Bush has had a tough second term in office. But I think history will be kinder to him than the opinion polls, at least in the past couple of years, have been. When the country looks back at Iraq and sees a standing, even if fragile, democracy, Americans will see that when they became impatient, Bush forged ahead. When they were ready to give up, he was undeterred. And as a consequence the Middle East has its first Muslim democracy, and a pro-American democracy to boot. The lesson of Iraq may well be: Thank God we didn't listen to those advocates of defeat on the left; if we had, it would have been Vietnam all over again.
The diplomat Clare Luce once wrote that history, which has no room for clutter, will remember every president by just one line. I'm not quite sure how Bill Clinton will be remembered: perhaps his only distinguishing mark will be the one that Paula Jones identified. As for Bush, he will go down in history as the president who refused to back down, and if staying the course in Iraq proves to be the right move, then Bush could be remembered as one of America's great presidents.