There is a strange symmetry between the Bush hatred that emanated from the Left and what the writer John Avlon calls “irrational Obama exuberance.” Barack Obama has not spent one day as President, yet his admirers speak and write as if he has not and will not do anything wrong. I agree with Avlon that Obama’s centrist Cabinet choices have encouraged confidence in his ability to tackle our country’s problems. But when President Obama steps into the oval office, like any other President who is a human being, he will call some shots incorrectly, and polls will reflect disillusionment among his followers.
If you consider Obama the closest man can get to God, you are probably among those who think that George W. Bush is the closest man can get to being the devil. As Canadian journalist Robert Fulford writes in The National Post, “liberal Americans who see the Republicans as the party of the devil have enjoyed eight years of intense self-righteousness.” These are about to end, thankfully. As Obama takes over our nation’s helm, hopefully more reasoned opinion will prevail on the question of George W. Bush’s legacy as President.
Speaking about this himself, the President told an interviewer that he would like to be known “as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace,” and as a person “who first and foremost, did not sell his soul to accommodate the political process.” He would like to be known as a leader who “rallied people to help their neighbor, that led an effort to help relieve HIV/AIDS and malaria on places like the continent of Africa; that helped elderly people get their prescription drugs and Medicare as part of the basic package.”
Whether or not Bush’s hopes are fulfilled will only be told by future historians. Today’s academy has already reached its own judgment. A year or so ago, the eminent historian Sean Wilentz wrote a cover story for Rolling Stone, in which he called Bush “the worst President in all American history.” Most of his colleagues readily agreed with his call.