When Obama took office, he took over from one of the least popular presidents in US history, 22% George Bush, a liar who tortured and spied his way through an illegitimate war that we're still fighting, and next year's deployment will include soldiers who weren't even born when the war started.
Bush's crimes, high and low, were the subject of intense public interest and there was massive pressure on Obama to investigate and publish the details of the outgoing administration's misdeeds.
Obama's position was that "We need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards." He refused any attempt to prosecute the GWB squad for their myriad of sins. This set the stage for the rehabilitation of America's first wave of 21st century looters: from GWB himself (now known as Michelle Obama's BFF — a gentlemanly painter who is supposedly secretly part of the #resistance), the torturer who now runs the CIA, and now, Brett Kavanaugh: once GWB's White House Staff Secretary, whose memos and emails from that period were not investigated and published when Obama and the Dems owned the White House and Congress, and which were later suppressed by Trump during Kavanaugh's confirmation process.
Meanwhile, Bush's "resistance" consisted of repeatedly calling up swing senators to lobby for Kavanaugh's confirmation. I tell you what: I never cared about Obama "palling around with Bill Ayers" (indeed, that's a mark in his favor), but it's pretty gross that Michelle Obama is palling around with GW Bush. And now it's more than gross: it's contributed to a generation's worth of toxic, anti-woman, racist class warfare from a Supreme Court packed with plutocrats, rapists and enablers of plutocrats and rapists.
The Democratic establishment refused to contemplate any reckoning for the crimes of the Bush regime — crimes that are impossible to overstate, even though we've had ten years' worth of official forgetting — and this did not result in a civilizing of the discourse or a spirit of bipartisanship. It led to Donald Fucking Trump. Brett Fucking Kavanaugh. Gina Fucking Haspel. The tax-scam. Family separation. The Muslim ban. The attacks on voting, on the movement for Black lives, on women, on migrants, on poor people.
Here's why that matters. There's a good chance that Donald Trump is going to be out in 2020, and a Democrat will end up in his seat. If that Democrat follows the example of Obama and the Dem establishment, then Trump's planet-cooking program of looting and racism and misogyny and oligarchic fattening will go unpunished.
Trump's capos and dukes will lurk on the sidelines through the next Democratic administration, able to amass power thanks to a lack of official recognition of their crimes (against America, against humanity, against the Earth). Their programs of disenfranchisement, theft and brutality will never be named, never be reckoned with, and will thus never be extinguished.
We can't afford that. The world can't afford that. The next inauguration should be followed by another Nuremberg trial, not a street party.
Just by looking at the National Archives description of the records, it appears clear that Kavanaugh was involved in the planning of the Bush-era surveillance rules which led to warrantless wiretapping being codified into the American national security state. Further, Kavanaugh's alleged involvement in Bush-era judicial subterfuge by Republican hatchet man Manuel Miranda is still an open question, though Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied having any involvement in funneling the stolen information Miranda hacked from Senate Democrats in 2003 to the Bush administration. The Bush Justice Department declined to prosecute Miranda, and questions about Kavanaugh's level of cooperation will remain until at least the end of October.
Over the past decade, the political world has done everything possible to minimize and forget the crimes of the early to mid-2000s. The effect has been felt ever since. Members of the Bush administration and their hangers-on have spent their time working diligently to return to good standing in the social and professional worlds they once dominated in Washington and New York. Allowing them to reintegrate into elite society has had almost as catastrophic an effect on American politics as Donald Trump.
Obama's Resistance to Investigating the Bush Administration Allowed Brett Kavanaugh to Skate Onto the Supreme Court [Eoin Higgins/The Intercept]