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Bush deserves the criticism he's getting

George W. BushMortgagesFreddie MacMichele BachmannSarah PalinPetroleum Industry

When I read Stanley J. Glinka's recent letter defending the presidency of George W. Bush I wanted to laugh, but it was 6 a.m. and I did not want to wake up my still sleeping wife ("Stop blaming Bush," May 1).

Now I know how people like Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin get elected to public office — they just play to the Know-Nothings out there who are eager to elect people just like them.

You may think that is a nasty comment, but if the kind of revisionist thinking expressed in Mr. Glinka's letter is widespread in this country — and I am afraid it is — we are in trouble as a nation.

Have Mr. Glinka and I been living in two different worlds for the past decades? Sure the Democrats and Republicans share blame for going too far during the era of deregulation. But the entire eight years of the Bush administration was a time of "spend and don't tax the rich."

A major war undertaken for questionable reasons while another was neglected. Major spending programs undertaken that blew a hole in the federal budget. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did their profligate work under both Democrats and Republicans, while Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told everybody not to worry.

I guess the politicians held a gun to the head CountryWide mortgage company, whose founder emailed top managers that even he was surprised by the risky mortgages and practices his company was taking on during the housing bubble. I don't recall that President Bush being a voice of alarm then, as Mr. Glinka states.

Except for the wealthy who benefited from his policies, the defense and oil industries and self-righteous social conservatives, Mr. Bush's presidency was a failure.

The thinking in Mr. Glinka's letter perhaps explains why we spend more money on health care than any other country and yet have poorer health outcomes. Why out educational system lags those of other industrial countries. Why we have a national infrastructure that is falling apart and so many poor people at a time of rising income inequality.

It is a dismal story for hundreds of millions of Americans and Mr. Bush made it worse, not better. He deserves every bit of the criticism directed against him.

Joseph Costa, Baltimore

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