A final thought on yesterday’s topic, Bush’s legacy: as the clarity of distance seeps into the memory of the Bush43 years, it will be curious to observe the phases through which his reputation will pass. My prediction is as follows:
He’ll fade from the limelight by the spring, and generally avoid interviews from all but the most sympathetic questioners. After about a year information will begin appearing in books and magazine articles about how one or two high-ranking members of Bush’s administration — my money’s on Rumsfeld or Ashcroft, unless Cheney dies, making him the prime candidate — were pure evil, bent on starting wars, desecrating the constitution, etc. After these stories have had time to make the talk show and book trip rounds, opinions will begin to appear portraying Bush as a well-intentioned everyman fighting valiantly to keep the country intact in the face of these unreasonable forces, but powerless to stop them and, thus, to prevent the various disasters we today attribute to him and his administration…Iraq, the economy, the Katrina debacle, and so on.
The American public will be asked to forgive him, to label him some sort of put-upon Johnny Lunchpail hero who fought the good fight, a Willy Loman of the White House, truly a guy you’d want to have a beer with. The Republican party will need their everyman hero back in time to help campaign in 2012, so after a year of laying low while his reputation is healed through gentle reverse-swiftboating, he’ll make a triumphant appearance on the 2012 campaign trail and his resurrection will be complete.
That, or he’ll clear brush in Texas for the next twenty-five years like a good little cowpoke. Whichever.