Saturday, April 12, 2008

Legacy?

Finally, a tribute to Shrubya that is fitting. Kinda reminds me of the Dave Berry sewage treatment station in North Dakota (Mr. Berry has been known to make fun of the North Dakotans).

More seriously (or not), it seems pretty clear that Bush is worrying about his legacy. Talking about the Israeli/ Palestinian problem is always something that presidents leaving office do to try to one notable feat for posterity. Bush's (awful) nuclear deal with India a few years back was probably motivated by legacy concerns as well. My guess is he was trying to emulate Nixon going to China by brining India in from the cold. The nuclear deal is not the same- going to Tehran would have been, but that seems outside of what this president would ever do.

Take a look at this thoroughly unscientific but very interesting poll of 109 professional historians. 61% say that Bush is the worst ever. Seems like an arguable point: he invaded Iraq and legalized torture. Then again, pat presidents have been involved in ethnic cleansing (think of the Trail of Tears), and Richard Nixon secretly bombed Cambodia.
On the other hand, Isaac Chotiner makes a good point.
Historians tend to grade presidents not purely on their utilitarian impact on the world--instead they look at things like management of the bureacracy, competence, public support, international approval, etc. Under a rating criterion like that, it's not so absurd to think that 43 may in fact be 43/43.

(posted by Ewan)

1 comment:

Matt said...

Also, in this day and age of information, wisdom (hopefully), greater access to history's lessons, greater press coverage and such, it's surprising that we have such a 19th century president.