George W. Bush may not have been George Washington, and he may have outraged critics who hoped to turn him around on the Iraq war and waterboarding, and he may have been unduly careless when it came to spending taxpayers' money and increasing federal power through ill-conceived legislation, such as the No Child Left Behind Act. But he didn't contemplate, far less ram through, an unpopular "reform" of health; nor did he depreciate the work of predecessor presidents in advancing American interests abroad; nor regularly put the knock on businessmen; nor lecture Supreme Court justices on television; nor bandy witticisms with television performers; nor pass himself off as an authority on whatever came into view -- e.g., police procedures in Cambridge, Mass.; nor lower, in countless ways, the dignity of the White House; nor give the impression the main signal caller on Capitol Hill was Ms. Nancy Pelosi.
To one degree or another, we're all afflicted with grass-is-greener syndrome. That's to say, we're impossible to satisfy. We want to move on. "Change" is our middle name as a people -- a trait that keep scholars and fellow journalists busy trying to refurbish reputations stained by events.
Obama himself will benefit eventually from reappraisal, which isn't the present point. That point being, George W. Bush -- patriot, family man, church-going Christian, reformed drunk -- did his duty as he saw it for eight critical years in the life of his country. We can surely give him credit for that much.
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