The biggest loser during last week’s CNN debate was … the TRUTH. From little white lies to tall tales and even the occasional “whopper” the candidates shamelessly strayed from the truth whenever it would accrue to their benefit.
A couple of examples are in order. First, Carly Fiorina’s impassioned defense of the unborn was based on a video purporting to show a fully formed fetus, its heart beating and legs kicking waiting for its brain to be harvested. In fact, nobody has seen that exact same video so it was probably highly edited by some unnamed anti-abortion group. Regardless, it achieved Carly’s goal of winning favor with the religious right by trying to lay the blame for harvesting organs on Planned Parenthood.
Another perfect example of pandering to a segment of the electorate was Donald Trump’s unfounded claim that illegal immigration costs the United States over $200 billion every year. In stark contrast, a 2007 Congressional Budget Office report found that the impact of illegal immigration on state and local budgets “is most likely modest.”
However, the honor for the Biggest Lie goes to Jeb Bush. In response to repeated criticism of his brother’s disastrous, misguided invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq Jeb offered this defense, “Well, at least my brother kept America safe.” Say what? Nothing could be further from the truth. Hard to believe but it turned out to be one of the biggest applause lines of the evening. Goes to show you … pandering pays.
Over 200 hundred years ago John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers, and the second man to be elected President of the United States, made this truly insightful and timeless observation, “Facts are stubborn things.”
So let’s look at just a few of the ways George W. Bush did not, in fact, keep America safe.
1. Let’s start with the elephant in the room … 911. It occurred on W’s watch so as commander-in-chief he blew it. In fact, just weeks prior to 911 his security team was warned that an attack was imminent but they choose to sit on their hands and do nothing. Even warmonger-in-chief, Dick “it will be a short war … the Iraqis will treat us as liberators” Cheney didn’t see it coming.
2. 4,500 servicemen and women died in Iraq and Afghanistan in search of nukes that did not exist and, in fact, never did. I wonder if the mothers & fathers, brothers & sisters still believe that George W. kept them “safe.”
3. Over 30,000 vets returned home with permanent disabilities … some with brain injuries so severe that they are confined to a bed & wheelchair 24/7 unable to dress or feed themselves. Doesn’t sound like good, old George W kept them very “safe” either.
Let’s turn our attention to the economy. It’s not a pretty picture either.
1. GW inherited a $250 billion surplus from the Clinton Administration which he immediately squandered with across the board tax cuts including the 1%. Combined with a $3 trillion misadventure in the Middle East, Bush drove the economy into the ground leaving Barack Obama with a $3 trillion national debt.
2. Under the Bush administration, unemployment soared to over 10% throwing millions of people out of work and some on the streets. I’m sure that those who lost jobs, homes and virtually the shirt off their backs laugh when they hear Jeb bragging about his how his brother kept America “safe.”
3. Let’s not forget about the housing crisis. Millions lost their homes and every dime they had invested in the American dream. Hey, no problem for the 1%. Their only worry was whether to sleep in their multi-million dollar penthouse in downtown Manhattan or chauffeur to some ritzy suburb and one of their other multi-million dollar mansions.
4. How about the Big Three auto makers? GM and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy shortly after Bush left office throwing thousands of hard-working Americans to pound the pavement. Another example of how George W kept America “safe?” I don’t think so.
5. Finally, there’s Katrina. Remember the picture of Bush peering out a window as Air Force One flew over New Orleans just days after the one of our biggest national disasters ever. Over a thousand died and tens of thousands were left homeless not to mention the billions of dollars of property loss. Another classic photo-op was George W. praising the guy in charge of the federal response for a job well done. It wasn’t long before he was out of a job and Bush had another egg on his face.
So, did George W. Bush keep America “safe?” Hardly. In recent months polls have shown an uptick in his standing with the American people. However, I have no doubt that future historians will rank Bush at the bottom of all US presidents.
So, Jeb, you win the prize for telling the Biggest Lie of the night. A real “whopper.” Your brother didn’t keep America safe. Men and women suffered and died fighting an ill-conceived, unjust war. At home his economic policies were a disaster for millions of hardworking men and women. But, I guess I have to give your brother credit for one thing … he seems like one happy guy in retirement. Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Footnote: the Bush administration was loaded with “Chicken hawks.” Their fearless leader … Dick Cheney. During the Vietnam war he was granted four deferments while 55,000 other men and women gave “their last full measure of devotion.” George W. escaped service in the rice paddies of Vietnam by joining the Air National Guard in Texas. And if the rumors are true he was often absent without leave. The Bush family has always marched to the beat of a different drummer. But, “facts” are stubborn things and the fact is … George W. Bush not only didn’t keep America “safe” he did his best to destroy the lives of millions of Americans both at home and aboard.
Finally, if you’ve read this far and still think George W. Bush was a great president who kept us “safe,” I have one last FACT for you to consider. In terms of population the United States is roughly 10 times larger than Iraq. It is widely accepted that 100-150,000 innocent Iraqi civilians were killed as a result of Bush’s advised, unjust war. Based on relative population 1 to 1.5 million Americans would have to be killed to “equal” the tragic loss of Iraqi men, woman and children. Bush was a disaster. He brought devastation overseas and financial ruin at home. I rest my case.