I realize that on Inauguration Day, it’s de rigeur to marvel at the ease with which power is transferred from one administration to another, without gunfire or fisticuffs. And it is, indeed, a wonderful thing.
But there was nothing in the Bush administration’s exit to suggest any appreciation of or pride in the workings of American democracy. The governing philosophy of the past eight years has been to max out the credit cards, run up all the tabs, break open the cash registers and clear the shelves before the bills came due.
In the criminal sphere, it’s an old con called a “bust out,” and it’s usually practiced on businesses that are up for sale. Make a down payment, get access to the credit lines and gorfge on easy to dispose of merchandise before the down payment check bounces and the owner reclaims the business, which has been hollowed out by debt.
On those terms, why would Bush want to stick around? He’s had his way with us. Thanks to Osama bin Laden, he had an extra four years to do an extra-thorough job. Now he gets to swagger off into the sunset, and collect a fat pension check to boot.