Almost as much as the sight of seeing Barack Obama inaugurated president, the sight of George W. Bush leaving for Texas brings me not so much joy as a profound sense of relief.
I haven't felt this good since sometime before Dec. 12, 2000.
A lot of right-wing talking heads (see esp. BillO the Clown) have been dismissing Bush's longtime critics as mere "Bush haters" who saw him as illegitimate from the get-go and never gave him a chance. And it's true that many of us were motivated to defeat him from the day he took office in no small part because of the way he took office -- without even a popular plurality, foisted upon the public by probably the most dubious ruling in Supreme Court history.
It wasn't simply, however, that he was illegitimate; it was something much bigger than that. It was that he was the leader of a gang of political thugs who had stolen democracy from us. From a rotten tree springs rotten fruit; most of us could see well down the pike that the kind of governance the Bush intended would drive the country to the brink of ruin.
Of course, we weren't the only ones:
I remember trying to begin a series at my blog Orcinus back in late 2003 titled "Manifestly Unfit: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush," which opened with the transcript from this skit. I only wrote one more installment before I realized that documenting and detailing Bush's failures was a task beyond my abilities back then.
After all, there was a hardly a day that went by in Bush's tenure without some fresh outrage -- some fresh lie, some scurrilous appointment, some destruction of the public good. It was relentless. After awhile, we all developed Outrage Fatigue.
I mean, how many of you remember Enron? That scandal in itself should have been enough to reveal his malfeasance to the public for good. But it was swept away in a tide of other monumental failures -- not the least being 9/11.
Adieu, George W. Bush. And not a nanosecond too soon. Because today, it feels like we got our democracy back.