The amateur historians in the Bush camp have one message they want to push about Bush's tenure as president: He kept us safe.
They want us to ignore the tax cuts that destroyed the budget, the wars he lied us into, the relaxed regulations, hurricane Katrina, the enthusiastic implementation of torture at home and abroad, and the dying economy. They want us to ignore 9/11 and the cock-ups before 9/11.
He kept us safe.
The Great Mulligan - Esquire
Unlike Obama's tenure, there was no successful attack on the homeland after 9/11.
Thus do we confront what we can call The Great Mulligan, which is granted by the dimmer lights in the chandelier to the president and to the national security team — Hi, Condi! — who presided over the most massive intelligence failure in American history, and over the greatest loss of life to an enemy attack on American soil since everybody hugged it out at Appomattox. This has popped up from time to time in the years since it became obvious what a complete and utter failure the Bush presidency really was. Sorry we lied you into a war, but we kept you safe. Sorry we demolished American values, and just about every shred of American moral credibility in the world, but we kept you safe. Sorry we let New Orleans drown, but we kept you safe. Sorry we allowed the national economy to blow up, but we kept you safe. In fact, if you sent C-Plus Augustus into his own museum, and had him take that interactive quiz, and provided he didn't break a thumb trying to get a Diet Coke out of the exhibit, his answer to everything would be I kept you safe.
No. In fact, you didn't. Stop saying that before 3000 ghosts come to your room some night and pummel you with ectoplasmic bags of sheep dung.
The historical record is quite clear. Upon taking office, the Bush administration de-emphasized the Clinton team's almost-obsessive search for Osama bin Laden. That's why Richard Clarke got shoved aside. That's why John Ashcroft changed the FBI's focus from the pursuit of international terrorists to the pursuit of Tommy Chong. That's why presidential daily press briefings didn't get read while the president was clearing brush the month before the attacks. It's also why his briefer on the topic got himself told, "You covered your ass now." But that was nothing compared to the ass-covering that went on in the aftermath of the attacks — Really, now, Condi. A "historical document"? That's still hilarious. — as the members of the administration tried to prevaricate their way out of their abject failure to keep anyone safe. It was nine months of misfeasance in office, and inexcusable neglect of duty, that ended in the deaths of more than 3000 Americans.
And I am sorry. But you don't get a free one on these. You cannot argue that you kept us safe after your obvious negligence played a role in getting 3000 of us killed. We should laugh at anyone who tries to make this argument, and we should be angered that a presidential library puts together an exhibit of the all the cock-ups that followed the biggest cock-up of them all, and asks, arrogantly, the same question posed to generations of sportswriters by half-bright outfielders after they let one get by them to cost their team a ballgame.