|May 15, 2008|
|It May Take 30 Years to Appreciate the "Greatness" of the Bush Administraton|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|While many say President Bush gives Fillmore, Buchanan and Hoover a run for their money as the worst ever commander-in-chief, America thirty years down the road may come to appreciate the greatness of Dubya.|
Ross Douthat, writing in The Atlantic, believes the people of 2038 may want to carve a likeness of Bush’s noggin onto Mount Rushmore. [An image of Bush standing before Mount Rushmore is artwork for his June column.]
Though Bush’s current 31 percent approval rating is his all-time low, Douthat believes the Administration’s Iraq policy may be vindicated if the place turns out to be “stable, democratic and at peace with its neighbors” thirty years from now. His point: “When things turn out in the long-run—and especially when we can claim the credit—Americans tend to forgive their leaders for the crimes and errors of the moment.” For instance, few remember Teddy Roosevelt's bloody occupation of the Philippines because "despite our crimes the Philippines turned out well enough in the long run."
This country also thinks highly of “activist” leaders, such as Bush who launched two wars and embarked upon a global war on terror.
Douthat notes the sometimes impressive, but "oft-erratic" Truman is rated more highly than the “even-keeled” Eisenhower. He wrote:
“John F. Kennedy is hailed for escaping the Cuban missile crisis, which his own misjudgments set in motion, while George H.W. Bush, who steered the U.S. through the fraught final moments of the Cold War with admirable caution, is caricatured as a ditherer who needed Margaret Thatcher around to keep him from going wobbly.”
The author concedes it is hard to remember that Bush was once popular even among liberals in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. He is leaving either Obama or McCain a “fragile truce in a wrecked, misgoverned country."
As the President prepares to return to Crawford, he can take solace that every tarnished Presidential reputation “eventually finds someone willing to defend it.” In other words, it may take 30 years for the U.S. to overlook the horror of the last five.
Douthat’s point is predicated on the belief that future Presidents will “stay the course” in Iraq. That 's a shaky position especially if Obama wins and Congressional Democrats are free to follow the will of the people and pass legislation to withdraw from Iraq without the threat of a veto.
If you agree with Douthat that the Bush White House years may one day be considered golden, you will love his new book, “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.” That's another tough sell.
(Photo: Corbis via The Atlantic)
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