George W. Bush has been the most successful president of the US I can remember. He came to office with specific objectives, aiming to serve a tiny kleptocratic minority of US citizens, and he has done this with huge success. His role of the fool has been a skilful ruse to distract us from a ruthless and highly effective economic and political manoeuvre.
Let's consider the three sectors of the US economy whre the wealthy earn their money: banking, arms, and oil. We'll start with the most obvious: arms. When Bush came to power I would never have believed that the US, still suffering the hangover from Vietnam, would willingly engage in not one, but two lasting military commitments. The profiteering this enables for arms companies is clear. Major success number one for the Bush Presidency.
In the case of oil, the Bush administration worked closed via its networks in the industry to hold back policy to tackle climate change. And of course the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have both interrupted oil supplies, thus pushing up price and increasing the profits for Bush's cronies.
And now finance. What an extraordinary state of affairs that the the law-makers of the foremost democracy in the world can vote to extort $700bn. from middle-income Americans to bail out Bush's banking chums. As I understand it, this deal comes down to passing a bag of gold to Paulsen, who can then give it to financial institutions in return for worthless assets. There is no suggestion that the US public will take corresponding ownership or control in any of these banks, which are just going to enjoy a gargantuan free lunch.
Hats off to Dubya. While we laughed, he just single-mindedly achieved everything he came into office to do and more. This only proves that it isn't the spin that matters; it really is the substance.
Meanwhile we should not be so smug on this side of the Atlantic. With typical British deceit, the Bank of England is playing a similar game but without any discussion by democratic representatives. Behind the cover of the Mandelson gossip yesterday The Bank agreed to accept much weaker collateral (for which read worthless assets) at its credit window.