Dan Froomkin-President Bush famously asserts that history’s verdict on his presidency won’t come until he’s long dead. But far from waiting until his corpse is cold, the verdict is largely in before he’s even left the building.
Some things just aren’t gonna change, no matter how much time passes. Here is Bush’s legacy, in part:
He took the nation to a war of choice under false pretenses — and left troops in harm’s way on two fields of battle. He embraced torture as an interrogation tactic and turned the world’s champion of human dignity into an outlaw nation and international pariah. He watched with detachment as a major American city went under water. He was ostensibly at the helm as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression took hold. He went from being the most popular to the most disappointing president, having squandered a unique opportunity to unite the country and even the world behind a shared agenda after Sept. 11. He set a new precedent for avoiding the general public in favor of screened audiences and seemed to occupy an alternate reality. He took his own political party from seeming permanent majority status to where it is today. And he deliberately politicized the federal government, circumvented the traditional policymaking process, ignored expert advice and suppress dissent, leaving behind a broken government.