The Failed Legacy of George W. Bush

The incumbent will be leaving an array of problems for John McCain or Barack Obama.

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The Bush White House should be humiliated by the stack of problems it is leaving to the next administration to handle. But it doesn't seem to trouble the president or his inner circle.

The handoffs are significant at home and abroad:

1. The economy. No, the sagging numbers are not all Bush's fault, but he is in charge. He would be boasting if the numbers were stronger.

The housing industry is a shambles. The government may have to significantly aid the two lending giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

While you can argue whether the nation is in a recession or not, there is little good news. Job creation has slowed significantly and is not keeping up with growth. Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, acknowledges that people (read voters) are hurting.

Every section of the nation is dealing with escalating prices for gasoline, groceries, and the general cost of living. In Bush's Texas, however, there is a new boom going on with a resumption of oil drilling in some fields that were idle.

2. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The next administration, whether it is led by McCain or by Sen. Barack Obama, will have to keep troops in Iraq at some level for four years at least.

While the surge ordered by Bush has calmed the country to a large degree, Afghanistan is again a staging area for a resurging Taliban. Remember, we moved our focus from that devastated country far too early so that we could attack Iraq.

While some Republicans insist on talking up "victory" in Iraq, what happens when the troops leave? Sectarian war could resume with a shaky government left to deal with it and no U.S. troops for protection.

No amount of diplomacy will ever make the Sunni, the Shiites, and the Kurds embrace one another for long.

3. The environment. The Environmental Protection Agency has just thrown up its hands on action over global warming and greenhouse gases. Even though Bush now admits it is a problem, after years of denial, his EPA is willing to lob it off to McCain or Obama.

On January 20, the next president will have little opportunity for a honeymoon period. Such is the legacy of George W. Bush, assuring him a low place in the history of our country's leaders.