republican coalition that elected him.

This is a great article and well worth the read. It’s refreshing to read a point of view from outside the states.

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