Skip to comments.W's Postscript: How Will History Regard Bush?
Posted on 11/06/2008 12:50:28 PM PST by meandog
It's tempting right now to say President Bush will go down as one of the worst presidents ever to dis-grace the White House. But is that fair, or even accurate?
Historian renderings of a legacy are often at odds with fluctuating public opinion polls that gauge the heat of the moment. Take Truman. The man had a 22 percent approval rating toward the end of his presidency--due in large part to a highly unpopular Korean War--yet he's among the most popular presidents in history.
I'm going to play the devil's advocate and argue that it is at least in the realm of possibility that history will not lambaste Bush as the fool he's so widely assumed to be. I'll do this because it's useful, because W's reign is nearly at end, and because it might be kinda fun.
Look at what he walked into: 9/11. A presidency in its infancy presided over the most devastating foreign attack on domestic soil in this country's history and suddenly became a war-time presidency. In the wake of the attacks, Bush enjoyed a 90 percent approval rating. An ABC News/Washington Post poll showed 62 percent of Americans cheerleading the invasion into Iraq. The Senate and the House both approved resolutions for the invasion with wide margins.
It proved a costly blunder. But besides the fact that occupations are costly and often doomed to failure, we have learned that the American people rode a wave of emotion into Baghdad, but had neither the tolerance nor the fortitude for the prolonged conflict it would require.
If nothing else, Bush has shown massive cajones in pushing through a hugely unpopular surge that's proven incredibly successful. Whether by blind luck or through the vigilance of the Homeland Security Administration and reorganized intelligence services, we haven't seen another terrorist attack even as they continue to erupt across the globe. In that regard, it's not a huge stretch to say he's not unlike Truman, who developed the NSA, CIA and Department of Defense.
So that's my devil's advocation. Will Bush remain the punchline in history-book perpetuity, or will our collective derision soften as hindsight brings into clearer focus the narrative of his dual-term presidency?
Pierce won a rapid rise in politics because of his father, NH Gov. Benjamin Pierce.
As president, Pierce mainly tried to appease Southern Democrats as a "uniter, not a divider."
Pierce's good looks and inoffensive personality caused him to make many friends, but as president he subsequently made decisions which were widely criticized and divisive in their effects, thus giving him the reputation as one of the worst presidents in U.S. history.
After his presidency, Pierce continued his lifelong struggle with alcoholism as his marriage to Jane Means Appleton Pierce fell apart. His reputation was destroyed during the American Civil War when he declared support for the Confederacy, and personal correspondence between Pierce and Confederate President Jefferson Davis was leaked to the press. He died in 1869 from cirrhosis.
Historians reflected the views of many historians when they wrote in The American President that Pierce was "a good man who didn't understand his own shortcomings.
He was genuinely religious, loved his wife and reshaped himself so that he could adapt to her ways and show her true affection. He was one of the most popular men in New Hampshire, polite and thoughtful, easy and good at the political game, charming and fine and handsome. However, he has been criticized as timid and unable to cope with a changing America." Pierce has been consistently ranked by scholars as one of the worst U.S. Presidents.
Bush's failure is that he could not finish the war that he started because he relied on a limited warfare strategy in both Afghanistan and Iraq due to his promise of keeping the tax cuts--there is a tried and true economic principle that you can have guns or butter but you cannot have both. IMO, his legacy will depend on the success of Iraq and Afghanistan. If Iraq becomes another Bahrain, amid a successful and thriving democracy and economy with tourist pouring in to sample the history of Babylon, then Bush's legacy will be restored. However, if Obama's pulling the rug out from under the fledgling country means that it sinks into anarchy with warlords ruling the various providences, Bush goes down with Pierce which is my belief.
As a pro-ILLEGAL alien RINO who destroyed the GOP and beget us Obama.
I think after 4 years of Obama we will look back on the Bush years fondly.
I think the Historians will show him in a favorable light. IMO
W will look good after Hussein Obama.
If the middle east has a couple of democracies in 10 years, GWB will be lauded as a great man. If the middle east is a mess in 10 years, he will be ignored.
Liberal Bla-Bla-Bla. Goodbye GWB and please stay away from cameras for at least two years. I believed in you on Iraq and you betrayed my trust. You expanded the fed gov beyond belief. You gave the country to Obama/Pelosi along with un presidented power and created a new desire for less freedom for security (wont last) But now we have a group of dems that will find out how that feels to be let down, big time. Good bye, I wont miss you. Go!
IMHO, he operated far more like the CEO of a large corporation than like the head of a country.
I think history will see GWB as a president who “Got It” when it comes to understanding radical islam and fighting the war on terror. That will be all.
In History? In history we will be all dead! Heh heh heh heh he...
That’s more than enough considering what Al Gore or Kerry might have done
Pretty well until he went treasonous with the “emergency bailout” October surprise. I know I need to forgive, but I am having a hard time with this one.
You really are sick you know ...you need proffessional help,
maybe you should take up drinking if you havent already
What could have been...
The bailout was not a good thing but I believe that in 50 yrs it will be just a footnote.
Personally, I don’t feel it’s any coincidence that four years of Bush, Sr., was followed by Clinton, and four years of Bush, Jr., has been followed by a Republican disaster and an impending Obama administration.
Rats demand public humiliation and personal destruction of GOP opponents, and too many pubbies are happy to oblige.
D.L. Moody once said, If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of me. You have done the former, now leave the rest up to your God - He vindicates His own in His time.
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