The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Thanks, George! A tribute

Jackie Mirandola Mullen | Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh, the days are getting longer. Because we passed the winter solstice, I mean. But they’re also getting shorter – or there are less of them. More specifically: less of them on Pennsylvania Avenue for our dear friend and leader of the free world, George W. Bush.As we sit at home and uncomfortably watch the President hold press conferences intended to shape his legacy, we reflect ourselves upon his administration, his steadfastness, his idiosyncrasies and his contributions to our nation. Where would we be without his determination to stick to his guns (pun intended), his heroic defiance of petty laws, his optimistic stance on the state of the environment and his disregard for the nonsensical rules of the English language. So, here’s to you, George: a tribute to the last eight years.To your concern about individuals. Who could have ever imagined a president so involved in the lives of people in America that he would authorize wire-tapping of their homes?To your financial legacy, and how thoroughly you have steered the government to mirror the financial situations of everyday Americans; having your party feign concern about spending when it comes to pocket change (think John McCain and the $300 million to study DNA of bears), while triumphantly ignoring any real compilation of debt. The National Debt climbed from less than $6 trillion (which it never topped during the ’90s), to its current $10.6 trillion during your time in office. Marvelous, how thoroughly the government’s mounting debt mirrors the same climb that the average American is experiencing!To your dedication to strengthening our international ties, or at least our inability to start a war with any major power, through this same national debt. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! How could we ever start a war with the mass-polluting, human-rights violating, censoring government of the Republic of China when we owe them $681.9 billion, 6.4 percent of our national debt and nearly one fourth of the 29 percent of our national debt that is owed to countries other than America?To your go-it-alone defiance. Who needs the UN? Who needs international treaties? We are America, and our strength knows no foreign dependence and has not since our first George’s Farewell Address. (Note to Reader: Please refrain from rereading the previous paragraph.)To your intolerance of excess. Why should we fund Medicare or Medicaid when we can fund people who are going to take that money and establish more funds? The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 might not have been popular, but it saved some of that pocket change instead of helping out people that aren’t making enough to contribute to your political campaigns.To your innovative stance on climate change, from withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol in 2001, to hushing top NASA scientists and other governmental agencies in their reports on increasing CO2 levels and the negative effects of climate change, to never attending a major environmental conference, despite substantial international pressure.To your dedication to energy independence, through allowing mountain-top removal mining strategies in the Appalachians that irreversibly destroy ecosystems and water supplies, allowing drilling in Alaska’s Anwar Province, or supporting legalizing offshore drilling in places that have already been tested and shown to lack cost-effective deposits.To your respect of the laws and Constitution of this nation, made apparent through your frequent use of the signing statement (161 in eight years in office). As the Chief Executive, you were more important than each individual congressperson and you certainly showed them they can’t tell you what to do!To your second-in-line executive, and his creativity in his approach to fulfilling his office. We’ll miss ol’ Dick and his innovation that worked outside of the trivial constraints of the Constitution – who’d have thought to strengthen checks and balances by simply creating a new branch of government? Genius! We’ll see if Joe Biden is able to step into Vice President Cheney’s large, muddy footprints.And most of all, to your consistently entertaining press conferences and speeches, be it your belief that human beings and fish can coexist peacefully, your boldness to ask whether our children is learning or your misinterpretation of the meaning of the word “accomplished.” Mr. President, history will certainly not misunderestimate your legacy.

Jackie Mirandola Mullen is a junior history and German major who is currently studying abroad in Innsbruck, Austria. Above all, she will miss Vice President Cheney’s smile. You can contact her at jmirando@nd.eduThe views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necesarily those of The Observer.