It’s seven days until the presidency of George W. Bush, the man who terrified us all for eight years by achieving the remarkable feat of being both an evil genius and a drooling idiot, is over. No doubt there will be many smiles across the country when that happens. And then, when Barack Obama is sworn in, we can once again be proud to be Americans.
I don’t want to burst the happiness bubble that will surround universities and Hollywood conference rooms on that day, but there is just one problem for those who think Bush was a blight on America: History may judge him differently.
The name George Bush is as synonymous with Iraq as Al Gore is with global warming. And if the situation in the Middle East continues to improve — if Iraq has an America-friendly democracy ten or fifteen or twenty years from now — Bush’s reputation will rise, just as Ronald Reagan’s reputation has risen significantly since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Granted, Iraq’s stability is a big “if,” but not impossible. Several years ago, the situation there seemed hopeless and pointless; now, it’s looking more and more like a success story.
Whereas the former Vice President’s assertion that “the debate is over” regarding global warming is looking more and more foolish.
What’s more, the measures taken by Bush have kept his country safe since 9/11. To paraphrase the T-shirts, Bush might not have been your President, but he was your protector.
It is possible, though no doubt blood-chilling, that future generations will grasp this. If so, odds are they will view Bush favorably and believe he got a massive bad rap in his time, while his nemesis, the right honorable Al Gore, will be spoken of as an American Don Quixote chasing after windmills made from carbon emissions.
ADDED: Few say, well, anything better than Mark Steyn, and the perpetual thorn in the side of the Western intelligentsia has his own take on Bush’s legacy.