Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Few Final Bush Thoughts

Well, Obama is the President. Bush is on his way back to Texas. Most breathe a sigh of relief. I'm glad it's over but I wonder what the final verdict on W. will be.

Bush's "dram of eale" was an utter lack of subtlety. He was incapable of understanding that words and attitudes matter, even when one is doing the right thing. He was incapable of persuasion, which it turn led to, well, let's be charitable and just call it high-handedness.

From this character flaw flow all of Bush's mistakes: Objectively, the Israelis and Palestinians hate each other and aren't prepared to make peace, so why bother with diplomacy? North Korea, Iraq, and Iran truly are evil, so why mince words? France, Germany, and Russia oppose our invasion of Iraq, so we will run roughshod over them--why compromise? Though the State of Louisiana failed in its duties to New Orleans, FEMA pretty much did its job--why should it take up the slack for the State's failure? The list goes on and on.

Bush couldn't understand the value of diplomacy, so he ignored it. Bush couldn't understand the necessity of compromise, so his legislative agenda was largely unsuccessful. Bush couldn't argue well, so he was remarkably intolerant of dissent.

All in all, a very bad trait for a President.

We'll see how he's remembered. He was certainly a good man, and he had a huge amount of courage. He did a fine job keeping the war off of American soil. Ironically, he may have been so successful that he'll never get credit for it: If al Qaeda turns out to be crushed, then history will judge Bush's wars as a vast overreaction. Of course, there's a distinct possiblity that, without the wars, terrorism would be genuinely ascendant.

All in all, not a superb President. Maybe not even a mediocre President. But we'll see how things look after four or eight years of Obama. I remember being awfully tired of Clinton at the time. Now, I just wish we could go back to that party.

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