A few days ago, ThinkProgress noted the top 43 individuals who helped President Bush shape the worst presidency in modern history. While there was much to deplore over the past eight years, there were also a few bright spots.
In the Bush era marked by deceit and deception, these were some of the individuals and groups — both inside and outside the government (ranked in no particular order) — who stood up to speak truth to power. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Let us know who you’re thankful for in the comments section.
Henry Waxman, for being deemed by Republicans as “the scariest man in Washington” for his dogged oversight activities.
Charles Swift, for daring to take on his government over the illegal military tribunal system and then, unfortunately, being passed over for promotion.
Richard Clarke, for speaking out about Bush’s pre-9/11 neglect of terrorism and post-9/11 attempt to link Iraq and al Qaeda.
The Dixie Chicks, for being rightfully “ashamed” of Bush in the lead-up to the Iraq war and then facing the blowback.
Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson, for speaking out about Bush’s false case for war in Iraq and then suffering the retribution.
New York Times and James Risen, for revealing Bush’s illegal warrantless wiretapping and aggravating Dick Cheney.
Judge Anna Taylor Diggs, for striking down Bush’s illegal warrantless wiretapping program as an unconstitutional infringement on the right to privacy and free speech.
Cindy Sheehan, for making a stand in Crawford in the summer of 2005.
The Netroots: Markos, Atrios, Josh Marshall, Arianna Huffington, FireDogLake, Crooks and Liars, Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, and so many our other blogging comrades in arms who helped forge the path of rational opposition to many of Bush’s failed policies.
Jamie Leigh Jones, first KBR victim of rape to come forward, prompting others to speak out.
Cp. Pat Tillman and his family, for service to the nation both in defending it and demanding accountability from it.
Jim Webb, for leading the charge for a 21st Century GI Bill.
The retired generals who called on Rumsfeld to resign.
Col. Morris Davis, for resigning his position as Chief Prosecutor at Gitmo after revealing the political interference from the Pentagon.
Matthew Alexander, for revealing the torture that was carried out against prisoners in Iraq.
James Hansen, for revealing the Bush administration’s attempts to censor science.
Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, for forging a path for successful progressive TV anchors.
Jack Goldsmith and James Comey, for standing up against their President’s attempts to manipulate the law.
Russ Feingold, for standing alone against the Patriot Act.
Knight-Ridder’s Warren Strobel and Jonthan Landay, who were among the minority of reporters who looked critically at the Bush administration’s case for war in Iraq.
The late Molly Ivins, for reminding us before she passed away: “We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders and we need to raise hell.”
And thank you of course to our readers, who have given us the strength over these past few years to do what we do.
Additions from our commenters: Howard Dean, Al Franken, Dennis Kucinich, Coleen Rowley, Joseph Darby, Gen. Eric Shinseki, progressive radio hosts, Chuck Hagel, Bunnatine Greenhouse, Michael Moore, Dana Priest and Anne Hull, Media Matters, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert.