Monday, December 08, 2008
Unveiling Bush's Legacy
"Welcome to my hanging."
So said popularity bottom-feeder President George W. Bush at the unveiling of his Union League of Philadelphia's portrait.
Continuing to entertain his receptive audience, he complimented the artist, Mark Carder, for his fine job and observed, "I was taken aback by how much gray paint you had to use."
He later remarked, "I'm especially proud to be co-recipient with a guy I call '41'... we owe our achievements to the same savvy political counselor and firm disciplinarian: Barbara."
After these witty and self-deprecating remarks The Decider made an unabashed grab for Abraham Lincoln's distinguished coattails.
The Union League presidential gallery displays portraits of every Republican president since Lincoln. Bush seized on "Abe's" controversial leadership legacy saying.... "the principles on which he stood have stood the test of time: All men are created equal under God, he said, unflinchingly throughout his presidency. Liberty was given to every man, woman and child on the face of the earth. He has taught Presidents that you must act on your principles and make tough decisions, regardless of the political consequences.
"I have been a..... I have drawn strength from his example. I have learned lessons by reading about Abraham Lincoln"
Too bad The Decider didn't live up to his own rhetoric or Abe's example.
An editorial in today's The New York Times, "Tortured Justice," paints a far different portrait than the one Bush wants us to see.... "The nation’s courts continue to grapple with the abuses committed by President Bush’s administration in the name of fighting terrorism. The extent of the damage to American liberties, and how lasting it will be, will be told in part by the outcome of two cases that are to be heard by the federal courts."
"On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case that turns on Mr. Bush’s claim that he can order people living in the United States to be detained by the military indefinitely without charges. The case involves Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar who was in the United States legally. He was declared an enemy combatant in mid-2003 and has been held in a Navy brig since then..... This intolerable reading of the law would leave a president free to suspend the rights of anyone, including American citizens."
The second case involves "a Syrian-born Canadian with no ties to terrorism who became a victim of the Bush team’s lawless policy of 'extraordinary rendition' — the outsourcing of interrogations to foreign governments known to torture prisoners.
"Mr. Arar’s ordeal began in 2002, when he was seized by federal agents as he tried to change planes on his way home to Canada from a family vacation. After being held incommunicado in solitary confinement and subjected to harsh interrogation without proper access to a lawyer, he was 'rendered' to Syria, where he was tortured. He was locked up for almost a year in a dank underground cell the size of a grave before he was finally let go."
The Union League Bush portrait depicts a benignly smiling man.... not the ruthless, law-breaking, Constitution-rending, outlaw president who destroyed the American ideal of equal justice for all. Hopefully when hanging The Decider, the Union League doesn't place his portrait anywhere near honest Abe's.