Movie stars are forever immortalized on the Silver Screen, musicians
through their recordings and athletes in the record books...but it is a
President, that wants to leave behind a legacy.
Considering that Lincoln's legacy will always be his courage in "freeing
the slaves", Roosevelt's on how he transformed a nation with "The New
Deal", and Kennedy's for being a restrained and precise decision maker
during the height of the "Cuban Missile Crisis"...one can certainly
understand why President Obama does not want a failed "sequester"
to be any part of his own story.
As President George W. Bush opens his Presidential Library, his legacy
is also beginning to emerge, as either the President who grabbed the
the bullhorn atop the rubble of a devastated nation, or the man who
grabbed our attention with enough bullsh#t, to take us to war with Iraq
under the most grievous of false pretenses.
Historians like to say that we are entitled to our own opinions but not
our own facts...but according to the new book and documentary "Hubris"
by Michael Isakoff and David Korn..it appears that the Bush Administration
also felt entitled to carry out their policies in spite of the facts and by
manipulating everyone else's opinion.
Time after time, "Hubris" portrays a pattern of reported information being
analyzed and discredited by the appropriate government agency, and then
the information being presented on national television by Administration
officials... as an indisputable reason for going to war.
All culminating in a speech by Colin Powell to the United Nations and the
world, that contained knowingly false information on the fact that Iraq had
obtained aluminum tubes and uranium to develop nuclear weapons, and had
the ability to launch them through a sophisticated mobile delivery system.
When in fact, Angry Birds was more of a threat to the crops in Farmville,
than Saddam Hussein was to the United States of America.
It just might be his legacy that all of his accusations were correct, he just
had the wrong country...as it is Iran that has proven to have pursued a
nuclear program and to have been a state sponsor of terrorism throughout
But this legacy of "false pretense" did not begin on September 11th...but
arguably was forged on the very day Mr. Bush was selected by the Supreme
Court instead of elected to be the 43rd President of the United States.
If your Presidency begins under a "cloud" or "false pretense", than maybe
that is a prognosticator of what your legacy is destined to become.
So, a President who wanted his legacy to be, "he kept America safe"...
will instead be defined by the fact he ignored a memo, warning of the
9/11attack, and as Commander in Chief suffered the most casualties
on American soil since Pearl Harbor.
A President who wanted his legacy to be that he protected American
freedoms, will be faced with the reality that he actually lessened them
through the Patriot Act and with the authorization of enhanced interrogation
techniques and torture.
A President who wanted his legacy to be "Mission Accomplished", was instead
forced to wait for the next President to bring the troops home and kill Osama
But his legacy would not be limited in scope to a wartime President overreaching
in defense of a nation.
This is the very same President whose legacy will be telling "Brownie" what a
good job he was doing during Hurricane Katrina, while overseeing the worst
government response to a natural disaster since "chads" started flooding out
from among Florida voting booths.
A President who will forever be known for losing 2.5 million jobs in his last 3
months in office, tax cuts and a prescription drug program that helped forfeit
a 5 trillion dollar budget surplus, and a "No Child Left Behind" educational program
that was only further behind an economy that wasn't just driven into a ditch, but
was on a "Journey to the Center of the Earth".
But what has proven so far to be his most lasting impression...his most enduring
flame that burns to this day...is that he was the original "Divider and not a Uniter".
Extreme partisan politics, red state - blue state - Fox News and and a right wing
radio, that came alive when Karl Rove started to wear his Monica Lewinsky blue dress
at every Washington DC halloween party,...became part of main stream culture under
the Bush Administration. So mainstream, that Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh are now
being accused by the "Tea Party" of not being conservative enough.
Today, in less than a period of 18 months, the sequester of across the board tax
cuts which was designed as a "Political Armageddon" that would force both sides to
the negotiating table rather than face the consequences of not reaching an agreement,
...is no longer an impossible alternative, but just another part of the legacy of a past
Presidency that believed in a United Political Party at the expense of a Divided Nation.
That is why it is important to remember that a "legacy" is not just a rearview look at
history... but a constant building block that lays a foundation for the future.
And that even though a President may be spoken about in terms of a "Legacy", we
are the ones, who ultimately will own it and have to live with its consequences.