Friday, November 13, 2015

The end of the great mulligan

In a lot of ways the Trump presidential campaign has made the country worse. But one clear way that it has made this a better place is that it has finally ended the popularity of the idea that George W. Bush "kept America safe."

The idea that the Bush Administration was competent at protecting the U.S. from terrorism could not hold up to any actual scrutiny, especially not once the public was able to have some perspective away from the emotional fallout of the 9/11 attacks and the shameless propaganda the Bush Administration followed it with. But the danger was that the public at large wouldn't give it any scrutiny. W's bullshit claims would remained lodged in Americans' heads just because they wouldn't ever get around to thinking about it too much. In his attacks on Jeb!, Trump has put a spotlight right back on that crazy time, and how the early W administration simply ignored the growing warnings coming out of U.S. intelligence agencies.

Ironically, one of the ways that the Bush Administration deflected blame for the 9/11 attack was by blaming intelligence agencies for missing the warning signs, the very same signs those agencies were warning the administration about. That missed intelligence theory led to calls to reorganize the security systems of the U.S., which led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. That department owes its very existence to a political campaign to avoid saddling the president with the blame he deserves.