This story was written by Molly Green, The Pitt News
Have you ever had one of those days when nothing is going your way, and everyone is mad at you, and you realize all of your hard work was for nothing, and you caused the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression and possibly put the United States in an additional $700 billion of debt?
Dont feel too badly about it. President George W. Bush knows just how you feel.
In the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac government buyouts, the Merrill Lynch takeover and the rest of our collapsing stock market, Id say Bush is having a crappy month.
Take into consideration the Iraq War, No Child Left Behind, the utter failure of FEMA, controversial wire-tapping policies and Abu Ghraib, and Id say Bush is having a crappy presidency.
But it wasnt always this way. There was a time not long ago, its hard to believe, when our Dubya Bushie was still young(ish) and idealistic.
He had it all: wealth, prominence and the loving adoration of more than half his country.
How could it all have gone so wrong so fast?
Like Oedipus and Hamlet before him, Bush is a classic example of a tragic hero:
It all began back in the year 2000, the year of the dragon and an otherwise quite ordinary year. Vladimir Putin was elected president of Russia, Survivor premiered and the NASDAQ composite index had reached an all-time high of 5048.
It was an age of prosperity, but also an age of decadence. The American people were all too content to stay at home and cheer on Sue Hawk in her everlasting search for tapioca.
Then came Bush, the fun-loving, Yale-educated everyman governor from Texas. He entered the national political sphere with the wide-eyed earnestness of an idealist who thought he could make a difference.
Bush had plans to jilt the nation out of its complacency. He energized crowds at the 2000 Republican National Convention, advocating proactive policies and warning that times of plenty, like times of crisis, are tests of American character, and that, if elected, We will seize this moment of American promise. We will use these good times for great goals. We will confront the hard issues threats to our national security, threats to our health and retirement security before the challenges of our time become crises for our children. And we will extend the promise of prosperity to every forgotten corner of this country.
Bushs revitalizing ideas carried him all the way to the White House, where he began what would eventually become one of the most infamous presidential tenures of all time.
Within his first year of office, Bush was confronted with national catastrophe: the Sept. 11 hijackings, which, though tragic, served as the impetus to rally and reenergize our sleeping country and propel a top-priority war on terrorism. According to CBS News, in January of 2002, four months after the attack, Bush had record-high approval ratings of 82 percent.
But like all tragic heroes, Bush had a tragic flaw, a flaw that would send his golden empire and favorable approval ratings crumbling to pieces.
What was that tragic flaw, you may ask? Well, thats up for debate. Some say it was his overconfidence. Others, his inability to compromise, his impulsiveness or his Cheney. Still yet, there are those who argue that when Bush choked on that pretzel, it deprived just enough oxygen from his brain to kill what little intelligent brain activity he had left. The possibilities are endless. As for me, I think it was just sheer stupidity.
How else can you explain lying to 300 million Americans, not to mention the rest of the world, about weapons of mass destructin? Or his abandonment of millions of Katrina victims? Or the Geneva Convention-violating mistreatment of prisoners of war in Guantanamo Bay? The list goes on: wire tapping, waterboarding and more.
As things went from bad to worse, his approval ratings continued to fall. By April 2008, Bush recorded the lowest presidential approval rating in the history of the Gallup opinion poll, which was created more than 70 years ago, at just 28 percent, and many historians feel that Bush could go down as the worst president in the nations history.
In short, our once-idealistic hero has fallen from grace and screwed up the country along the way.
Now we await the final stage of the tragic heros journey: Bushs metaphorical death is coming soon, not soon enough frankly, but soon.
And then, finally, he will be replaced as president and can return home to his ranch in Texas, where I expect much pretzel binging will ensue.
Tragic, isnt it?