Sunday, November 09, 2008

The soft bigotry of low expectations

Apparently the Bush White House is really transitioning the shit out of the place, at least judging from the number of reports like this:

It's also heartening to see how closely and amicably the current White House is working with the incoming one to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. In a moment of economic crisis at home--and continued threat of terrorism from abroad--chaos is something the country simply cannot afford as it hands power from one administration to the next. And here, President Bush deserves enormous credit.

Enormous credit? What interest does he have in making things worse for the Obama administration? I mean he's a Republican, but his political career is over for all sorts of reasons. He's off to fill his coffers, so if anything he has an interest in making sure the economic crisis isn't needlessly prolonged by a disoriented executive branch. I guess it would be fair play if they removed the "O" keys from all the keyboards or something, but I don't see Bush as deserving of special commendation for not encouraging that.

Still, I myself sometimes struggle to avoid giving Bush credit, to paraphrase Chris Rock, for not doing stuff that you're not supposed to do. You're not supposed to start unnecessary wars, so stopping at just one shouldn't garner much applause. But for so long it looked like the operating principle of the Bush administration was "Fuck everything up as much as you can" that now as it starts to wind down, really, really small demonstrations of sanity, competence, or concern for the public good seem like counterintuitive, man-bites-dog stories.

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