Two Views on Bush: Savior vs. Dimwit
Charles Krauthammer and Jonathan Chait at opposite poles
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2013 12:07 PM CDT
George W. Bush waves to guests following the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center Thursday in Dallas.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

(Newser) Yesterday's dedication of the George W. Bush presidential library—along with his rising poll numbers—has led to lots of renewed pontificating about the Bush legacy. A sample of the pro and con camps:

  • Pro: Bush often gets reduced to the slogan, "He kept us safe." But he did far more, writes Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post. "He created the entire anti-terror infrastructure that continues to keep us safe." Candidate Obama may have vilified Bush's anti-terror policies, but he continued them himself as president. Krauthammer likens Bush to Truman, who left office scorned with an "inconclusive" war of his own, in Korea. But that war was just one early link in a chain of events that ultimately led to our Cold War victory. "I suspect history will similarly see Bush as the man who, by trial and error but also with prescience and principle, established the structures that will take us through another long twilight struggle and enable us to prevail." Click for the full column.

  • Con: Bush's defenders like to absolve him of blame for all his disastrous policy mistakes and give him full credit for everything positive that happened during his presidency, writes Jonathan Chait at New York. Sorry, but this president with a "highly simplistic mind" was awful at his job. "The failures of Bush’s governing method—the staffing of hacks and cronies, the disdain for evidence—was perfectly reflected in the outcomes," writes Chait. "Whatever small accomplishments that can be salvaged barely rate any mention in comparison with the failures." Click for the full column.