Monday, December 29, 2008

Wishful Thinking

For a president who professes not to worry about what history will say about him, George W. Bush certainly seems concerned about what history will say about him, to the point that he sent out both Laura Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to set the record straight.

“So we can sit here and talk about the long record, but what I would say to you is that this president has faced tougher circumstances than perhaps at any time since the end of World War II, and he has delivered policies that are going to stand the test of time,” Rice said in an interview that aired on CBS’ “Sunday Morning.”

I would be interested to know what policies she’s talking about that haven’t either been shown to be abject failures or will be overturned by the Obama administration in the first ten minutes it is in office.

Mrs. Bush told the fawning minions at Fox News that she doesn’t think her husband’s administration has been the worst in history and that she didn’t feel the need to respond to people who feel that way. “I think history will judge and we’ll see later.”

This mindset is the same one that Richard Nixon used in his interviews with David Frost in 1977; history will judge and they don’t care what they say about them today. But when someone says that, you know they do — otherwise, why would they be out there pushing that line and trying to skew it in their favor? It amounts to nothing more than wishful thinking masquerading as historical insight, which basically has been the hallmark of this administration.

In one aspect, though, the Bush administration has proven the strength of our country. We have weathered eight years of the most inept, incompetent, ham-handed and nakedly partisan administration in living memory. We have suffered great losses in terms of lives squandered in a purposeless war and storm-damaged neglect; we have seen the Constitution treated like the bottom of a birdcage by the men and women who swore oaths to protect it; we have seen our banks and our economy and credit used as the playtoy of the rich and heedless, and we have become both the laughingstock and sworn enemy of many other nations of the world. And yet we had the strength to get through it and the good sense to reject wholeheartedly the opportunity to continue on the same path.

If there’s one thing history will judge us on, it isn’t the destruction and cynicism brought by one administration; it is what we did about it when we had the chance to change the course of our history.