The Resume of George W. Bush

A few weeks ago a family member sent me an email titled "John Kerry's Resume". It misrepresented Kerry on more than a few points and the mean-spirited tone seemed to get in the way of serious arguments but it got me wondering what a Bush resume would look like. I found a few "George W. Bush's Resume" versions online but they were filled with the same sort of distortions and inaccuracies, and seemed written for an audience of people who already dislike Bush and support Kerry. It annoys me when people who share my view make their case so poorly that it undermines our position. I thought I could do better.

As I wrote this I started realizing the problem with our current president. Rewarding excellence and limiting failure is a deeply held value in America, especially in conservative circles. It is essential that we recognize the competence of juniors and promote them. By promoting our smartest, most efficient, highest-skilled workers to positions of responsibility we don't just reward them: we reward ourselves as we benefit from the good decisions they make in their new position.

Bush is the antithesis of this story. From Yale to the Champagne Unit to Harvard to Arbusto to Spectrum 7 to Harken to Texas Rangers to Governor to President, his failure was rewarded with ever-greater responsibility as the sphere of those damaged by his incompetence continued to expand. And that's how we got where we are today: the entire world is paying the piper because nobody had the guts to pull the brakes on this man's train of unearned, undeserved privilege.

My target audience is Bush supporters for whom their choice of candidate is still a rational decision. As a former Bush supporter in 2000 I don't see how anyone can support this president's run for a second term. Even if you believe his goals are sound, his ability to achieve those goals and the means he chooses to achieve them remain highly questionable. I have avoided points such as drilling in ANWR or Bush's enthusiastic execution record as governor of Texas because I don't fault him for those reasons: points such as those have reasonable positions on either side. I'm sticking to points like exposing the secret identity of CIA agents as revenge for their spouses' public statements, or creating an agency to re-inject discredited intelligence reports back into circulation - points that, to me, seem beyond any rational defense.

It is quite likely that this is not the final version of this document. I consider myself a rational person, and I'm expecting to revise the document as new information becomes available. While I don't have time to get into extended one-on-one political arguments with strangers I welcome the sort of input and rational criticism that will clarify my misconceptions. I expect to add new points and remove weaker ones throughout Bush's remaining term: I've found his resume to be a useful crib sheet to remember details like the name of Bush's personal criminal defense attorney, or the vote tally for the Federal Marriage Amendment, and I'd like it to remain "live".

There are two versions of my version of the Bush Resume online: one for reading online and one for printing. Their formatting is different but they are otherwise identical. I hope you find this useful in making your choice for president this year.

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