Is Bush’s Leadership Like Wagner’s Music?
“Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.”
Is George W. Bush’s Presidency more successful than most Americans (80%) think right now? Will history vindicate Bush, like it did Harry Truman?
I doubt it.
Harry Truman didn’t leave office with a PR blitz of interviews arguing that history would redeem his shredded reputation. When you have the courage of your convictions — and a clue how anxious and angry everyday Americans are right now — you know when to shut up. If we, contemporary Americans, aren’t qualified to judge Bush, why is he spending so much energy trying to persuade us?
Asking people to suspend their (very) critical judgment is more than a bit self-serving, not to mention arrogant and insulting.
Imagine calling the restaurant where you just contracted food poisoning and being told that “it’s premature to judge the meal a failure” — only your great-great grandchildren are qualified to do that.
Sometimes — no, 99% of the time — what seems to be a failure, is.
It’s certainly possible that history will be kinder to George Bush II than contemporary America. However, it’s equally conceivable that history’s judgment will be even harsher. Time did nothing to burnish the reputations of Buchanan, Pierce, Fillmore, Harding, Hoover and a host of other Presidential mediocrities. Even luminaries aren’t immune from retroactive revisionism: anyone still think Alan Greenspan belongs on an economists’ Mount Rushmore?
When Mao Tse Tung was asked, in 1950, what he thought of the French Revolution, he reportedly replied, “it’s too soon to tell.”
History is not going to wait nearly that long to render its verdict on George W. Bush (no matter how much he hopes otherwise).