Bush’s Rehabilitation Begins With Obama

by Sal on January 16, 2009

in Politics,War on Terror

Charles Krauthammer has a column today comparing Bush to Harry Truman.  Both were not well-liked as the exited office, and yet Truman now is seen as as a great president.  Krauthammer believes that Bush will follow in Truman’s footsteps, and eventually be vindicated.  He sees Obama as the first step in Bush’s vindication.  For all of the relentless attacks by Obama of the Bush administration, he seems to be keeping many of Bush’s programs and personnel.  Says Krauthammer:

Vindication is being expressed not in words but in deeds — the tacit endorsement conveyed by the Obama continuity-we-can-believe-in transition. It’s not just the retention of such key figures as Defense Secretary Bob Gates or Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner, who, as president of the New York Fed, has been instrumental in guiding the Bush financial rescue over the past year. It’s the continuity of policy.

It is the repeated pledge to conduct a withdrawal from Iraq that does not destabilize its new democracy and that, as Vice President-elect Joe Biden said just this week in Baghdad, adheres to the Bush-negotiated status-of-forces agreement that envisions a U.S. withdrawal over three years, not the 16-month timetable on which Obama campaigned.

It is the great care Obama is taking in not preemptively abandoning the anti-terror infrastructure that the Bush administration leaves behind. While still a candidate, Obama voted for the expanded presidential wiretapping (FISA) powers that Bush had fervently pursued. And while Obama opposes waterboarding (already banned, by the way, by Bush’s CIA in 2006), he declined George Stephanopoulos’s invitation (on ABC’s “This Week”) to outlaw all interrogation not permitted by the Army Field Manual. Explained Obama: “Dick Cheney’s advice was good, which is let’s make sure we know everything that’s being done,” i.e., before throwing out methods simply because Obama campaigned against them.

Krauthammer is right.  Bush will be vindicated.  There were a lot of things that he did that I don’t agree with or think are wrong.  He moved this coutnry closer to state-ownership of assets.  But he kept us safe, engaged head-on the biggest threat of our time, and he worked for what he believed.  For that, he deserves our thanks, and this country owes him a great debt.  God Speed, George W. Bush, you will be missed.

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