Bush brought an unprecedented level of systematic dishonesty to American political life, and we may never recover.
Think about his two main “achievements”, if you want to call them that: the tax cuts and the Iraq war, both of which continue to cast long shadows over our nation’s destiny. The key thing to remember is that both were sold with lies. ... Basically, every time the Bushies came out with a report, you knew that it was going to involve some kind of fraud, and the only question was which kind and where.
And no, this wasn’t standard practice before. ... There was a time when Americans expected their leaders to be more or less truthful. Nobody expected them to be saints, but we thought we could trust them not to lie about fundamental matters. That time is now behind us — and it was Bush who did it.
Mark Thoma chimes in:
The media also echoed the Bush talking points on tax cuts and the war without giving them the scrutiny and skeptical eye they deserved (I got so tired of hearing the false claim that the Bush tax cuts would pay for themselves). There has been an admission that, well, maybe a few mistakes were made, but has the media learned its lesson? The ability of Republicans to use the same tactics in recent political debates suggests the answer is no.The reality, as Peter Hart, noted over at FAIR is that George W. Bush Is a Swell Guy, Just Ask His Friends
It was refreshing to see that Justice O'Connor now regrets her role in the quiet coup of 2000. But for the millions of lives destroyed and the billions of dollars wasted destroying things these Mea culpa's amount to too little too late.
As the Political Philosopher Sheldon Wolin noted in the midst of Bush's reign, A Kind of Fascism Is Replacing Our Democracy.
In terms of the media and political process it appears, as Krugman and Thoma note, that we haven't learned anything from that decade of destruction built on lies and we shall be destined to repeat it unless we get our act together.