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Insanity: The GOP Is Selling 'I Miss W.' T-Shirts

In its latest fundraising program, the GOP is selling "I Miss W." t-shirts.
In its latest fundraising program, the GOP is selling "I Miss W." t-shirts. GOP.com

In his eight years, two wars started. The economy crumbled. Unemployment doubled. But somehow, some way, some Republicans are now claiming they miss the man responsible for these tragedies. And they want you to wear a t-shirt that says you miss George W. Bush, too.

Yes, the Republican National Committee is selling t-shirts that carry the bold message of “I Miss W.”

In a July 12 email promoting the item, RNC Finance Director Katie Walsh says:

I knew that George W. Bush was a man of his word who actually had a vision and a plan for America’s strength and security.

Today, I miss President George W. Bush. And I miss having a leader in the White House who actually promoted my values and protected my freedoms.

That’s why I’m excited about the t-shirt the RNC just created in honor of W.’s leadership.

But if Bush had “a vision and a plan,” he apparently never bothered to incorporate them. Or maybe he needed new prescription eyeglasses, because the state of the nation on his last day as president was not even close to the prosperity America enjoyed on his first.

Consider the changes in employment and the economy overall. Unemployment was at 3.9 percent in January 2001, but doubled to 7.8 percent come January 2009, with 2.6 million jobs lost in Bush’s last year alone. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 20 percent less. The Consumer Confidence Index fell from a 2000 score of 128.6 to an all-time low of 38 for ‘08. Median household income was less than the average from eight years before. And even though Americans had less money to spend, the cost of gasoline more than doubled, rising from an annual average price of $1.56 per gallon in 2000 to $3.46 for 2008. Only 7 percent of the population approved of the economy on Bush’s last days, too.

A historic comparison of public surveys by Pew Research Center found that 55 percent of Americans were satisfied with the current state of the union right before Bush was first inaugurated; only 13 percent were satisfied eight years later. On his last days in office, only 24 percent of the U.S. population said they approved of his performance, and a mere 11 percent thought he would be remembered with any positivity.

Add in the 4,222 Americans who were killed in Iraq, where the U.S. had no basis to be in the first place, and both historians and the general public rank him as one of the worst presidents in the history of the United States.

So what, exactly, are Katie Walsh’s values, which she says Bush promoted? Where are these “freedoms” she says he protected, but which we know he only violated when he signed the Patriot Act in his first year? And what was the “strength” and “security” of a nation that was only step shy of economic depression, and that had become frequent target for terrorists after its engagement in a war that was both unfounded and unfunded?

Somehow, the Republican Party thinks this promotion will help its candidates this election year. The t-shirt’s order page on GOP.com reads:

By sporting this comfortable, classic, American-made tee, you can share our message and help us elect principled conservative leaders to office.

Walsh’s email says funds raised from shirt sales can “help Republicans win the White House in 2016,” too.

But it seems like the GOP needs to come up with a new fundraising project. Who in their right mind would spend $27 to purchase such a shirt? And who would be brave enough to wear it in public?

It’s been five and a half years since Bush left the White House, and the U.S. has made dramatic, across-the-board improvements in that time period, too. But it’s still much too soon for the GOP to assume that anyone’s forgotten the messes Bush created, though. And it’s outright stupid for them to think this type of promo will help them get the office back in 2016.