Relief in air for Bush’s final days

Posted Jan. 13, 2009, at 5:21 p.m.

Well, it’s less than a week now. Am I counting down the days, weeks, hours and seconds? As that now infamous politician from Alaska would say, “You betcha!”

My breath is more baited than a greyhound that has been sucking on a rabbit’s foot.

And our nation’s sense of relief is palpable in these waning days of failure.

President Bush has walked in the footsteps of failure his entire silver-spooned life — he has driven everything from ball clubs to oil companies into bankruptcy — but those failures were his.

Businesses don’t get to pick their leaders; democracies do. We escalated his potential and his presidential failings now are ours.

I’ve been trying to find the perfect analogy for this disaster we’ve become and it’s like some arsonist set our house on fire and we’ve all run up to the attic instead of out the front door. Now the fire department’s on its way and Fire Chief Obama’s job is much harder because we ran into the blaze instead of out of it.

Congress didn’t impeach and we re-elected him and then the fire consuming the war and business rooms of our house spread to other rooms — the infrastructure room for example — where Katrina lived.

What did we expect? This president never showed any leadership skills or any history of learning from his mistakes or the mistakes of others.

Maybe if the president had gotten a closer look at Vietnam he could have learned from North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh, “You will kill 10 of our men, and we will kill one of yours, and in the end it will be you who tire of it.” Now our country is repeating that scenario.

Bush’s legendary history of failure goes back to his Yale days. You can go to the Yale Alumni Magazine and read what other Yale men thought about him. I won’t quote women about his Yale days. I’m not being sexist; when Bush went to Yale they didn’t allow women.

Here’s a quote from alum Jacob Weisberg, “Bush never felt he belonged at Yale. [He was] a C student. Bush later said he ‘didn’t learn a damn thing’ at Yale. The reason was that he didn’t try. Outside of class, Bush staggered in his father’s footsteps. Where George H.W. strived and excelled, George W. lazed and flopped.”

But Yale wasn’t the only place our president didn’t learn anything. He didn’t learn at home either.

Remember, his father didn’t invade Iraq. Bush Sr. explained his decision not to invade during his Gulf War because he believed we would have, “incurred incalculable human and political costs. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq.”

Didn’t learn from Vietnam, didn’t learn at Yale, didn’t learn from Dad — heck, he didn’t even learn from Martha Stewart. Oh, but wait, he did his stock trading before Martha Stewart got caught. But it has been a good lesson for Martha: Selling stocks when you are the director of the company only works if your dad is president at the time.

You can learn more about the president’s shady business deals in John Dean’s book “Worse than Watergate.”

The book is quite a guide. You can learn about torture and secret prisons and other presidential judgment errors, too.

Ironically, torture is one of the few things the president actually did learn from his youth. When President Bush was just frat president Bush, he and the other frat boys would “brand” new members with searing hot metal coat hangers. It was 1967 and some of the folks at Yale were getting a little squeamish about undergrads purposefully burning and scarring each other. If you go to the university newspaper, The Yale News, you can read W’s defense of this behavior against the paper’s criticisms, “I can’t understand how the authors of the Friday article can assume that Yale has to be so haughty not to allow this type of pledging to go on at Yale.”

It’s just the same sort of haughty attitude that makes us want Gitmo closed, Mr. President.

So six more days of disaster leadership and then what?

How, then, do we put this fire out?

Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” She may be reached at PatLaMarche@hotmail.com.

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