When future historians start to seriously consider the record of the immediate past President of the United States, George W. Bush, they will wonder at how a man so moderate in temperament could have attracted criticism so vicious.
They will certainly rate him above many of those who preceded him in the late Twentieth Century, well above Jimmy Carter, LBJ and Nixon and slightly above Gerald R. Ford, but well below the the Gipper. They will wonder why, in 2005, after his reelection with expanded majorities for his party in the House and Senate, he failed to push any significant conservative reforms while having promoted the need to mend Social Security and to deal with problems at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Though it can be argued that he can and did “push” reforms of those two Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs).)
And they will wonder why he hesitated to shift strategy in Iraq in 2005 and 2006 when it would have been far easier for him to do so, both in terms of his own political capital and his party’s control of Congress than it was when he did change course in 2007 when he faced more of a challenge. The war had then become increasingly unpopular. The Iraq Study Group (led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III) proposed policy changes which were popular in our nation’s capital. The Democrats had taken control of Congress.
Yet, he ignored that group’s recommendations and undertook a bolder course, with little support even from his own party. And that course, the “surge,” succeeded.
Those historians will wonder why he waited so long when it would have been far easier for him to shift course immediately after his reelection or in the year or so immediately following.