Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bush's Ghosts

Despite a consensus over his failed presidency, George W. Bush's enduring impact on American life is being marked this week by the slow-leak withdrawal from Baghdad and the end of a Supreme Court term in Washington dominated by his Chief Justice.

Behind headlines about the Obama White House's frenzy to resuscitate the economy from regulatory neglect, the Iraq war and Supreme Court makeover are reminders that eight years of Bush damage will take a long time to undo.

A New York Times analysis finds "a widening gap between the Democratic-led political branches and the Supreme Court" and that the court "appears poised to move to the right in the Obama era," noting that Bush's appointees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, voted the same way 92 percent of time, the highest rate for any pair of justices.

The coming gabble over the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to replace David Souter will obscure the hard fact that the Supreme Court will be little changed by her arrival.

Similarly, today's exit of American troops from Baghdad will be celebrated as a milestone but is more notable as evidence that President Obama's clear campaign promises have been muddied by the realities of ending a misbegotten war, leaving 130,000 American troops and who-knows-how-many security contractors in Iraq for who-knows-how-long.

Last November, Americans voted for Change, but the ghosts of Bush's presidency will be haunting them for years to come.

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