Failure of the Year 2005

George W. Bush.

It pains us to announce it but George W. Bush is Failure magazine’s “Failure of the Year” for 2005. It’s ironic that the President “wins” our annual award, because the founders of this publication really appreciate what Bush has done for us this year. No one has done more to raise failuremag.com’s profile than our President. Thanks to the Bush Administration’s unrelenting string of scandals and missteps, “failure” and failure-related topics are now some of the hottest search terms on the Web. So he’s not only Failure of the Year; unofficially, we consider him to be our Person of the Year.

This entire year has been an unmitigated disaster for the Bush Administration—and by extension a disaster for the American people. It’s more than just the fact that Bush’s White House biography is always the number one result in a Google search for “failure” or “miserable failure.” Or that searching for “failure” and clicking Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button leads to the same result. To be sure, Bush’s remaining supporters still bend over backwards trying to find positives amidst the doom and gloom. Most recently they have been touting the fact that there was a democratic election in Iraq earlier this month, but any named accomplishment seems to come with a long string of qualifiers, not to mention an exorbitant price tag.

Meanwhile, the list of Bush-related failures is long and growing every day. Consider the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the ongoing fallout from the Abu Ghraib/torture scandal, the CIA leak probe, Harriet Miers’ Supreme Court nomination, the President’s plan for Social Security, and the Tom DeLay scandal. More recently we have seen the implementation of Medicare’s hopelessly complex prescription drug plan, a dollars-for-positive press in Iraq scandal, the smackdown of the Patriot Act, and a ridiculous proposal designed to address America’s immigration problem, one that involves building a big wall, much like the one that surrounds the Green Zone in Baghdad. The President has even admitted authorizing a very un-American, and likely illegal, program that allows for spying on American citizens without a search warrant.

Of course, this list is only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s not forget about big picture problems like the skyrocketing national debt, the ever-increasing trade deficit, our high gasoline prices, the Administration’s failure to even acknowledge the problem of global warming, not to mention the fact that anti-U.S. sentiment is at an all-time high.

Meanwhile, the list of sub-failures concerning Iraq is too long to even begin to address in a single article. Many of the problems relate back to the fact that the Administration deliberately ignored advice to plan for post-war Iraq (which explains why the nebulous “Plan for Victory” came several years after “Mission Accomplished”). We’ll see where things “stand” in two years, but a stable democratic government in Iraq won’t be a part of the picture. We don’t even have that in America anymore. For every step Iraq takes toward democracy, the United States takes a step towards theocracy.

It’s worth noting, however, that Bush could have come through this year looking a lot worse. But a generally inattentive and attention-deficit prone American public—not to mention that the fact that most of the mainstream media is controlled by corporate America—saves him from further indignity. Moreover, there have been so many failures on his watch that media coverage of each individual mistake/scandal/embarrassment is almost always superficial and short-lived. Even if the media wanted to do its job, it would not be capable of focusing on six or eight or ten or twenty failures at a time. As a result, Bush gets off easy on each individual issue.

Unfortunately, the outlook for 2006 doesn’t look any better. The United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and all we have to show for it is an open-ended debacle—with no end in sight and no identifiable plan for winning the peace. Moreover, there’s little chance that Bush will ever recover his credibility. Some commentators have gone so far as to call him a prisoner in the White House. In fact, he can no longer appear in public unless his audience is pre-screened to insure that no one except his most devoted supporters get within shouting distance.

In closing we’d like to send a message to the President. The majority of the country may doubt you and your policies, but we still have a place in our hearts for you here at Failure. As long as you stubbornly insist on “staying the course”—a course that forces Americans to think about failure on a daily basis—we’ll still love you.