As George Bush, not known for his verbal or mental acuity, flies off into the Texas sunset—he leaves us with this little jewel to contemplate: " Now is not the time to water down standards or roll back accountability."
He was referring to his No Child Left Behind law—but if President Obama and democrats in congress are serious about repairing the damage that the Bush administration has done to this country, they should take his advice and apply it to the Bush "legacy."
Start by upholding the clear "standard" that we are a country of laws and no one is above the law, including the President of the United States. George Bush was in direct violation of the law when he authorized warrantless wiretapping and electronic surveillance of thousands of Americans and enlisted the help of private telecom giants to facilitate the illegal acts. U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor declared Bush’s domestic spying program unconstitutional and violates the Administrative Procedures Act, the doctrine of separation of powers and the First and Fourth amendments to the Constitution.
Then, uphold the American "standards" embodied in The War Crimes Act of 1996, which makes it a felony to violate the Geneva Conventions. Here, again, Bush elevated himself above the law by declaring that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to his "war" on terrorism and signed off on torture techniques lifted from the Chinese "training" manuals used by North Korea on captured Americans.
And what about upholding the "standards" that apply to the abuse of power? Bush declared that he had the power to detain and imprison anyone, including American citizens, indefinitely—while denying them legal council or contact with the outside world.
It would seem that the role of accountability is not in the lexicon of the buzz that emanates from democrats in congress or the Obama administration as they undertake their role as keeper of our "standards".
Richard Nixon resigned when his impeachment was imminent and left us no model for dealing with lawless presidential administrations. Indeed his final words on his behavior were that if the President breaks the law "that means it is not illegal!" Apparently, that is the only thing we have learned from Watergate.