The end of the G. W. Bush era, if it was only that simple...
Considering the massive amount of fiscal corruption within the Bush executive branch there is much to be exposed, but it is the abuse of power corruption and the rewriting the Constitution to create a separate executive unaccountable to the other once seen as coequal branches of government that really requires such exposure and consequences IMHO. Otherwise not only do the people that did this get away with taking the US Constitution and legal structure and using it as vomit and excrement cleaner, it sets even worse precedents for further abuse down the road the next time the GOP comes back to power, just as it did post Nixon and the pardon, and again post Reagan and Bush the first with Iran Contra given that so many of the same players kept returning, with the future to worry about their understudies (aka the next generation of insane Straussians and other equally dangerous far right wing ideologues/"idealists" and religious zealots that got their training under this Administration) from this tenure under GWB.
Then there is the economic disaster that the Bushies created with not just their war spending and rampant allowing of profiteering by their cronies in the private sector but also with their moronic tax cut policies drying up revenues, finance free home ownership and talking up how many new homes were bought by people that could never afford them outside of the bubble in that market and the near nonexistent interest rates of the day, and causing massive borrowing (both domestic with the keep shopping admonitions and internationally to fuel their budgets) and their tendency to keep little minor things like war spending off book as much as possible which still has to be truly tallied up.
I mean Bushco doubled American debt in eight years and that from a surplus position when they came to power. That money had to come from somewhere, and when you are talking about the ballpark of 5 TRILLION DOLLARS of new debt (not including what dealing with this crisis is going to require Obama to spend through borrowing on top of that staggering amount) being absorbed by the global community that is money not available for spending elsewhere. The ripple effects here are just beginning to be felt, and while I am not convinced it is on a par with the Great Depression, it is most certainly the first economic crisis to come close enough to it for fair comparison and still has the possibility of getting to that level or worse depending on how the next year or two goes.
Politically, Bushco has done massive damage to the international reputation of America as a beacon of civil liberties (which granted was somewhat inflated prior to the Bush years but was still seen by many in the poorer parts of the world as a shining beacon of hope, not a small thing I would argue for helping people from reaching absolute desperation and the ills that come from such mindsets) , especially with its open endorsement of torture and extraordinary renditions to governments to torture for them a la Mahar Arar (which of course they took one last stab at via another travesty, Omar Khadr yesterday, as Dr Dawg and others took note of here). The damage done to the process of international relations and diplomacy is not inconsequential and I suspect that will also be a long time healing, both directly for America vis a vis the rest of the world and the impact on the global balance of power that inevitably brings along with it.
Then there is the damage to international security thanks to the Bush policies of torture, renditioning, preemptive war, and essentially blanket suspicion of Islamic peoples (despite all the mealymouthed comments about how it was only those that abused Islam). The impression the bulk of the planet was left with was a white Christian crusade against the dark infidel Muslim, especially after the rationale for invading Iraq collapsed beyond any resuscitation (except by ideological allies around the world of course, but then their capacity for self delusion is already well known) and ended up looking like nothing more than a crusade.
Then there is Afghanistan which WAS a legitimate target after 9/11/01 because of AQ being based there and the Taliban's reluctance to act swiftly enough against them and bin Laden. Yet that was never given anywhere near the American military resources to do the job, and much of what started there ended up being more prepositioning for Iraq in the end. Not to mention the total lack of serious infrastructure building there despite promises not to forget them again as happened after the USSR pulled out during the tail end of the Cold War. Nor for that matter America being the one attacked yet America then left her foreign allies to carry the bulk of that conflict and reconstruction costs to pursue the idiocy that was Iraq when it should have full well known they lacked the capacity in both military and civilian resources to manage that theater.
That not only strained the resources of the countries involved (including Canada's) but also did more than a little damage to the relationships between America and her traditional allies as a direct result on top of the damage done by the deceptions in claiming Iraq was a necessary war. The long term implications on security arrangements between traditional allies and alliances involved cannot be ignored nor understated as well. Not to mention also damaging the international reputation of many of those allies because of how Afghanistan was mismanaged and what the Americans made many of these other democracies a party to directly and indirectly while claiming to be the ones in charge, especially in the first few years.
I mean these are just a few major elements from the Bush years that will continue to have long lasting effects long after today has passed, and not even near a total list of such, just enough to make my point. GWB may now be no longer in a position to continue furthering the multiple disasters he and his minions have spawned both domestically and beyond, but their impacts will continue to ripple for a long time to come. Facing that I find it difficult to feel any real sense of hope and optimism with today's change, the most I can muster is a sense of relief that at least no further damage can be done by Bushco's abuses of American Presidential power.
While I would like to hope Obama is up to the task, he never impressed me all that much from the outset, and watching the way he won the primary really put me off on him overall. Too much symbolism and not enough substance. I would love to end up being proven wrong, but I can't shake the feeling he is the wrong person for this job at this time, all the symbolism of hope having an African American President symbolizes notwithstanding, and while he will clearly be a major step up from what we are losing today that does not mean he is truly up to the myriad of massive challenges facing America (and in all to many cases the rest of the world by extension) today left by the worst President in American history, let alone modern history.
Well, at least we all can have some basis for relief and hope that things will finally start to improve with the departure of Bush and the office of President not being retained by those with an active interest in covering things up and furthering many of these disastrous policies that would have occurred under a GOP victory by McCain. That in itself is worth no small thing, even if when compared to the overall situation it is still a small to almost minuscule value thanks to the unprecedented damages done by Bushco.
I know this sounds rather bleak and cynical of me, but it is what I see, and the one thing I try to do in everything I write about, be it here or commenting elsewhere is to call things as I see them, even when others disagree. I also would like to add that I hope this is not my last post for a while again, I am trying to be back on a regular basis, but I do have some medical issues still overhanging, and I have a procedure coming up at the beginning of the next month (nothing major, but given I have limited stamina and resources it may take a lot out of me nonetheless) so I can't promise anything.
My thanks to those that have wished me and my health well, and my gratitude to those that have let me know I was missed, to this day I find it hard to believe that my well known predilection for a long winded writing style is read and welcomed by as many people as I have seen it to be. In this day and age of short attention spans I sort of take it for granted that my style doesn't work well for the times I live in, but it is the only style I have. I write the way I think and speak for better or worse, and I will not change it to suit those that prefer short bites instead of the density that is my style. At least I am trying to limit my paragraph size to make reading me easier...:)