Even though he doesn't like to admit it, Bush is privately giving considerable thought to his legacy. He tells friends he defines himself as "an idealist about goals and a realist about means." He wants to be remembered, says a senior adviser, as "a champion of freedom abroad and ownership at home"--freedom particularly in Iraq and ownership by everyday Americans of their houses, small businesses, and personal accounts for education, healthcare, and retirement. Bush aims to leave behind a series of institutional changes, aides say, that cannot be easily "unraveled" by his successors or future Congresses, such as massive tax cuts, the new prescription-drug benefit under Medicare, and a commitment to stable democracy in Iraq. Last week, Bush entered the fray over immigration, another big issue, with a well-received address to the nation in which he called for strengthened border security, a large "temporary worker" program, and a system to give millions of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.Long after Bush leaves office, as democracy continues its march across the Middle East and elsewhere, I believe that President Bush will be looked back on favorably. Whether he'll crack the top ten, like Truman, is anybody's guess?
Sunday, May 28, 2006
How Will History View the G.W. Bush Presidency?
It's no surprise that Bush's speechwriters harkened to the Truman era for the historical backdrop to the president's commencement address yesterday. Not only was the reference to Truman's early leadership in that long twilight struggle most germaine to today's security challenges, President Truman, like Bush today, was also unpopular during the Korean War, though his historical legacy has been rising in the rankings of America's great presidents. Perhaps for President Bush what matters for his administrtion is not so much what happens with the midterms in November, but what history will have to say on his legacy. U.S. News wrote about this last week:
Posted by Donald Douglas at 8:47 AM