Note: The original headline for this piece was “George W. Bush is Not Your Cuddly Grandpa. George W. Bush can rot in hell. It’s been amended because in an Internet environment where many people only read the headline, it came off more mean-spirited than we intended.
Ever since I can remember, for pretty much my entire adult life, I’ve hated George W. Bush. I hated George W. Bush way back in 1999, when he was still just a lazy, dry-drunk, arrogantly mediocre governor of Texas, signing execution warrants and making fun of Death Row inmates. I hated him when the Supreme Court handed him the White House after he lost the 2000 election to Al Gore. I hated him on 9/11, and I even hated him right after 9/11 when a traumatized nation rallied around their Commander in Chief, and he was giving his famous bullhorn speech at Ground Zero; even then, at an unprecedented moment of national crisis, I remember thinking, “Holy shit, we are FUCKED. We have the worst president in history. George W. Bush is going to be the worst thing that ever happened to America.” I hate his whole sick, twisted family. I even hate his children. I want the entire Bush family to be exiled from America for 3 generations, like other countries do with the families of deposed dictators.
So needless to say, I have not been pleased to see good ol’ George W. Bush back in the news lately, seemingly trying to reinvent his image in old age as a lovable bumbler—dancing at inappropriate times at the Dallas police officers’ memorial service, and posing for cute photos with Michelle Obama.
Because you know what? George W. Bush, maybe almost as much as Andrew Jackson, deserves to rot in hell. Bush authorized torture, committed war crimes, sent thousands of people to their deaths, failed to prevent mass fatality disasters in three major American cities (9/11 in New York and D.C., Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans) and he nearly ruined America’s economy—all while hiding behind the flag and polarizing a nation to such a degree that President Trump is now a possibility. He doesn’t deserve to hang out with the Obamas; they’ve been cleaning up his messes for eight years.
The George W. Bush presidency was a waking national nightmare; an eight-year nonstop farting-clown circus of arrogance, incompetence, bullshit, fuckshit and casual evil. I can’t even begin to accurately catalog or convey how many things George W. Bush did completely, stupidly wrong as president; this article is a good start. After eight years of the Bush regime, it’s really kind of amazing that any Iraqis, Afghanis or Americans were still alive.
George W. Bush’s only redeeming quality is that on some level, he seems to know what an absolute disgraceful fuckup he is. The man who was so proud about avenging his father’s 1992 election defeat and upholding the honor of his family name has made his family name radioactive in American politics. The man who tried to reshape American politics in his own “compassionate conservative” right-wing Christian image is now so widely unpopular that he can’t really leave the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area without the risk of being publicly taunted and booed. The man who seemed to be proud of being incurious and uninformed helped pave the way for other even-bigger-dipshit Republicans like Sarah Palin and Trump who make him look like a philosopher-poet by comparison; George W. Bush’s leadership made his party, his country, and the entire world stupider.
I’d rather see George W. Bush being tried for war crimes in the Hague, like we do with other heads of state who wage aggressive invasions of other countries, but that’s never going to happen so we’ll have to settle for knowing that he’s spending his twilight years hanging out in Dallas and painting bad artwork shower selfies and pictures of dogs. And I’m glad that even with all his heedlessness, his obtuseness, his moral obliviousness, his arrogance and his reckless, bull-in-a-china-shop disastrous squandering of American lives, wealth and prestige, even though he’ll never die in prison as a convicted war criminal, at least—George W. Bush has to know, on some permanent level, that his father is very disappointed in him. And for a swaggering Oedipal mess like George W., that has to be the worst punishment of all.
Frankly, the world would have been better off if George W. Bush had never stopped drinking. If he had just kept on being a low-achieving drunken layabout, he could have just spent the rest of his life making money in some cushy job his daddy helped him get, hanging out in Houston country club locker rooms telling off-color jokes and cackling over beers with his other dumbass white Texan friends, instead of running the entire world into the ground.
The only silver lining to George W. Bush is that he’s over. Which makes the recent Internet rebranding—voluntary, no less!—so offensive. For nominally liberal outlets to treat him like a cuddly grandpa practically validates all the worst stereotypes of thoughtless millennials. Only image matters, these articles suggest, and his monstrous history is irrelevant in the face of a cutesy photo with the first lady. It’s the most superficial stance imaginable, and it’s an active whitewashing of a destructive, hateful legacy. Watching it happen is like experiencing a fever dream where the ugliest prophecies of Orwell and Huxley merge into one, and it’s hard not to imagine a future where a leader authorizes a nuclear strike, and then poses with a litter of adorable puppies to completely mitigate the damage. These posts are not innocent—they actively erase accountability, and are in direct opposition to both real journalism and true memory. The people writing these articles are, in a word, disgusting. Just like Bush himself.
To borrow a phrase from Bush’s mindless adherents—the one they used ad nauseam to rationalize their dear leader’s disastrous stewardship of our country—never forget. Never fucking forget.