Stumbled across this. That smirk, the idiot expression on that idiot face -- God, has it been only seven years of this fuckup? It seems like forever. If you compare the America of 1992 with the America of 2000, they were essentially identical. DVD movies were replacing VHS movies, more people had cell phones, but those were the types of things that changed: the country itself was pretty much the same it had always been, with the same value system, the same expectations. The sorts of changes we saw from when Clinton took office to when he left were like new clothes being put on the same dressmaker's dummy. Compare the world of today with the world of 2000, though, and while you can still see it's the same dummy, it's starting to look a little bit worn and haggard. Well, a lot worn and haggard. OK, fuck it: it looks deformed, like it's been through a fire and someone pissed on it to douse the flames.
It's tempting to blame it all on 9/11, and that had a lot to do with it, but it's also tempting -- more than tempting, it's required -- to blame it on Bush. A more capable person in office would have resisted the calls from the insane right to invade Iraq, wouldn't have over-reacted to the threat of terrorism by trying to break down our democratic institutions, wouldn't have tried to politicize the government: in short, wouldn't have behaved like Bush. It's a little lesson on the value of competent leadership, although I don't have much confidence that lesson will be learned and then retained all that well.