William Rivers Pitt writes in his last column of 2009 or his first of 2010:
It is not at all difficult to argue that if the broken election of 2000 had not taken place; if the right-leaning majority on the Supreme Court did not take rank partisanship to the highest and lowest levels by giving that election to their party's man instead of letting the votes be counted in the proper fashion; if Al Gore had been allowed to assume the office he rightly won, his administration would have continued to pursue the rigorous Clinton-era anti-terror policies that had successfully defeated those would-be millennium murderers. In other words, but for the sad and sorry electoral debacle at the outset of this decade, two tall towers would still stand in New York City, the Pentagon would be whole and there would be no hero's graveyard in that field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Three events - half a dozen terror attacks thwarted in the final year of Clinton's stewardship, followed by the ersatz ascendance of a brigand and his band of fools who came to power by way of a broad-daylight fraud that would make even Tammany Hall blush, followed by a day of horror that should have never been allowed to happen at all - came to define these last ten years. All that came to pass is aftermath, a deadly chain of events loosed by those three truths. For all his myriad flaws, President Clinton was the most significant anti-terror leader in American history, but the hard work of his administration was ignored by a bunch of Bible-beating absolutists who thought they knew better. Their failures - "failures" being used loosely, because a few special people got rich at our expense, and it's awfully hard to call that an accident - are our inheritance.
You know the rest all too well. Nearly 5,000 of the best soldiers America has to offer are dead. Almost 50,000 more are wounded, most of them permanently. Bush's wars have cut down a full third of America's combat strength, leaving us with fingers crossed that no other would-be foes decide to see if this punch-drunk champion can be taken down. Less important than the lives lost is the very present truth that hundreds of billions of dollars got spent to no good end, except to make a few people you'll never meet rich. The economic calamity still enveloping this nation should be called "The Iraq Depression," as it is a simple, bloody and absolute fact that we would all be better off in every measurable way had Bush not ignored Clinton's good work, had Bush not assumed an office he did not win and had this nation not been taken into the nightmare that defined these last ten years.
Amen. And may some good come of it; the possibility of a dawning awareness that there is good government and bad government, and when the people in government feel that the entire point to the job is not actually doing the job, that is a problem that makes any supposed economic or political philosophy beside the point.
The problem with the Bush years is that they were infested with people incapable of leading, unwilling to follow and absolutely incapable of getting out of the way.
But at least the majority of the American people now know what having sunshine blown up your ass feels like. Sadly, 26% of you prefer that sensation to any other.