History's verdict on Bush: Liberal? War hero? AWOL?





Suddenly it seem everyone is weighing in on whether George W. Bush will be remembered kindly or poorly by history.

Conservative columnist George Will issued a blistering attack on the White House Thursday night for bailing out mismanaged Wall Street giants, saying Bush's intervention makes him a liberal.

"Where is the Bennigan's bailout?" he said in a speech before the West Michigan Regional Policy Council, asking why the administration would bail out AIG and not Bennigan's restaurant chain, which recently declared bankruptcy. He added:

We may be witnessing the most left-wing, the most liberal administration in U.S. history. This is an astonishingly interventionist administration.

Another conservative columnist, Charles Krauthammer, interviewed Bush on Monday and came away impressed at his calm and "confidence in eventual historical vindication. In a Washington Post article titled "History Will Judge," Krauthammer said:

It is precisely that quality that allowed him to order the surge in Iraq in the face of intense opposition from the political establishment (of both parties), the foreign policy establishment (led by the feckless Iraq Study Group), the military establishment (as chronicled by [Bob] Woodward) and public opinion itself. The surge then effected the most dramatic change in the fortunes of an American war since the summer of 1864.

Finally, there's Politico.com's Roger Simon, who argues that Bush has been absent without leave during the most traumatic financial crisis in years. He argues that Bush has done little more than issue a few words, "a very few words. Delivered with the greatest reluctance."

Thursday's remarks, he noted, were two minutes long.

That’s right, two minutes. Delivered, according to the official White House transcript, from 10:15 a.m. EDT to 10:17 a.m. EDT. Maybe you missed it. Maybe you were at work. Maybe the president doesn’t care. Maybe that’s the problem.

George W. Bush will continue to draw a paycheck until noon on Jan. 20, 2009. (If there is still any money left in the U.S. Treasury to pay him, that is.) But what has he been doing to earn his pay lately? Not calming fears among his fellow citizens about their life savings, that’s for sure.

So you be the judge. Is Bush a conservative turned socialist? A stalwart war president who will be vindicated by history? An uncaring president blind to suffering of American citizens?


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