After 13.5 years, there is more than enough evidence for reasonable people to conclude that the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama are easily the most destructive in U.S. history.
When historians speak of failed presidencies or weak presidencies, they are typically referring to presidencies characterized by uneven leadership, petty corruption by self-serving cronies or in extreme cases such as the Nixon presidency, abuses of executive power.
But weak or failed presidencies are not destructive to the rule of law and the foundations of the nation. The failed president leaves office and the basic structure of the nation continues: the rule of law, the balance of powers and a free-market economy.
A destructive president weakens or corrupts these core structures in favor of executive-branch powers, and passes these unconstitutional powers to the next executive for further expansion.
The Bush and Obama presidencies have effectively dismantled the rule of law and the Constitution by invoking essentially unlimited executive powers in the name of “national security:” we the citizens of the U.S. can now be accused of violating secret laws, be indicted in secret, tried in secret and sentenced to life in prison based on evidence fabricated in secret, i.e. declaring unclassified documents classified after the fact to incriminate and imprison whistleblowers.
How is this any different from totalitarian fascist regimes?
This is absolutely contrary to basic civil liberties defined by the Constitution. Who benefits from this destruction of fundamental civil liberties? (Always start by asking cui bono–to whose benefit?)
The Big Lie is that this destruction of the foundations of the rule of law and civil liberties is for our own good: if the President and the National Security State don’t grab all these powers and deprive you of your constitutional rights, bad guys will destroy the nation.
This is of course the same old tired justification used by dictators and despots everywhere, and it is always a lie. The truth that must be hidden is that this wholesale expansion of executive powers at the expense of civil liberties, democracy, the rule of law and the balance of powers benefits the executive branch.
Every abuse of the law is now declared legal by executive order. Anyone questioning the legality of extra-legal abuses of power is told “this is legal because it was authorized by the President.” In other words, executive power is now unquestioned and cannot be challenged.
For a variety of unsavory reasons, the Supreme Court has enabled this expansion of essentially unlimited executive power. Congress has also rubber-stamped it as part of The Global War on Terror (GWOT), the unlimited war that justifies unlimited executive powers, unlimited secrecy and unlimited expansion of the National Security State, the Deep State that is impervious to changes in electoral government.
Presidents Bush and Obama have directed this expansion of the National Security State because it greatly enhances the power of the Presidency. This is how we get a president who is delighted to discover that he’s good at killing people remotely with drone strikes….
No, they fronted for the expansion of the national security state because they were told to by the financial institutions that they serve.
Bush said the constitution was just a piece of paper. But so are all the executive orders he signed on behalf of his hidden masters. The question is whether the american people can distinguish a PR construct with the superficial appearance of a representative government from the real thing. It’s a no-brainer. The constitution is already written down in english on millions of pieces of paper and served this country pretty well for 2 centuries. It’s easy to spot a traitor: whoever wants to sweep it aside for any reason.