Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Rehabilitation of George Bush in 2 Easy Steps


When you think about the Bush Administration, it is pretty clear that it was a spectacular failure. Large majorities of Dems and Independents agree. Even 50% of republicans agree. Here is how you do it on foreign policy.

Step One

He tried hard. He did his best.

Second, ironically, Bush’s legacy will be a bit more buoyant because the quality of post-Bush GOP thinking on foreign policy has been so piss-poor that Bush really does look good by comparison. It is worth remembering that, for all of the criticisms of Bush’s foreign policy rhetoric, he kept anti-Muslim hysteria somewhat in check. He boosted foreign aid through PEPFAR, which might be his most significant foreign policy legacy. And the Bush foreign policy of 2008 looked dramatically different from the Bush foreign policy of 2003, which suggests some degree of adaptation and learning.
So there it is. 

He may have failed, but he did his best and got better at it by the end of his second term. Add that excuse to the apparent fact that today's republicans look even worse by comparison. And so maybe he's not so bad when you compare him to GOP alternatives. It could have been worse.

It's a start.

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