Monday, November 28, 2005

Legacy of Loserdom

This is something I’ve thought for some time. Even with vocal, ideologically driven present day supports, President George W. Bush is not going to be remembered favorably by historians. Juan Cole, historian, says this about that:
As for your legacy two decades from now, George, let me clue you in on something--as a historian. In 20 years no Iraqis will have you on their minds one way or another. Do you think anyone in Egypt or Israel is still grateful to Jimmy Carter for helping bring to an end the cycle of Egyptian-Israeli wars?…Human beings don't have good memories for these things, which is why we have to have professional historians, a handful of people who are obsessed with the subject. And I guarantee you, George, that historians are going to be unkind to you. You went into a major war over a non-existent nuclear weapons program. Presidents' reputations don't survive things like that. Historians are creatures of documents and precision. A wild exaggeration with serious consequences is against everything they stand for as a profession. So forget about history and destiny and the divine will. You are at the helm of the Exxon Valdez and it is headed for the shoals. You can't afford to daydream about future decades.
Partisan politics can color real-time perceptions but over time a more unified picture emerges of historical figures like presidents. So while Bush has his often blind-to-the-facts supporters now, the political utility of such support will gradually wear off over time and all that will be left will be the terrible legacy of this presidency punctuated by one of the worst foreign policy disasters in American history – Iraq. I expect to see this view gain real momentum heading into the 2008 presidential election even as Bush still occupies the White House. Believe me, the Republican candidate in that race is going to run on, among other things of course, being Not-Bush.

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