Democrats now have a 51/42 favorable view of George W. Bush, according to a recent poll from The Economist and YouGov.
The majority of the 1500 adult Democrats who were polled viewed Bush (POTUS 43, not to be mistaken with his father George H.W. Bush) as somewhat favorable or very favorable. This number is absolutely astounding in comparison to the Democratic bases’ opinion of him during his presidency, as only 6% of Democrats approved of how Bush was handling his position towards the very end of his term.
While this sudden increase in favorability may be heightened by time and distance, the primary cause of this shift could be due to Bush’s’ latest statements on the Trump presidency.
On October 19, Bush gave a speech in New York in opposition of Trumpism. Although the speech didn’t mention Trump specifically, the former president strongly alluded to the Trump administration’s policies.
“We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgetting the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” Bush said. “People of every race, religion, and ethnicity can be fully and equally American. It means that bigotry or white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.”
This speech was a major political event. It is rare to see former presidents, especially those of the same party, criticize the sitting president of the United States. In addition, the speech was undeniably true in its condemnation of the administration’s actions and in its sentiments on white supremacy in America.
However, Bush doesn’t deserve our praise. The spot-on statements throughout his speech were rendered moot when they came out of his mouth. Bush can’t offer any alternatives to Trumpism because he’s complicit in it.
It has been almost a decade since Bush was last in office and the world is still suffering the consequences of his actions as commander-in-chief. Bush killed one million Iraqis and is largely responsible for the US’s permanent residence in the Middle East, which has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands more Brown people. Racism is when a privileged, white man murders a million brown people and calls it “a job well done.”
Not only did the war wreak havoc on the lives of millions of Iraqis, it also was a waste of money and resources. Iraq did not retain the “weapons of mass destruction” the Bush administration had claimed. The administration knew it, but still declared war anyways, seeking a justification for their power grab for oil. This “illegal” war cost the US $6 trillion and cultivated the rise of ISIS. In the cities of Diyala and Anbar, the US decided to cut agricultural subsidies, a choice which would tear into the livelihoods of the farmers in the region. In 2006, a group of those affected formed the Islamic State of Iraq, which is now considered to be the “parent” of ISIS.
Also, Bush’s attack on Trump’s racism, though valid, was ironic considering his own statements on Muslims. On October 6, 2005, Bush gave a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy where he discussed the “murderous ideology of the Islamic radicals.” This rhetoric is identical to that pushed by the Trump administration and the Republican party.
Another prominent example of Bush’s disregard for the lives of people of color is Hurricane Katrina. The disaster primarily affected Black communities and the government took weeks to respond. Many pundits, community members and politicians have credited this to the widespread racism within the administration. Parallels can definitely be made to the Trump administration’s current sluggishness in aiding Puerto Rico.
Ultimately, Bush is no ally of the Democratic party and should not be praised for his compassion or empathy.
Source Image: AP Images