A question I never thought I’d ask

No, I don’t miss President George W. Bush.

The Bush administration treated the U.S. Constitution like a piece of toilet paper.  It institutionalized preventive detention and torture.  It started the quagmire war in Iraq on false pretenses.  It ceded control of the U.S. economy to financial speculators, and operated the U.S. government in the interest of corporate lobbyists.

What I didn’t anticipate two years ago was how many times the practices of the Bush administration would used as examples of relative sanity and moderation.

Opponents of the current anti-Muslim hysteria point out that one of the first things President Bush did after the 9/11 attacks was to visit the Islamic Temple in Washington, D.C., to show that the “war on terror” was directed at terrorists and not at Moslems in general.  And defenders of Imam Abdul Feisal Rauf point out that the Bush administration used his services as a goodwill ambassador and adviser to the FBI.

Civil libertarians defend a court trial under the Constitution to Faisal Shahzed, the accused would-be Times Square bomber, on the grounds that a court trial was given Richard Reid, the would-be shoe bomber in 2001.

Civil rights advocates argue against getting over-excited about the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case by pointing out that the Bush administration regarded the matter as “small potatoes,” as Abigail Thernstrom, vice chair of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, says.

Advocates of immigration reform note that President Bush proposed an immigration reform bill that would have allowed illegal immigrants a means to earn their way to citizenship – a plan I don’t think is practical, but was well-intentioned and ahead of anything that his party would tolerate now.

These examples indicate that, from my perspective, the Bush administration was not all bad, but they also indicate how little things have changed for the better, from my perspective, under the Obama administration.

One advantage the Bush administration had was that its members were free to act sensibly, when they chose to do so, without calling down the wrath of Fox News and radical right talk radio.

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