Kathleen Parker, who wrote in her April 30 column, “The Bush I knew,” that W was “a kind man with a gentle heart,” didn’t know the inarticulate right-wing ideologue I knew, who viewed our complex and nuanced world as one of extremes with no middle ground: only good vs. evil, right and wrong, friend and foe. He plunged America into two holy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Bush I knew led the Republican charge to defund the federal government by taking a projected 10-year $5 trillion budget surplus and converting it into budgets that bled red ink. His tax cuts added $3 trillion to the deficit, and his wars will add another $4 trillion. His administration reduced IRS enforcement even as uncollected taxes increased to $300 billion to $400 billion annually.
The extremist I knew declared war on science and the environment, wars the Republicans wage today, while simultaneously trying to establish an evangelical theocracy in violation of the First Amendment. He appointed evangelicals, not researchers, to scientific advisory councils while administration officials distorted science on government web sites so as not to offend fundamentalists. He reversed himself on his 2000 campaign pledge to regulate greenhouse gases and attempted to roll back 30 years of environmental regulation.
We are fortunate to have survived the tragedy that was George W. Bush’s presidency.