January 13, 2007

Bush is "simply too stuntedly ill-informed and reality-detached."

That clotted phrase is James Wolcott's assessment of why President Bush "will not be able to rehabilitate himself in retirement" -- unlike Richard Nixon.
I remember seeing an aging Nixon on C-SPAN speaking and answering questions smoothly and cogently for over an hour on a range of geopolitical topics without benefit of notes and with a humbled confidence that was (for Nixon) charming. Clinton has that kind of sophisticated knowledgability, Jimmy Carter does as well, but Bush never will, so uninterested is he in other cultures and so reliant upon platitudes and homilies and self-affirmation. I think (hope) Steve Gilliard is right: Bush's presidency will unravel in shame and disgrace, as Nixon's did. But unlike Nixon, Bush will not enjoy a lion-in-winter third act. For better or worse, Nixon was his own man, a stark lesson in the possibilities and limits of self-reliance.
Why would you hope things will go badly? Wolcott is characteristically sour, but the subject of former Presidents working on their reputations is important, and speculating about how Bush will fare is worth doing. It's also slightly fascinating to watch people warm up to Nixon now that he's at a great enough distance or -- more likely -- when warming up to him works as a way of expressing how terribly much you hate Bush.

59 comments:

Hamsun56 said...

I grew up hating Nixon, but I came to respect his political smarts and his foresight in opening relations with China.

I have never hated Bush, but I think he has done a very poor job as president and is not very competent (if you owned a large company, what sort of job would you give him?). Chances are either he or Carter will be the worst president of my lifetime.

Joe said...

Wolcott is the same idiot who celebrates hurricanes as "Gaia's revenge" or some similar nonsense. He has nerve criticizing anyone's intellect.

Anonymous said...

You're a smarter reader than that, so stop being disingenuous.

Wolcott is not hoping things go badly, where things is your typical "plausible deniability enabled" way to claim that Wolcott is hoping Iraq goes badly while being able to claim later on that you never made that claim.

Wolcott is hoping that someone he feels to be responsible for harming America and the world gets his due process and justice. Bush's reward for his lying, corruption, incompetence, and war mongering should be a retirement of shame and disgrace, and not a retirement of "honored elder statesman".

If you saw a man you witnessed assaulting and raping another going to court, if you said, "I hope he gets 50 years!" which you be hoping things go badly? Would you be hoping things go badly for a) his victim, b) society, or c) the rapist? (Or are you the typical bleeding heart that sees a crime and hopes we can get the criminal in therapy and hope he isn't harmed by the process of the courts?)

Does that help you out?

ASX said...

Ann said:
Why would you hope things will go badly?

Going badly is your formulation; your choice of words.

Bush is out of control and doing greater damage to the nation with each passing day. He needs to be stopped.

The reason we hope his presidency will "unravel in shame and disgrace" is because we believe in personal responsibility, and we believe that Bush needs to be made an example of to prevent such hubris and ignorance in future occupants of our highest office.

Bush has been wrong at every turn, and every one of his mistakes has come with a great price for this nation. He needs to be held up for public scorn and ridicule, and his ideas marginalized.

We do the same with racists, rapists, and child molesters, and we need to do the same with presidents who fail the nation and do great damage to our interests and security.

There need to be consequences.

MrCurious said...

I think extremity in opinion is in itself indicative of stunted ill-informity and reality detachment. The truth (or real reality) lies, as usual, between the bright lines of harsh opinion. Woolcott is, in his own reality, at least as mis-informed as his intended victim.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats have embraced a new twist on an old Joan Jett song- "I Love Myself For Hating You."

Anonymous said...

"reality-detached" is precious, isn't it?

After President Ford's funeral, I'm more convinced than ever that how we remember past presidents is never a statement about those particular men but rather a reflection of how we toward the man currently in office. All of sudden, Ford's friendliness with the press corps and alleged bipartisanship was what is important to note.

I don't believe for a minute that Wolcott was ever impressed with Nixon. As you say, he's only using Nixon for effect.

hdhouse said...

Bush is a lifetimes full of low hanging fruit.

Can anyone with a straight face admit that Bush isn't reality-detached?

Can anyone with a straight face admit that he is intellectually at the end of the food chain?

That crap about "hoping things go badly". NO ONE DOES THAT. That is another silly strawdog to radicalize the debate. It is absurd and you should end it. It makes you look like a fool to keep repeating it.

hdhouse said...

and as to Nixon:

He did some very good things and by in large had some achievements. he did, however, have a few character flaws like lying and breaking the law....hmmmm we are talking Nixon here right? Not Bush?

Fritz said...

FDR told Truman that he didn't think he could resurrect a dead man. Truman was a great President by putting the country first. So little do so many real time commentators put into posterity. Truman took advantage of the help offered by Herbert Hover and the world is a better place because of it.

Our Founders were so smart by creating the President. We have convened the 110th Congress and they are in shock that the 1st Iraqi Parliament has not created utopia.

Doug said...

I think the Bush Admin's legacy will be salvaged if things in the Middle East improve after he leaves off. If democracy sticks in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon and spreads to other areas, then he has something to point to.

I don't think he will end up as a great writer or lecturer like others, so that is not going to be part of his legacy building.

The one thing that will put some shine on his legacy, at least with the left, will be the election of the next Republican President. Then the Democrats will trot out "This guy is worse that Bush" as their insult against the enemy of the day.

Roger Sweeny said...

For the last decade or so of his life, Nixon was a font of conventional wisdom. Whether you think that rehabilitates him depends a lot on what you think of the conventional wisdom. (Me, feh.)

Anonymous said...

What I think Wolcott is getting at is this: Nixon's Presidency unravelled due to his personal flaws, not his policy decisions. And those kinds of things are easier to rehabilitate because ultimately the effects don't last much beyond that President's term. Ditto for Clinton.

To be honest, I'd love it if Bush somehow pulled the rabbit out of the hat and produced the elusive 'win' that conservatives are always railing for in Iraq. However, I doubt if he can. Or frankly, with the mess we have gotten into after four years of bungling incompetence, I doubt that anyone can. Any window of opportunity we had of putting together a strategy that would produce a clear military 'win' in Iraq has long since been closed.

We will only get out of Iraq via a negotiated, diplomatic settlement (and when you negotiate, that means with your enemies.) That is the reality of the situation. Unfortunately, as his ratcheting up the war and threats to expand it to surrounding countries the other night shows, Bush knows only one way to drive-- to accelerate.

And frankly, Nixon deserves credit for recognizing when its time to negotiate-- people forget that he was the guy who finally realized that we had to negotiate our way out of Vietnam. Bush is much more like LBJ-- remember that Johnson sent 500,000 troops to Vietnam and was unsuccessful, but he couldn't see beyond the idea of either 'winning' or 'losing.' Nixon could see beyond that and he negotiated the exit of our army from Vietnam.

What we will need in the next President is not a warrior, but a diplomat. Quite honestly, I would prefer to have Bush's father running things right now instead of Bush, because his father was a very good diplomat (something people forget).

So the bottom line is this:

Nixon = Clinton.

Johnson = Bush.

Screw up yourself, you can improve your image. Screw up a war, and you'll always be recognized as a failure.

vbspurs said...

It's also slightly fascinating to watch people warm up to Nixon now that he's at a great enough distance or -- more likely -- when warming up to him works as a way of expressing how terribly much you hate Bush.

Most of the people who hated Nixon hate Bush, though perhaps for different reasons:

Nixon was personally corrupt, and he projected smarminess; Bush is an intellectual lightweight, but by all accounts, a regular guy.

It seems there is a projection at work at times, with the formerly Nixon-hating people towards Bush. It is important to note that Wolcott was born in 1952, so he matured as an adult around Nixon's presidency.

But Bush is his near contemporary, and like Clinton (who said in his autobiography that he felt a lot of the problems he had with media, were in part jealousy-related -- being the first Boomer President) many people cannot swallow that THIS is the guy, of all that generation, who gets to wield ultimate political power.

As you age, it seems to me, you find a greater peace, and grace about your former views, putting them into context. This happens about our opinions of our parents, e.g.

But can it happen about a near contemporary?

Will Boomers have the same time to learn to appreciate Bush?

I think not.

It is my generation, or even more, the generation of the Millenials, who will determine how much we 'forgive' and rehabilitate President Bush.

If indeed, he needs to be in quite the same way as Nixon -- chased from office by resignation (heh, yeah, like people want Dick Cheney to be President).

History is written by bitter old men, said Jacqueline Kennedy.

Perhaps.

Unless I write it. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

Can I just say how weird it is that in dealing with really hardcore Bush-haters like Greenwald and Wolcott, you suddenly become an English professor? That phrase isn't even that clotted.

Also, he's not hoping things go badly, or any worse. Bush's presidency is already a shame and a disgrace. The "unraveling," I think, was with a longing gaze towards impeachment.

It's possible for Nixon to be both bad and less deserving of impeachment than Bush.

Anonymous said...

The phrase "stuntedly ill-informed" is bothering me. Wouldn't you want to be stunted in being ill-informed? Wouldn't that mean you're less ill-informed than you might have been had your ill-informity been allowed to grow at a regular, un-stunted rate?

Gahrie said...

Carter did much in the first decade or so to rehabilitate his image. When he was confining himself to charitable work such as Habitat For Humanity I actually began to respect the man. However, the international and domestic meddling he has done in the last decade has thourghly discredited him yet again.

One of the things that has done much to rehabilitate Nixon in the eyes of the historians and intelligensia, is the growing realization of just how liberal and leftist his domestic policies were, compared to the conservative Republicans that followed him.

SMGalbraith said...

One is tempted to say (and, heck, I will) that someone like Wolcott, whose acknowledged heroes are George Galloway, might be considered to have too warped of a yardstick by which they measure successful political figures to be taken seriously.

With that aside, one of the principle differences between Nixon and Bush is that the former, despite his hatred for the liberal elite and intelligentsia (and their hatred for him), wished to have their respect. Much of his post-presidency actions, its seems to me, was directed at this class of people as much as it was directed at the population at-large (or even Republicans).

And that follows, doesn't it? Why hate someone unless you have a certain concern about what they say and do. If you're totally dismissive of them, why expend the energy hating them?

Whether good or bad, Bush, unlike Nixon, cares not a whit about elite liberal opinion - his legacy as viewed by future Arthur Schlesingers or his current status among them.

The two men - Nixon and Bush - despite all the strained comparisons - are two fundamentally different people.

Anonymous said...

Wow! The deranged bile in this thread is amazing. I remember my feelings for Clinton during his Presidency. They were not overly warm. Yet I never stooped to the level of hatred that it seems such a large number of Democrats have for Bush. The fringes of the right did but the mainstream was never as hateful as mainstream Democrats today.

Even though I was fairly moderate in my dislike once he was out of the Presidency and I could look back with more perspective I was embarrassed and ashamed at how personal I took all his myriad flaws and mistakes. I still think his actions towards Arafat, N. Korea, missile technology to China, ignoring bin Laden and on and on were terrible mistakes that we are paying for to this day. But, still. . .

I hope when Bush leaves office the Democrats have the decency to realize how insane he made them for such little cause. However, remembering how they treated Reagan until his death I think my hope is in vain.

I will predict that unless the Democrats manage to pull us out of Iraq before the Iraqis are ready Bush's overall strategy for Iraq will be successful and bear fruit. Should my prediction come true and Baghdad stands as a shining city and Iraq a beacon of hope to other Islamic countries will you Bush haters feel shame?

vbspurs said...

Wouldn't that mean you're less ill-informed than you might have been had your ill-informity been allowed to grow at a regular, un-stunted rate?

YES!

I think Ann was going for the metre of the phrase, more than the logic, but the original complaint was very valid.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

One of the things that has done much to rehabilitate Nixon in the eyes of the historians and intelligensia, is the growing realization of just how liberal and leftist his domestic policies were, compared to the conservative Republicans that followed him.

If true...

So all we need to do, is find ways that Bush was not as conservative as people think.

And for conservatives such as myself, that is not hard.

He is not a fiscal or bureaucratic conservative (less taxes yes, but bloated spending, beyond enormous debts, and the construction of an all-encompassing government agency). Blech.

He says he's anti-abortion, but his first two appointments to the Supreme Court were a moderate conservative (Roberts), and a complete nonentity (Miers), the only thing to recommend her being that she was Born-Again. Come on.

"No Child Left Behind". Bipartisan bill making for intrusion by federalising education (less control by local and state organs? That is NOT conservative).

His foreign policy has more in common with the dread Wilsonian principles of invasion, establishment of democracy, and supporting the growth of just governments, although Republicans have always had a strong non-isolationist sector amongst their own. Still, his foreign policy of interventionism is not conservative in tone.

We have the Patriot Act (law & order), quick, all-encompassing reaction to foreign-sponsored attack on mainland (unlike President Clinton), pro-business stance, and a general lack of tolerance for "fringe groups" and their ideals, such as the Greens and environmental issues, to label President Bush a "conservative".

But just how conservative, and if the people who now hate him will begin to recognise these points above, is yet to be determined by the fog of time.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

However, remembering how they treated Reagan until his death I think my hope is in vain.

Unless Bush is overcome by a disease similar to Alzheimer's...the gloves only came off when Reagan was in his dotage.

Still, didn't stop Barbra Streisand and James Brolin from ridiculing a man practically on his deathbed, so you could be right...

Cheers,
Victoria

Kirk Parker said...

The fact that Wolcott thinks Jimmy Carter exhibits "sophisticated knowledgability" says all anyone ever needs to know about Wolcott.

monkeyboy said...

If you saw a man you witnessed assaulting and raping another going to court, if you said, "I hope he gets 50 years!"

Well it depends, is she Iraqi? Then I guess I would complain that the rapist isn't around to maintain order any more.

Zeb Quinn said...

Contrary to their fabulist fantasies, the leftards don't get to write history long term with their rank partisan hatreds. Bush, like Reagan, will go down as one of the all-time greats. Nixon will too, but with his flaws.

I know the leftards are truly confounded by the idea of Bush being included here. It's simple. Bush is an honest man following his vision of what needs to be done and what is the right thing to be done, even if it runs against the grain of popular opinion, transparently, with no ulterior motives or hidden agendas. We're talking Abraham Lincoln stuff here.

Nixon was the most competent president of the 20th century. He knew what he was doing, and he was good at it. Domestic matters, economic matters, and of course foreign affairs. Probably the worst mistake he made as president was the wage and price control debacle. And if that's his worst mistake in those contentious times, then he was doing pretty good.

Nixon's flaws were centered around his paranoia about his political opponents, mostly the left, and the things he feared they might be up to, that they might do to him. And, as we can see, he really wasn't all that much unfounded in those fears. But to his everlasting detriment he just didn't handle it very well.

The Exalted said...

ann you amuse as always.

Why would you hope things will go badly?

things have quite clearly already gone badly. wolcott is hoping for justice for the instigator and executor of these "things."

did you see that your hero's man in charge of detainee affairs is calling for a boycott of the lawyers and law firms defending gitmo detainees? how can you support, even for a second, such a cynical, unjust and unamerican administration?

Brendan said...

Ronald Reagan couldn't have pulled off the telephone Q&A session either, but he has survived history's judgment quite well.

hdhouse said...

Gerald Hibbs said...
"I hope when Bush leaves office the Democrats have the decency to realize how insane he made them for such little cause."

SO LITTLE CAUSE?????????

Iraq
Debt
Wiretaps
No child left behind
Medicare Drugs (lying)
rendition
suspension of habeas corpus
Terri Sheivo
Stem Cell
Gay Marriage
Border Security
Immigration (myriad issues)
Port Security
Coallition of the "willing"
Harriet Meyers
Katrina
Anwar Drilling
Tax Breaks
WMD
No nation building

gosh how many other things can anyone name in 1 minute.

Tell you what. List 5 accomplishments that were to the general good of all Americans..go ahead...just list them out.

paul a'barge said...

Ill-formed? Wolcott called someone else ill-formed?

Good lord.

Hasn't anyone seen pictures of this troll?

SMGalbraith said...

suspension of habeas corpus
Terri Sheivo


Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the quintessential internet liberal American in fully glory.

Oy.

SMGalbraith said...

SO LITTLE CAUSE?????????

You do know that about half of your list is fiction?

There's been no ANWAR drilling.

There's been no suspension of habeas corpus.

This is a great summary of the nonsense that the left has disseminated about this Administration that leads many folks to defend it even when it's not always wise.

Because the alternative is made up of too many misguided folks like you.

vbspurs said...

I'm tempted to reply to the "What has Bush accomplished" with a HUMOUNGOUS copy-paste, but frankly, it's water off a duck's back to some.

Instead I will just observe one thing:

President Bush has given more international aid than any other President before him, including the reconstruction of Europe via the Marshall Plan.

This includes billions in aid to Africa, a fact echoed by the sainted Bob Geldof.

Our first Black President (pace Toni Morrison) should dream of having done so much for Africa in his term.

But if you do want a rundown of "accomplishments" check here and here.

Of course, to some militants, NOTHING Bush has done reflects well on his administration (and thereto, on himself).

I could point out that restructuring INS under Homeland Security, and the national security agencies (CIA/FBI/NSA) was one of the most revolutionary things done DOMESTICALLY, since LBJ's Great Society.

But since it's not a (a) liberal doing it, (b) coming from the wellspring of liberal ideals, it might as well not exist.

Cheers,
Victoria

vnjagvet said...

How about no attacks since 9/11?

Relatively strong economy in spite of Clinton term-end recession and 9/11?

AlanDownunder said...

Dear Prof,

The title of your post calls Wolcott's post an "assessment". That is accurate.

Then at the the end of your post you say his assessment expresses a "hope". That is not accurate; it is either incomprehending or partisan.

hdhouse said...

SMGalbreth...

It obviously didn't bother you that president numbnuts gets on a plane in the middle of the night to fly back to washington to sign a bill intervening in the the schievo mess and katrina hits new orleans and he is 3 days....3 DAYS...of fundraising and golf and cutting brush before some aide shows him a DVD of the mess..

That doesn't bother you? i pity you.

hdhouse said...

still waiting for the 5.

its like "going to mars". sounds good. let's go. ohhh you mean complete something? i thought bush just had to mention it and perhaps spend a few billion to start it..but finish it???? that is a funny one.

ohhhh and i would bring up africa as a plus....

Brent said...

Wolcott is a sour, perverse and inconsistent writer. If he was not provided cover in his outrageousness by Graydon, he would rarely be heard or read further. He far surpasses the often-poorly-connected thinking of Andrew Sullivan, yet Sullivan is a far more consistent and engaging writer.

In summary - my life has no use for James Wolcott - I frankly wish him to be given a head blow, rendering him a vegetable to exist in hospice, so that he no longer wastes the time of valid human beings.

Wait. That was me attempting to write in the leftist voice of so many "compassionate" intellectuals like Wolcott. (The part about him being a wasted mind though, is true).

And by the way - again - Bush will go down in history as one of the greats, not the least due to his being a real person as opposed to the intellectual swine classes of Manhattan, et al.

SMGalbraith said...

"he is 3 days....3 DAYS...of fundraising and golf and cutting brush before some aide shows him a DVD of the mess.."

Sorry my friend, Bush did not spend 3 days (or DAYS) of fundraising et cetera before he learned of Katrina from a DVD from an aide.

Where do you get this material?

The Federal Government was responding to the affects of Katrina within 24 hours of the passing of the storm.

Here: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/2315076.html

There is no doubt that the government - all levels - performed poorly. But to lay this exclusively at the feet of Bush is another indicator of the hysteria from your side of the aisle.

And what about the "suspension of habeas corpus"? Where did this nonsense come from?

alphie said...

Nixon didn't get America into Vietnam, but he did, eventually, get America out of Vietnam.

Always a point in his favor...

hdhouse said...

SMGalbraith said...
"he is 3 days....3 DAYS...of fundraising and golf and cutting brush before some aide shows him a DVD of the mess.."

Sorry my friend, Bush did not spend 3 days (or DAYS) of fundraising et cetera before he learned of Katrina from a DVD from an aide.

YOU IDIOT. I learned about it of course. IT WAS 3 DAYS before he made a move east of the Mississippi and then it was a flyover.

Are you really that stupid?

Anonymous said...

He may be stupid and error-prone, but for better or worse the Presidency of George W. Bush will be historically important. I wrote this a year ago, and I wouldn't change a word.

His opponents may cringe at the thought, but George W. Bush is the most consequential president since Ronald Reagan. Actions taken by his Administration will reverberate deep into the first half of the 21st century.

Foreign Policy: the Bush Administration overthrew tyrannical regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, irrevocably disrupting the status quo in the Middle East. The forcible implantation of democracy in two countries may finally cause Western values to take root in that troubled region, trigger chaos and civil war, and/or lead to the final resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Appointments that should outlive the Bush Administration by many years: at least two Supreme Court justices, including one Chief Justice, and one Federal Reserve Chairman.

Domestic Policy: 1) reduced the income tax and eliminated the estate tax for the vast majority of Americans; 2) added prescription drugs to Medicare benefit coverage; 3) accelerated the unification of police, military, intelligence, and security operations, thereby raising their effectiveness at the cost of citizens’ privacy rights; 4) failed to reform Social Security, even with one party controlling both the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

Disasters: the most costly natural (Hurricane Katrina) and man-made (9/11 terrorist attacks) disasters in American history occurred under Mr. Bush’s watch.

Decades after they left office, the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Franklin Roosevelt continue to provoke heated arguments. The consequential presidency of George W. Bush promises to do the same.

hdhouse said...

Yeah well I had a cocktail party at my house here in the hamptons and one of my cats sprayed the leg of an investment banker neighbor.

People are still talking about it.

Faux news is still talking about Jon Benet and its been 10 years.

I still talk about Debussy and Ravel.

All presidents are influential and worthy of discussion after their term(s). Perhaps no other president will have ruined things so badly and on so vast a canvas as this fool and we will be talking about him for ages and it won't be as funny as my cat peeing on a banker.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure what world or country you folks that haven't been attacked since 9/11 live in. There have been many attacks on Westerners and Americans since then. Many have been on US soil (and/or US airlines.)

Overall world terror attacks are up. They tripled in 2004. The September 06 NIE said that the war on Iraq "has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks." Of course, you may not know that since the Bush Administration keeps removing that information from the news.

Do you really have such poor memories?

Successful Terrorist Attacks since 9/11

Anthrax
Bali
Charles Bishop
Daniel Pearl
Dirty Bomb Plot
French Tanker
London
Morocco
Paul Johnson
Richard Reid
Ricin
Riyadh Bombing

The Administration also claims to have disrupted 10 plots against Americans and Westerners:

10 PLOTS

1. The West Coast Airliner Plot: In mid-2002 the U.S. disrupted a plot to attack targets on the West Coast of the United States using hijacked airplanes. The plotters included at least one major operational planner involved in planning the events of 9/11.

2. The East Coast Airliner Plot: In mid-2003 the U.S. and a partner disrupted a plot to attack targets on the East Coast of the United States using hijacked commercial airplanes.

3. The Jose Padilla Plot: In May 2002 the U.S. disrupted a plot that involved blowing up apartment buildings in the United States. One of the plotters, Jose Padilla, also discussed the possibility of using a "dirty bomb" in the U.S.

4. The 2004 U.K. Urban Targets Plot: In mid-2004 the U.S. and partners disrupted a plot that involved urban targets in the United Kingdom. These plots involved using explosives against a variety of sites.

5. The 2003 Karachi Plot: In the Spring of 2003 the U.S. and a partner disrupted a plot to attack Westerners at several targets in Karachi, Pakistan.

6. The Heathrow Airport Plot: In 2003 the U.S. and several partners disrupted a plot to attack Heathrow Airport [outside London] using hijacked commercial airliners. The planning for this attack was undertaken by a major 9/11 operational figure.

7. The 2004 U.K. Plot: In the Spring of 2004 the U.S. and partners, using a combination of law enforcement and intelligence resources, disrupted a plot to conduct large-scale bombings in the U.K.

8. The 2002 Arabian Gulf Shipping Plot: In late 2002 and 2003 the U.S. and a partner nation disrupted a plot by al-Qa'ida operatives to attack ships in the Arabian Gulf.

9. The 2002 Straits of Hormuz Plot: In 2002 the U.S. and partners disrupted a plot to attack ships transiting the Straits of Hormuz.

10. The 2003 Tourist Site Plot: In 2003 the U.S. and a partner nation disrupted a plot to attack a tourist site outside the United States.

Ricardo said...

"... the subject of former Presidents working on their reputations is important ...."

(Yawn)

It is? Why? To whom?

Seven Machos said...

Realith Check is correct.

Terrorist attacks on the United States and its interests and its close and nominal allies began when Bush became president. They will end when Bush leaves office. End of story. It's sad that so few Americans have the breadth of knowledge and sense of history to acknowledge this simple fact.

Anonymous said...

Of course, you may not know that since the Bush Administration keeps removing that information from the news.

So how did you hear about it, then?

Don't you realize how stupid you sound? Are we supposed to believe that the (incompetent) Bush administration is somehow uber-competent in controlling the flow of information to and from newspapers, and more significantly, the internet? More significantly, we're supposed to believe that they want to downplay the threat that terrorists pose?

If you believe that, seek professional help. The administration's biggest problem is that people continue to downplay terrorism, preferring their 9/10/2001 world views to the current reality.

Of the attacks you listed, the only one that occurred on US soil was the anthrax attack, which has yet to be solved. It's ridiculous to count attacks against US airlines or citizens abroad as failures of the Bush administration. We can't police the world, and even if we wanted to, you'd castigate us for it.

Revenant said...

I doubt Bush-hatred will last very long at all. Aside from the Iraq war things have gone well, but not memorably so. The Iraq war itself is costly in terms of dollars, but hasn't cost many lives. Ten years after it ends people will forget they ever cared much about it -- the impact on American lives just hasn't been significant.

Clinton-hatred's hanging on because the Clintons are still active in politics. I doubt Bush will be. Out of sight, out of mind.

Bruce Hayden said...

I agree with Revenant. BDS takes energy, and that energy will be directed elsewhere. CDS (Clinton Derangement Syndrom) is now mostly aimed at the Mrs., since she is still the frontrunner for the nomination in her party (and arguably was the more egregious anyway).

Indeed, I think a lot of us have mellowed a lot in 6 years towards Bill Clinton. Sure, he should be registered as a sexual preditor. But beyond that, so what? He won't be chasing interns around the Oval Office again, and so we can now look at what he did (or did not) accomplish while president.

Bruce Hayden said...

The other thing about Bush, BDS, and his legacy is that he really doesn't care that much about it. Clinton who was always looking towards his, will probably not end up with much of one, because his worrying about his legacy resulted in too much caution to ever rise above the pack.

But Bush (43) doesn't care, and so when he leaves office in less than two years, he isn't going to be another Carter ever more desperately trying to reclaim prestige. Rather, he is going to do like Ford, Reagan, and his father did, gracefully leaving the world stage to others. And that means that in another decade, BDS will be mostly gone, and his presidency will be viewed in the light of what he actually did and did not accomplish, and not through the lens of BDS, as has been done by Wolcott and a lot of the posters here.

Gahrie said...

Terrorist attacks on the United States and its interests and its close and nominal allies began when Bush became president. They will end when Bush leaves office. End of story

This is the best example of Bush Derangement Syndrome that I have seen in a long time. I read it several times looking for signs of sarcasm, because it is so hard to believe that someone who knows how to read and type could be so ignorant.

Bruce Hayden said...

I also think that when the BDS calms down, in another decade, the big thing that will determine how GWB is viewed by history is by the results of the War on Terror and the status of the Middle East. Either we will still be bogged down there with no end in sight, or his bold moves into Afganistan and Iraq will have paid off. Iraq, in particular, is critical, given its location. Is Iran going to have more of an effect on Iraq, than the other way around? My guess is that our democracization of Iraq will move Iran decisively in the same direction - but only time will tell whether I am right, or those nay saying the President.

President Bush knew that he was staking the legacy of his presidency on the bold moves that he made in the War on Terror. He made them anyway, which is why he has a chance at being ultimately rated near-great, but also near-horrible. Bill Clinton, by refusing to make that sort of gamble, is destined to be rated in the middle.

Anonymous said...

Joan, do you ever read newspapers? All of this has been reported many many times.

More significantly, we're supposed to believe that they want to downplay the threat that terrorists pose? Of course they do, because jerks like me keep asking if the war in Iraq has made the country safer or made us more likely to be attacked? And they do because just like in Vietnam, the Administration keeps on crowing about successes in Iraq and how it is becoming safer there.

Sadly, I am correct, and it turns out that you are stupid (stupid as in ignorant.)

WAPO: Annual Terror Report Won't Include Numbers By Susan B. Glasser
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 19, 2005; Page A17

The State Department announced yesterday that it will no longer publish annual statistics for international terrorism, a year after it was forced to withdraw its study and correct its assertion that terrorist acts had declined in 2003 when in fact they were at their highest level in years.

Critics said the decision would leave the public without an official assessment of progress in fighting terrorism, as the State Department tries to avoid a repeat of what then-Secretary Colin L. Powell called "a big mistake" in how the statistics on terrorist acts were compiled last year.


For more about all the different types of information that the Bush Administration has decided to keep from us, go to The CarpetBagger, and TPM Muckraker's Bush Admin: What you don't know can't hurt us site.

In the meantime, try removing the blinders you have on that suggest that anyone that disagrees with you must be psychotic.

Anonymous said...

It's funny -- I predicted to myself in '04 (as I voted for him) that Bush would leave office with a 20% approval rating.

Yet as I see the process in motion, I'm surprised.

Bush is in good health; he'll live a long life. Hard to predict how he'll be viewed twenty years hence.

Seven Machos said...

Gahrie -- What I said about terrorist attacks beginning and ending with Bush is so patently false that it must be sarcasm. Obviously, there was terrorism emanating against the United States from Middle Eastern interests since at least the Carter administration. It is impossible to think that attacks won't continue after 2008.

But you are right: someone who believes such a thing would be suffering pretty severely from BDS.

Anonymous said...

reality check:
Of course, you may not know that since the Bush Administration keeps removing that information from the news.

And then...

Joan, do you ever read newspapers? All of this has been reported many many times.

Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Freeman. For some reason, Reality Check believes that the administration's failure to say something is equivalent to their suppression of that information.

Gahrie: better get your sarcasm detector checked.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha! You really got me Freeman! You took one statement about apples, and ran it into another statement about oranges, and wow, don't you think that I just look silly now.

Anonymous said...

Posted on Sun, Jan. 14, 2007 Administration leaving out important details on Iraq
By MARK SEIBEL
McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - President Bush and his aides, explaining their reasons for sending more American troops to Iraq, are offering an incomplete, oversimplified and possibly untrue version of events there that raises new questions about the accuracy of the administration's statements about Iraq.

President Bush unveiled the new version on Wednesday during his nationally televised speech announcing his new Iraq policy.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting reading this thread. Folks like Wolcott and those cheering him on seem to this non-American to be of the most provincial sort, all the more intriguing since they seem to understand themselves as sophisticated and knowledgeable about other cultures and well-informed and up to date, Bush their perfect foil. I'll take the cowboy any day of the week. A little self-knowledge goes a long way, those without it do protest too much. One thing not mentioned that the Bush years have accomplished: 1) the significant opening of relations with India, which will be every bit as historical and important as were Nixon's initiatives vis-a-vis China. Indeed, more in my book. And making the strategic relationship with Japan flourish and thus solidifying what one fabled Senator called the most important bilateral relationship for America "bar none." Japan has never had a better friend than the Bush Administration, in word and deed, save perhaps Teddy Roosevelt. Bush's meeting with the mother of one of the abductees in the Oval Office was an act, not reported by the American press, which will be remembered for years in Japan. And what Koizumi and now Abe and Bush have been able to solidify in treaties and protocols will help maintain stability in N.East Asia for the next century. But the fruits of Bush's vision will take time, a decade?, maybe less, to clearly see. A far cry from the nineties when Clinton's Ambassador to Japan Walther Mondale had to be retired for making unforgiveable mistakes (again not reported) and the real chance for peace in the region was instead exchanged for Chamberlain like appeasement. Anyway America has in Asia, and lets face it Old Europe is out of juice and is so last century, formulated a coherent and effective policy during the Bush years. So that's one. Two? The challenge to make a list is precisely the kind of thing the provincial sophistacates like Wolcott and his supporters are adept at, i.e., no depth. I dare say, and though I'm certainly not a fevered supporter of Bush, it is still far too early to tell what will become of the Middle East and Africa and a number of other regions. I have a hunch that his will be the most significant American presidency in the 21st century. And more for good than bad. Plus he'll save us non-American's from the difficulty of keeping a straight face when your other ex-President's like Carter and Clinton show up on our doorsteps, usually making a buck or two in the process, and lecture us about how substantial their presidency was. Retire to Crawford George. You've earned it. Plus you have a precedent--the first George.