However, since that time has not quite arrived, it's short and linky again tonight.
Via Tigerhawk, I encountered this editorial from the Telegraph on the prospects of the Bush Presidency's long-term legacy. It is a topic to which I have devoted a good deal of thought, since I spent the first few years of that Administration in the full grip of Bush Derangement Syndrome, whose highly tenacious antibodies still linger in my system. I can still, with very little effort, summon the deep, visceral revulsion I used to experience at the mere sight of GWB, the sound of his voice, the way he steadfastly and maddeningly persists in saying NOOK-ular when he bloody ought to know better. As someone who values rationality and believes that while political judgment can (and should!) never completely be divorced from passion, such judgment must never be permitted to be dominated by it, I am not altogether unembarrassed by this period in the history of my political thought. The cult of personality cuts both ways, and one can just as surely be enthralled by an eloquent but vacuous demagogue as one can be unjustly repulsed by a clumsy but competent leader. I have come to believe that George W Bush falls squarely into the latter camp (three guesses who I think falls into the former...).
This piece is not the first place I have seen Bush compared to Harry Truman (who, as the editorial points out, was also deeply unpopular during his tenure), and I suspect it will not be the last. The Truman doctrine of comprehensive containment of the USSR took decades to prove its mettle, ultimately succeeding in acting as a global poultice which drew the toxins of Communism to the surface, where they were resoundingly outcompeted by Democratic, free-market forces. On those few occasions when a more "enlightened" coexistence policy allowed the pressure to relent (*ahem* Jimmy Carter), the results were disastrous. Similarly, while Bush's stance with respect to global Jihadism has been lambasted for simple-minded manichaeism, its devastating effects on our foes' ability to pursue their ends unimpeded is growing ever more clear, despite the inevitable setbacks and the impatience which they feed.
I have a sneaking suspicion (and enduring hope) that history will, on the whole, be kind to George W Bush. I hope he lives to hear some of its judgments; considering the withering stream of venom he so stoically endures, the guy could use some props.
UPDATE (6/24/2008, 1:54 AM): To the above, I would add this editorial from the New York Times (!!). Key excerpt:
The whole episode [of Bush stubbornly bucking conventional 'wisdom' and implementing the Surge and COIN Doctrine] is a reminder that history is a complicated thing. The traits that lead to disaster in certain circumstances are the very ones that come in handy in others. The people who seem so smart at some moments seem incredibly foolish in others.
The cocksure war supporters learned this humbling lesson during the dark days of 2006. And now the cocksure surge opponents, drunk on their own vindication, will get to enjoy their season of humility. They have already gone through the stages of intellectual denial. First, they simply disbelieved that the surge and the Petraeus strategy was doing any good. Then they accused people who noticed progress in Iraq of duplicity and derangement. Then they acknowledged military, but not political, progress. Lately they have skipped over to the argument that Iraq is progressing so well that the U.S. forces can quickly come home.
But before long, the more honest among the surge opponents will concede that Bush, that supposed dolt, actually got one right. Some brave souls might even concede that if the U.S. had withdrawn in the depths of the chaos, the world would be in worse shape today.
Life is complicated. The reason we have democracy is that no one side is right all the time. The only people who are dangerous are those who can’t admit, even to themselves, that obvious fact.