It's 2006 and we have two and a half years left of George Bush's catastrophic presidency - catastrophic because of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and Bush's reactions to these events.
In five years, Bush's achievements include: ignoring global warming; the Iraq War; tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; an exploding national debt due to making war and reducing taxes; his attempt to privatize Social Security; his incompetent response to Hurricane Katrina, balancing relief costs by taking money away from poor and elderly Americans; the bewildering new Medicare prescription plan which, according to the New England Medical Journal, has deceived 42 million recipients with regulations they can't understand and which some states are now paying for to prevent people from dying or having psychotic breakdowns when they can't get their meds; the corruption personified by no-bid Halliburton contracts and Bush backers Ken Lay, Tom Delay, Jack Abramoff and Scooter Libby. Though Republican pundits say Abramoff's lobbying bribes were to everyone and are uncharacteristically generous in sharing blame with Democrats, the evidence says this one is, overwhelmingly, a Republican scandal.
Congressional Republicans and Democrats will make noise about fixing the system and make some petty adjustments that won't eliminate graft. Few who want to be elected will risk trying to prevent private money from financing political campaigns, thereby continuing an anti-democratic, legalized form of bribery that sells our representatives to the highest bidder in the name of freedom.
Now, George, Condi and Dick are getting tough with Iran. Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter thinks Bush is resurrecting the weapons of mass destruction argument for regime change in Iran. One problem is money. Another is we don't have the troops to win a war with Iran since we're still entangled in Iraq. A third is that by misleading us into Iraq, Bush may have a hard time getting even this Congress to rubber-stamp another invasion. In James Risen's new book "State of War: the Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," senior CIA officials had concluded that "the quality of the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction didn't really matter," since war with Iraq was inevitable. However, these realities will not dissuade the Bushites, who don't let reality trump ideology, from blithely misleading us into World War III.
Can the world afford two and a half more years of this?