Maddow: Bush legacy 'defined by four massive failures'
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Tuesday September 23, 2008

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MSNBC's Rachel Maddow suggested on Monday that the continuing debate among historians about whether George W. Bush will find a place in the presidential failure hall of fame alongside Herbert Hoover and Warren G. Harding "is over."

"Barring yet another disaster of unimaginable scale, we now know that the presidency of George W. Bush will be defined by four massive, country-changing failures," stated Maddow .

She went on to cite 9/11, the "mendacious launch of the Iraq War," the drowning of New Orleans, and now an economic meltdown in which "we're borrowing $700 billion dollars, probably mostly from China, to stem off utter collapse."

"Eight years, four crises, each one awful enough on its own to brand any presidency an abject failure," Maddow quipped. "And we got them all done with just one guy. Bargain."

Maddow was then joined by Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, who told her, "These things are connected, with the exception of 9/11."

"It's judgment day for the conservative philosophy of governing," Frank asserted, pointing out that Bush isn't personally responsible for the housing bubble, "but conservatism is, with its idea of 'let the markets do what they want, the markets will always find equilibrium, the markets can self-regulate.'"

Frank blamed not only the current economic problems but also the missteps with Iraq and New Orleans on Bush's philosophy of privatization and outsourcing.

"This is a problem of letting people run government when they believe that government can't work and ought not work," Maddow suggested. "What I wonder is whether or not Democrats are going to get off the Reaganeseque conservative trip they've been on since Clinton and stop following the Republicans' lead on this."

"I certainly hope they are," laughed Frank.

Maddow then asked whether any of these issues have come up in the presidential campaign, and Frank responded, "They haven't got at them yet, but they're being forced to by the collapse on Wall Street."

"If somebody can tell me what a 'credit default swap' is we can start talking about how to go about regulating it," Frank complained. "We don't even know what they are."

This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast September 22, 2008.

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