April 26, 2013
He missed us, too. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
He missed us, too. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

It’s a brand new day to argue about President George W. Bush. His new library means everyone who has a strong opinion about him (read: everyone) gets to Bush-bash or Bush-buffer, and while we’re still sorting out how to look at those eight years of history, he’s mostly in the rear view mirror now.

Yesterday, Ed Rogers wondered why Bush is the target of so much animosity, given that he seems like a genuinely good person who had to respond to huge challenges; today, Eugene Robinson wonders how Bush is the target of so much revisionism and redemptive narrative, given that his legacy looks, to Robinson, even worse now than it did when he scurried out of office like a cockroach with ears.

Robinson says there’s really only one issue to judge Bush on, and that’s the torture or torture-euphemism interrogation of detainees under his administration, with at least his tacit approval. That gives the Bush presidency an indelible grade of F, Robinson says. Like many liberals, Robinson grudgingly pats Bush on the back for his work on AIDS drugs in Africa — but there are some cranky commenters here unwilling to give him even that much:

FergusonFoont

Bush’s AIDS legacy had precisely zero impact, except that he did not prevent what would have happened without him. Both Gore and Kerry would have supported such a program, and probably with greater effect. I mean, you know that, right?

It is important that you in journalism do whatever you can to keep the memory of his myriad failures and the tragedies he caused, at home and abroad, fresh as a lesson to our descendants.

georged1

Bush’s AIDS legacy was saving MILLIONS in Africa. But whatever, dude.

RANDY

Bush was handed a list of approved causes to pick from. He’s just a figurehead of a cause he has little comprehension of as usual.

Watcher1

Bush never had an AIDS legacy, whatever program there is wasn’t conceived or implemented by him. Like everything else that happened during his “presidency” someone put something in front of him and he signed it, nothing more. His sympathizers try to make it sound like the BushDolt sat at his desk and pondered the plight of the poor AIDS victims in Africa and his “compassion” forced him to do something about it. The moron never had a compassionate bone in his body.

Okay! Now, besides lefties worried about Robinson cutting Bush too much slack, we have another commentary development that interests PostScript, who is continually amazed that commenters can still surprise her. There is a fairly common refrain among more right-leaning posters who are almost gleeful to stomp President Bush’s legacy—as long as they can use that to slam Obama for his similarity to Bush:

capitalism101

Sad but true – the state of the radically liberal WaPo echo chamber! The hilarious part of all the Bush bashing is that Fahrenheit 9/11 could be redone by replacing Bush’s name with Obama and it would still be just as accurate. More wars, increased drone bombings while killing thousands of innocent women and children civilians, more debt, more debt, more debt, Keynesian economics – print infinite money and spend our way out of problems, continued The Patriot Act, continued No Child Left Behind, continued Medicaid expansion, continued wire tapping, secret ‘Kill Lists’ authorized by the POTUS. List goes on and on.
Hope all the WaPo liberals are enjoying BUSH’S 4TH TERM!!!! Bahahahah.

SteveR1 makes that point, using “Blame Bush” as a nickname for Bush himself:

Blame Bush makes for a convenient punching bag to distract the American public from Obama’s failures.
You neglect that Obama has adopted virtually all of Blame Bush’s irresponsible policies. Obama is even trying to resurrect the blame Bush housing bubble by lowering credit standards.
The blame Bush legacy may be getting worse. The problem is that Obama is digging the hole even deeper. When will Robinson stop blaming Bush and examine Obama expanding failures? Blame Bush is gone, Obama is not.

And others are resigned that it hasn’t really mattered who has been President all this time.

HGF78

There is very little difference between W. and Obama. Gitmo is still open. Iraqi war ended on Bush’s schedule. Obama did nothing to go after the banks. We have mandated healthcare instead of universal. Offshoring is still going on. In reality, W. was the first President where the corporations were so brazen about the control they had over our elected officials of both parties. A majority of the Dems got right into line and voted for the Iraqi war thus blaming it only on Bush is either very naive or just ignoring reality.

flyover22

Reality is real for the person sitting in the President’s office. One can rail against Gitmo, Wars, Terrorist, the Patriot Act, etc without the responsibility. Once you have the responsibility some things become self-evident, flexibility is limited, and hollow speech must be replaced with decisions and/or actions.

We should not judge a President’s by decisions ones we like or the parties we favor, but by what the situation required. As you point out, many of Bush’s actions and Obama’s are common. Not because of leadership, style, ideology, party, or likes, but because the situation requires it.

In the end, Postscript finds herself grudgingly awed by the sentiments of mhr614, who has found a space-time wormhole such that it is too early to judge the Bush Presidency, but the right time to conclude judgement of Obama’s time as President:

Bush’s legacy will be decided by historians and not by hack liberal columnists. At any rate what matters today is how the already failed presidency of Barack Hussein Obama will affect the nation. Negatively, without a doubt.