The year 2003 was the most significant milestone in Twenty-First Century world history. The United States, under the highly controversial presidency of George W. Bush, assumed a unilateral stance for international relations which led to the unjustified attack on Iraq in March of that year.
The invasion was deliberately set before Bush’s ascension by a little known group called “Project for a New American Century” (PNAC) for which most members of the incoming administration were charter members in 1997. Hence, because of PNAC’s predisposition, U.S. intelligence was “fixed” around the policy to invade [months prior to September 11, 2001], deliberate fabrications were presented to the U.S. Congress and public, and the regime’s propaganda minister, Karl Rove, worked over-time to sell the war. The phrase, “A smoking gun may come in the form of a mushroom cloud” is Rove’s, which was the most significant driver into fabricated war.
This above all else damaged the American image, not singularly the unwise military quagmire over the course of nearly a decade that culminated in the loss of 4,000 American forces; nor of the loss of one million Iraqis; nor of the terrorist war of attrition that escalated in the Muslim World against American citizens and interests both domestic and foreign; but the indisputable loss of prestige in the world community which inevitably contributed to America's economic decline.
The policies of the George W. Bush regime, of course, played a pivotal role that accelerated decline. Deregulation, massive tax-cuts for the wealthy, no-bid contracts for corporate cronies, and other incidents of blatant corruption were trademarks of the Bush regime, and due to the aftermath of 9/11, the opposition was reluctant to challenge by assuming its proper oversight role.
Of all factors, what was the principal source of America's slide?
The year 2003 may have seen the first identifiable manifest incompetency, but the selection of US president G.W. Bush in December 2000 by the U.S. Supreme Court was nearly the beginning of the end for the Republic – as GOP power brokers secretly lobbied Republican justices. The Florida ballot re-count turned into fiasco, tainted by conflicts of interest and under-the-table dealings between political operatives involved in the brother's state. The sibling, Governor Jeb Bush, declined to recuse his Secretary of State from key positions of vote tabulations.
Succeeding Bush, President Barack Obama attempted massive recovery projects to revive the economy soon after being sworn in January 20, 2009, whereupon Republicans used 100% of their weakened power to sabotage those efforts. The nation’s best interests were laid aside as members of the GOP and their allies from right-wing radio and FOX focused on regaining power at any cost. Their prime objective was stated to be “to make Barack Obama a one-term president,” which required them to put brakes on the economy via filibusters and congressional block maneuvers.
Unfortunately, Republicans succeeded at destroying practical health-care reform, universal coverage, economic stimulus programs, and re-writing the tax code. Tactics used in prior decades were employed: political character assassination, marginalization, inflaming the right-wing base, and focusing on wedge issues (gay rights, guns, God and abortion). All the while, Democratic congressional leaders lacked the determination to overcome Republican obstruction
The right-wing in America was prepared to obstruct at any cost – blaming the Obama Administration for every ill actually instigated by the predecessor. Impeachment was foremost on the minds of congressional Republicans going into 2013. They refused to accept the 2012 re-election of Obama and were determined to remove him at any cost. Under the radar, the right-wing was also encouraging assassination.
“The Party of No” continued to vilify Democrats. Attempts were made repeatedly on Obama’s life and his wife. History affirms it would have made no difference which Democrat was in the White House; any choice would have been targeted in similar fashion.
In 2016 the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama welcomed Puerto Rico as the 51st state after its citizens voted in 2012 for statehood. Republicans strongly opposed Puerto Rican statehood because of its political leanings, same as DC congressional seating. In 2016, Affordable Healthcare Act was amended to include the long-sought single-payer provision.
In 2016 Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island was elected the 45th President of the United States. The country had not fully recovered from the Bush Great Recession but was well on its way. The healing process took longer than expected, in part due to effective Republican blockage.
By the year 2017 the effects of climate change was experienced by all. No longer was it a subject for debate but for urgent global action. U.S. and Japanese auto manufacturers re-tooled their plants for new autos fueled by processed hydrogen from water, and alternate energy sources for electricity replaced coal.
The rightwing had long hoped to inflame a revolution to regain power, but events and evolving demographics dashed that dream. America was in Full Renaissance in 2020, no thanks to the “Party of No.”