I think it is a mixed bag. On domestic matters, his income tax cuts have been made permanent except for couples making over $450,000 per year, for whom they have been scaled back, and estate taxes no longer exist for estates smaller than $5.2 million dollars, both of which are major conservative achievements. His Supreme Court choices of Roberts and Alito have turned out well for the most part for conservatives, despite Roberts defection on Obamacare. On foreign policy, however, his legacy is more negative, as neither Iraq not Afganistan have turned out well, and much of the Republican Party has now turned against his foreign policy neo-conservatism. So I think his domestic record has held up reasonably well, but in retrospect his foreign policy has to be considered largely a failure.
Thus illustrating that no one actually cares about deficits.
Or the near destruction of the financial industry.
The problem I have with the tax cuts is that it was obvious, early in Bush's Presidency, that the tax cuts responded to a surplus that was largely the result of revenues from taxes on frenzied tech bubble transactions. Good government required either a repeal of those cuts or an aggressive effort to reign in spending to make those tax cuts budget neutral, and Bush failed to make any headway on either front.His foreign policy now seems, even by his own low standards, strangely idiotic. I've read the theory that Iran has no intention of maintaining any sort of standing nuclear arsenal, as this would invite more opprobrium from the international community - and something even nastier from powerful Israel. Instead, its hypothesized that Iran wants to master the enrichment process such that they can build a nuke in two or three weeks without actually holding any. This would explain, the argument goes, the Iranian desire for 'conciliation' today.Assuming this is correct, what's to be done about it? Oh, I know, neocons. Encourage them to self-actualize. Fucking morons.
It depends, you know
At the time I thought Bush was a disaster; the classic bad farmer who eats the seed-corn in the summer, setting you up for a long winter. But the more time passes, and the more we see of Obama, the easier it becomes to get nostalgic. Expanding Medicare was idiotic, but compared to Obamacare it was austerity itself. He intervened too much in Iraq, but compared to Obama's cowardly and (frankly) evil refusal to assist the Syrian people, he was positively Churchillian. And so on.Ultimately, what matters is the reference class. If we're comparing him to the finest Presidents, like Reagan or Coolidge, he's a monumental failure. But comparing him to trash like Obama makes him look much better. Ultimately politics is the art of the possible.
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At The Washington Post
At The American Prospect