love will keep us together
The Post has a series of pieces on the topic: "George W. Bush: What Will History Say?" Here are my thoughts on those pieces, based mostly on my opinion of the pieces' authors:
- I like Douglas Brinkley. I've heard him speak. He's a great historian and an engaging writer. And he's right that Bush won't go down as the worst American president ever.
- I don't like Michael Lind. His book was so bad I couldn't finish it. As for his assessment that W. is the 5th-worst president, he's not being fair to Madison, because he's looking at 1812 America, a place where security was relatively scarce, through the lens of later history. And I don't like Michael Lind.
- Eric Foner is a good historian. I think he's overdoing it a bit, but what else would you expect from someone who teaches at Columbia?
- I've never heard of Vincent J. Cannato. He has a cool name. And he's right to argue that it's way too soon to decide about W's legacy.
As for me, I agree with Cannato and Brinkley that it's too early to really decide. I also think you have to clarify what you mean by "worst president ever." If you measure it in terms of general ineffectiveness, W won't be anywhere near, say, William Henry Harrison. If, however, you measure on the basis of realtive policy successes and failures, he's in trouble.