Monday, January 19, 2009

The end of the Bush years
There is no way to say now whether George W. Bush was a good president, bad president.

I am confident that some historians will conclude that his presidency was neither disaster nor complete triumph. And, as I have in the previous eight years, I'm sure I will defend Bush against the most ridiculous of criticisms.

Bush neither destroyed our civil rights (as the revered FDR and Abraham Lincoln came the closest to) or brought our country great shame (I'm sure a lot of you will disagree; I don't care). He wasn't impeached, like the last guy in office. He didn't neglect humanity (I'd love one of these bashing columns to use the word "Africa" just once).

Some are sure he lied about the Iraq War. Some think he loves torture. Some think he is racist.

Most of all, people think he's dumb.

He's not. Two-term presidents generally know something. Conan O'Brien and Dave Letterman can crack all the jokes they want. Bush isn't the one who seems to think it'll be 80 degrees in January next year in the north (step outside, Letterman). He also isn't so desperate for material that the only other people he makes jokes about are B-list celebrities (wow Conan, making fun of Paris Hilton again. EDGY.).

Of all the criticisms about Bush, there is one in particular that is true -- he's not popular.

One of the things I have liked about Bush since his first day in office is how little stock he has put in popularity.

I hope President Obama shares that trait. I think a president must be concerned with the job, not renting out the Lincoln bedroom to donors.

In these times, I can say Bush was not a great president. He was too slow to act when Iraq was deteriorating, and too passive during Hurricane Katrina. Those are the two black marks on his legacy, and they will remain.

But I'm not sorry I voted for him twice. Christopher Hitchens writes on that topic.

As for President Obama, I will hope and pray he does a good job. Now's not the time to be petty. He's in office, and he needs support.

MSNBC and CNN and the AP will sure do their parts. I'll do my best to do mine.



At 12:36 PM , Blogger Vince said...

Dubya may not be stupid, but he certainly valued loyalty above talent (Harriet Miers? Seriously?).
However, he will be regarded as a failure for this reason above all others:
On Sept. 12, 2001, the headline of Le Monde in Paris was "We Are All Americans!" He had the will of the world behind him, and the highest approval ratings in American history.
He could have done anything. He could have gone down as the greatest president in American history.
However, he embarked on a disastrous war in Iraq, invading a sovereign nation and deposing a dictator. At best, he won the war and lost the peace.
And his domestic policies seem to reflect a war on the middle class, from making bankruptcy protection harder to get to allowing oil companies to determine energy policy at the expense of renewable fuels.


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