Saturday, January 20, 2007

½ down - ½ to go

Now that Bush's 2nd term is ½ over, it's pretty easy to state that once again a president has had an unsuccessful second term. Read that the last president to have a successful second term was Andrew Jackson, but given that the treaty of New Echota which led to the trail of tears was passed in 1835, I do not understand how anyone could view Old Hickory's second term as a success. Jefferson's second term included the of Meriwether Lewis from his expedition, so will nominate Jefferson as the last president to have a successful second term as president.

Don't believe that it takes very long for history's judgement to be made. Starting with Johnson, the first president that I was politically aware of, the judgement made on the presidents by the end of their tenure has held up for the intervening decades. LBJ - good marks for civil rights act, but Vietnam will always mar his legacy. Nixon - good marks for opening the door to China, but he was a crook. Ford & Carter were well meaning and feckless. Reagan proved that the presidency was still manageable after 4 failed presidency in a row - believe that to be his greatest achievement as president. Bush 41 - looks better now through the prism of his son - so perhaps his reputation will rise more than any of the other president of the past 40 years, but no dynamic achievements (GWI will always be viewed as a mixed legacy given GWII), so doubt that he'll ever move above Schlesinger's average category. Clinton's accomplishments are looking ephemeral and so are his negatives, so will doubt that he'll move far from the average category either.

For W, well his assumption of presidential power will prove to be ephemeral, but his foolish venture into Iraq will always be viewed as a huge error. Bush supporters like the Truman analogy, but Truman left office in low regard in large measure because of the Korean War, and history's judgement on Truman for getting us into that quagmire hasn't gone up greatly since. Our judgement however is balanced by his accomplishments of the Marshall Plan, creation of NATO, and containment of the Soviet Union - a balance of accomplishments that is lacking with W.

Not sure if it's worth continuing the metric/wager format, so will skip it this month, and only discuss Iraq and Hillary.

Bush obviously will not withdraw troops from Iraq during his presidency - can claim that Iraq was not lost on his watch - so I am curious how soon the major candidates will state a position on the Iraq War. The Iowa caucaus is less than 1 year from now, so by the Thanksgiving at the latest, anyone running for president will have to take a stand. Obviously McCain will be 'stay the course', and will guess that Obama will be the same, while Edwards will be a cut-and-run candidate. That only leaves Hillary - ending the fevered speculation - to fully decide if she's fully made the transition from war enabler to war ender.

Outside of Iraq, the Dems are clearly setting the agenda now.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?