David Kirkpatrick

January 19, 2009

The Bush 43 legacy

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:39 pm

Here on the final day of his presidency, there’s no way to determine the legacy. One thing that’s becoming clear, he’s pushing the idea that his greatest achievement was preventing another attack on US soil after 9/11.

Andrew Sullivan makes a great point here that sums my thoughts exactly.

From the link:

In the end, the Bush presidency was something of a mixed bag: massive increases in the power of the federal Leviathan was the dark side. But President Bush’s most important legacy is the fact that he kept Americans safe after September 11.

The latter talking point remains as hard to gage as any. We simply do not know yet, from the vantage of history, whether Bush’s record in preventing another 9/11 style attack was luck or design or some mix of the two. We don’t talk of how Clinton “kept us safe” after the 1993 WTC attack – at least, I fail to remember that as a GOP talking point in 2000 – because from the vantage point of 2001, it didn’t look so great.

I have a sinking feeling that we surrendered enormous amounts of freedom and the heart of the Constitution … for the usual meager portions of pseudo-security. But the point is: I don’t actually know. No one does, except those whose direct interest it is to defend their own record.