Monday, December 04, 2006

History's Judgment

From time to time a debate erupts in the blogosphere or among TV talking heads about how history will judge the Bush administration. The conventional wisdom is that it's too early to tell. Give it a hundred years or so.

We doubt that. History will have no judgments to make when even major architects of the Iraq war disaster, like Donald Rumsfeld, admit the whole mess was ill-conceived from the beginning and now are reduced to suggesting PR campaigns to "lower public expectations".

We'll be decades overcoming the blow-back, as you can figure out from an account in today's Los Angeles Times.
President Bush and his top advisors fanned out across the troubled Middle East over the last week to showcase their diplomatic initiatives to restore strained relationships with traditional allies and forge new ones with leaders in Iraq.

But instead of flaunting stronger ties and steadfast American influence, the president's journey found friends both old and new near a state of panic. Mideast leaders expressed soaring concern over upheavals across the region that the United States helped ignite through its invasion of Iraq and push for democracy — and fear that the Bush administration may make things worse.
Condoleeza Rice, Dick Cheney, and George W. Bush himself can't convince anyone they know what they're doing. Because they don't.

Dec. 4 pm

It seems that noted historian Eric Foner just yesterday tackled this very issue of Bush's likely standing in history. After comparing the current occupant of the White House with past tenants, his verdict:
It is impossible to say with certainty how Bush will be ranked in, say, 2050. But somehow, in his first six years in office he has managed to combine the lapses of leadership, misguided policies and abuse of power of his failed predecessors. I think there is no alternative but to rank him as the worst president in U.S. history.

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