Left In Lowell

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January 19, 2009

Goodbye W

by at 8:12 pm.

At long last, our eight-year national nightmare is over. I can’t tell you just how these two terms have dragged. Or maybe they have for you, too.

Things I thank “President” Bush for:

1) Making being smart seem cool again. No one could ever think having a national figure talk like a hillbilly moron is impressive ever, going forward. The fact is, we voted overwhelmingly for President-Elect (until noon tomorrow!) Obama because, above all else, he was pretty much the smartest guy in the pack. It feels good to be smart! (Now, if we could translate that to local governing we’d all be better off…)

2) Getting myself, and millions of others, active again in politics. It took a complete fuckup to do it, but you will now get to watch the younger generation (those who are just now coming into voting age or have in the last six years) become voting, campaigning, citizens - many of whom will themselves run for office. Not only that, but by and large, they will be lifelong liberals. The Republican party lost a whole generation of voters, and if you think their electoral woes are bad now, just wait a bit, as the old conservatives die off and the GenY’ers begin to make up a larger segment of the voting population.

My own awakening came on the eve of the Iraq war. I have long been a digester of political news and information, especially since age 20, when I met Mr. Lynne with his geeky wonkishness. But before Bush, I never did more than vote (which I did religiously, as it was instilled in me by my family), even though I always knew what was going on. That was what made the Iraq war an anathema - I knew, being an informed citizen, that it was all bull. Smoke and mirrors. I was enraged by my government.

From peace activism (which after a few years felt like a futile effort - even if you get 75% of the American people at your side, still Bush didn’t get a rat’s you-know-who), to campaigning and knocking on doors for candidates, to blogging, I will never be the same rather-apathetic voter again. I take my job as citizen very seriously now, and it’s all thanks to trust-fund moron boy.

3) Though I’d rather we hadn’t, I thank Bush for going so far down the neo-conservative domestic and foreign policy path that it showcased what an EPIC FAIL such adherence towards deregulation, government handouts for the rich and big business, and empire building brings to a nation. The military arrogance of our leadership, the borrowing of money from an oppressive Communist nation to finance our buying of that same country’s (often shoddy) products, all these things are not progressive values. They are stupid, right-wing, pro-business values.

The fact is, the people who have done the most damage to the conservative agenda are the conservatives. Let’s hope it lasts a generation or more! Here’s to another era like the one pre-Raygun - decades of relative economic stability and upward mobility via progressive policies. Smart ones; I am not saying every liberal idea of the last century was the best one in every case. But the failure of the alternative (conservatism) to continue such prosperity cannot now be discounted.

This is the last contemporary post with the category “Bush Administration.” Though I still hope I get to use the category postmortem, if only Congress and the Justice Department will do its job and investigate the abuses of the last eight years. We cannot let such precedent stand. That would be a grave mistake.

16 Responses to “Goodbye W”

  1. Prince Charming Says:

    Someone said that we have Bush to thank for keeping the country safe from attack. Maybe they can’t blow up any buildings but we’ve paid in many other ways. One thing we can thank him for is for Barack Obama, because Bush made this possible. It feels good to have our country back again.

  2. Kim Says:

    Amen Lynne! So long George.

  3. Mimi Says:

    I think it is fitting that the Bush Administration’s own Dr. Strangelove (Cheney) is in a wheelchair on his last day in office.

  4. joe from Lowell Says:

    It’s finally here! January 20, 2009.

    The last eight years have dragged, yeah, but how about the last two months?

  5. waittilnextyr Says:

    “My own awakening came on the eve of the Iraq war.”

    It should have been an awakening for more of our politicians.
    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Barack_Obama’s_Iraq_Speech

  6. Lynne Says:

    This is cool. I’m watching the inaugural in Arlington at the Regent Theatre with friends, which is quite full, and they just announced Obama - the crowd here stood and cheered a long time…

  7. Lynne Says:

    Turning my back Warren. Asshat.

  8. Paul@01852 Says:

    I just finished watching the Inauguration and speech of Obama with about 150 co-workers crowded around a 21″ TV with poor sound. You could hear a pin drop! I was in awe because 4 and 8 years ago *NOBODY* watched (at least at work) — there wasn’t even a TV set up in a public area! When Obama finshed taking the oath there was spontaneous applause some 600 miles from the Capitol in a private building where no one except co-workers could hear. I was so moved that I actually had a lump in my throat. People WANT to be led by this man, there’s a strong sense of hope in this country right now and I believe a strong sense that we have turned a corner and are now willing to be led to better times!

  9. Josh Says:

    Deregulation under Bush? Did I miss something?

    Please tell me what it is he deregulated (as in what bill did he sign) because I can’t think of anything.

  10. Lynne Says:

    That’s very sad. I can think of tons. Later, when I’m done celebrating his leaving and Obama becoming president, I’ll even link some for you.

  11. Shawn Says:

    Why does it feel that we finally elected William Jennings Bryan?

  12. Josh Says:

    Funny, you can think of tons, but can’t even come up with a quick example. I’m not going to hold my breath on that laundry list of deregulation you have.

  13. Mr. Lynne Says:

    Off the top of my head. There’s mine safety, media ownership, and there was a bunch of OSHA stuff.

  14. Lynne Says:

    Josh, I have a life, a business to run, and what’s more, I had a lot of other stuff to post. Believe it or not, you are not the center of my universe.

    But let’s see…there was the push to privatize and stop paying attention to (ie, give money away and not trace it) every living rock in Iraq, the military, after Katrina, etc…

    There was the gazillion environmental deregulations that took place, especially before the Dems took over Congress, but even after then, when Bush just decided he didn’t want to bother with checks and balances…

    There’s the rules changes deregulating and taking any leftover teeth out of the FDA which are very much responsible for the bevy of outbreaks of deadly stuff in our food, toys, and other imported and homegrown goods…

    There’s a gazillion signing statements where Bush just wasn’t going to adhere to anything Congress did regulate, including carbon dioxide pollution…(until the courts told him to, then he promptly didn’t.)

    Media ownership deregulation…which has put the death nail in the coffin of big media conglomerates all over the country as they got too big, took on too much debt, and are downsizing and ruining our media coverage across the board…

    Deregulating (and changing the rules of) overtime and workers’ laws (to their detriment)…

    You’re right, the DIRECT deregulation of the specific vehicle (credit default swaps) of our downfall wasn’t Bush…it happened before him…on the eve of Bush’s ascendancy…it was by Senator Phil “consumers are whiners” Graham. You know, the guy behind the throne of a would-be McCain administration. I didn’t see our “MBA President” rushing to rethink that. Did you? Did I miss something? The Republicans were in total charge for 6 years after that. Did they fix it? Nope.

    Couple that with the long march towards deregulation…in the 80s (Reagan)…the deregulation that the Republicans (and complicit Dems) effected in the 90s often over Clinton’s veto (the deregulation of the auditing/accounting firewall, which resulted in Enron et al, was an overturned veto)…and you have today’s meltdown, which is the biggest one in a serious of meltdowns due to deregulation, but which takes a little of all of it to make it this big. At the heart is the credit default swaps and mortgage-backed securities they were purported to insure, but we also had another major recall of food (this time, peanut butter related), a negative savings rate, and money which we have given by the billions to big finance where we have NO FRAKING CLUE what the hell they spent it on. So yeah, deregulation and a fraking free for all. You wanna dispute it? Really? Now?

  15. joe from Lowell Says:

    And then there’s the decision not to regulate novel new transactions in the financial industry, such as mortgage-backed securities, when the agencies recommended doing so and drew up proposed regulations.

    But, hey, the Federal Code is a big book. See? *Thump* Great big book. I’m now going to thumb through the chapters on wetlands and asbestos disposal, to figure out how they failed to prevent investment houses from leveraging their investors’ money to buy junk bonds.

    Becasue that’s totally how it works. Regulation is a commodity, measured by the pound, acre, gallon, and page. Any one lot is like any other lot, doncha know. See? Big Book. Great Big Book.

  16. Michael S. Ready Says:

    And lest we forget Josh, the three Bush authored “reform” measures that bring a salacious drool to the mouths of all overpaid crybaby corporate titans. And they are (drum roll please)….

    1. Overtime Reform (2004) 2. Tort Reform (2005) and last but not least, Bankruptcy Reform (2005). The three pieces of Bush administration legislation that make it oh so clear to the average American that we are nothing more than a thorn in the backside of corporate America and their $200 million salary packages.

    Overtime Reform: Not really reform. So overtly patronizing to the most serious corporate labor abusers, some activists were known to dub the day of its signing as Wal-Mart Appreciation Day. The ultimate Bush authored kick-to-the-chops for the average American worker. With this one, good old Bush sorta, kinda deregulated (some would say denuded) the Fair Labor Standards Act to allow the employers of non-management salaried employees to work them to the bone, relinquishing said employers of the legal requirement to pay their tired and overworked accountants overtime pay for all hours over 40. See, as a former corporate financial analyst and cash manager who was worked sometimes 80 to 100 hour weeks, this one really stings. Not that I ever did get paid for those long, tired lunch-less days. I didn’t! (I was a young and green corporate wanna-be, what did I know?) But at least, had I known, I would have had the legal right to sue for that mountain of unpaid overtime hours. Now, thanks to George, I wouldn’t. And neither do you!

    Tort Reform: One writer has described it as “Executive Clemency for Executive Killers”. It goes something like this; let’s say you just pulled a painted toy from the mouth of your three year old and it turns out that the paint is loaded with lead and your beautiful little baby will now suffer from the cognitive learning consequences that lead is known to induce. What do you do? Call a lawyer, right? Join a class action suit, right? Good luck, because this little bit of Bush authored legislation makes it much, much more difficult to wage class action lawsuits against the big boys who were so inept as to allow a lead tainted toy to go to market in the first place. It will cost you a hell of a lot more in time, legal expenses and grief just to have your day in court.

    Bankruptcy Reform: This one’s a doozey. So let’s say you’re a single mother and had a bit too little income and a bit too much need for cash to feed, cloth and house those little tikes. Every other day, you receive those tickler credit card offers that just makes getting cash as easy as signing one’s name. Who could resist. Then… before you know it, ol Jed’s a millionaire. The credit card company that is. A lost job, a demotion, whatever. The balance is so high that you can’t get out from under it. Due to late payments, your rate has been raised to 30 plus percentage points, and those pesky $49.00 late fees have really added up. So, file for personal bankruptcy protection. Enron can do it! Lehman Brothers can do it! But you can’t. At least not as easily. Because you’re just a lowly average American whose reckless spending causes major headaches for our banks, credit card companies etc. And George and his close friends don’t like that. What we all should do is incorporate. That way, we could start, say, a Hedge Fund corporation. We could deceive our investors. Fly to Aruba every other weekend on the company tab. Spend recklessly the comapany’s money and make really poor business decisions such that the company flounders and we are forced to… file for bankruptcy. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    So George, as my witty Irish mother used to say, don’t let the door kick you in the ass on the way out. I’ll drink to that!

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