Q&A: Don Siegelman

Don Siegelman, the former Democratic governor of Alabama, on how the Bush presidency showed that "prayers are more effective than bullets."

Mother Jones: Of all the things the Bush administration leaves behind, what's the hardest one to fix?

Don Siegelman: The hardest to fix is the pain, sorrow, and hurt that come from losing a loved one in the Bush wars.

MJ: And the easiest?

DS: The horrible international reputation that George W. Bush has given the United States.

MJ: What have been the president's most notable policy failures, foreign and domestic?

DS: The invasion of Iraq, be it to protect the US from bin Laden, weapons of mass destruction, or to establish democracy in Iraq, is by far the worst foreign policy failure. Bush's worst domestic failure? Well, let's see, there are so many: not educating our children, not providing health care for working families who can't afford it, willfully watching as our world melts away due to global warming, putting no effort into renewable energy and energy conservation, and the absence of an environmental policy to protect our natural heritage.

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MJ: Is the damage caused by any of these failures irreparable?

DS: No, it is not irreparable.

MJ: Which problem created by the administration most urgently needs addressing?

DS: The most urgent problem is ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

MJ: What lessons about leadership should the next president glean from the past eight years?

DS: The lessons from Bush's eight long years could start with this one: Prayers are more effective than bullets and a lot less costly than wars.

MJ: What are the dos and don'ts that the next president should have learned?

DS: Do give every child in America the chance to reach their God-given potential through education; don't spend their school money on wars. Do protect our democracy; don't allow your political adviser to be another Karl Rove and use the Department of Justice as a political tool to win elections. Do create a national energy policy that reduces our use of gas and oil; don't make yourself and your friends rich by selling out the American people to giant corporations. Do create national health insurance; don't think that everyone has the same health care or retirement benefits as the president.

MJ: What advice would you give the next president on how to go about undoing the deeds of the Bush administration?

DS: The best advice for the next president is do unto others as you would have them do to you, your family, and the American people.

MJ:What will the Bush administration's legacy be 50 years from now?

DS:The domestic neglect as a result of spending so much of our national treasury on war.