George W. Bush took office in 2001 with budget surpluses projected to stretch years into the future. But it's almost certain that when he returns to Texas next year, the president will leave behind a trail of deficits and debt that will sharply constrain his successor.
I keep returning to a thought that I think I'll have to spend some more time thinking about at some point. It occurs to me that the fundamental legacy of the entire Bush presidency -- which includes, of course, not simply Bush, but all the cronies and advisors and appointees -- is the near total obliteration of people's trust in government.
Plenty of people simply hate Bush, but I believe on a deeper level, many people have learned to believe, to steal a phrase, that their issue is with the game, not the player. The culmination of so many failures, failures of government, over the past 7 years strongly undermines the faith people have that government is capable of solving their problems.
And I begin to believe also that this was the point. That the architects of this administration had an overarching goal of systematically rendering foolish the very notion of the federal government itself.
In other words, all the bumbling and incompetence, the unchecked spending, the outright mendaciousness, the straining of our military resources to the brink, the engagement in failed diplomacy, the trashing of the economy and the erosion of civil liberties, was designed to paint a vivid picture of the inability of government to effectively manage the affairs of it's people.
Even saying all this pushes the limits of my own conspiracy theory skepticism... I'm not really that guy for the most part. Of course, this is nothing more than a vague impression, not a researched position, and certainly not supported by specific evidence. Still, while correlation doesn't necessary equal causation, it may still be worth investigating. I just can't help being struck by how all the terrible shit that's happened over the past 7 years points in this same direction.
Legacy of Deficits Will Constrain Bush's Successor