Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The Bush legacy, in part
Fareed Zakaria, in the latest Newsweek says this:
"Even in the depths of the Iraq War, when much of the globe was enraged by George W. Bush's unilateralism, people everywhere believed that the United States had the world's most advanced economy and that its capital markets in particular were the most sophisticated and developed.
"American officials, businessmen and economists lectured far and wide on the need to copy the American system. That system is now seen across the world as a sham, a risky casino game in which the highly paid participants mismanaged risk and highly respected speculators cheered them on.
"I have traveled to Europe, Asia and the Middle East in these last three months and am writing this from Canada. The attitudes of officials and businessmen range from shock to rage at what they see in the United States."
While one might question the statement that people "everywhere" considered the U.S. economic system as God's gift to humanity or something like it, there is little doubt that Zakaria is right on with the "shock and rage" bit.
And this, too, is part of the Bush legacy: a disregard for the rule of law, a disregard for rules, generally, a financial free-for-all blessed by the Bush administration and its cronies, many, if not most of which, were tied like an umbilical cord to the financial industry.
Now we are left to clean up the mess while Bush clears scrub in Crawford and meditates on how he might resurrect his image already buried in the trash bin of history.
To do that, though, we have to move beyond "Yes, we can," to "Yes, we will."
That means the Obama administration will probably have to jettison its dream of bipartisanship, and tell the Republicans to take a hike in order to get the job done.