With his announcement on Monday that he will not seek a fourth term as governor of Texas, Rick Perry signaled an end to 20 consecutive years of rule by two of the most frightful politicians of my lifetime: George W. Bush, who served as governor from Jan. 17, 1995 until he resigned in December 2000 to get ready to be president, and Perry, who succeeded Bush and will finish his third full term in 18 months. Obviously Texans must like these guys, and they’re welcome to them. It’s when they go national that bad things really start to happen. Bush, who was first elected president by a one-vote majority of the Supreme Court – and, Jeffrey Toobin told NPR’s Terry Gross, Sandra Day O’Connor now regrets the vote she cast that December day – spent the next eight years destroying pretty much everything he could get his hands on. He had just returned to Washington from the longest vacation in presidential history when the World Trade Towers went up in flames, and he responded by launching not one, but two, disastrous wars, which together produced 57,000 American casualties (and more than 130,000 civilian deaths), sent the federal deficit into orbit, poisoned the country’s relations with most of the world, created the country’s first private mercenaries since Allan Pinkerton, and sanctioned torture as a legitimate policy of the United States. Perry, whose 2012 presidential candidacy went from front-runner to embarrassment to history in barely five months, thanks largely to his stunning ineptitude, appears poised (sic) to try again. God save us.