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  • Lance Mannion
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I think you give me too much credit, Lance -- my comment was the offspring of harsh contempt for W., and should have been better.

On the comparisons between W. and FDR, and FDR's supposedly second-rate intellect, it is helpful to consider that that supposedly second-rate intellect was educated before the rise of the mass media, and read Kierkegaard to relax during WWII. If the Republicans learned that about a modern Democrat, they'd transmute the bare fact of literacy into evidence of postmodern decay in a heartbeat. (Was Bill Clinton known for reading anything specific, other than Walter Mosley's mysteries, or just for reading?)

God knows what the mass media might make of it -- it's odd that, when the time comes for journalists' quadrennial attacks on the memory of the Carter Administration, some obese, Trekkie graduate of Goucher College or Hillsdale doesn't make a point of castigating JC for reading a pointy-headed New Testament Christian like Reinhold Niebuhr.

Earl Bockenfeld

I think you gave me too much credit also, Lance - my comment was the shock of seeing W. mentioned in comparison to any of his Presidental betters - but oh no, not Lincoln.

For me, a most telling comparison between Bush and Truman. All the details are not known yet, but NoOne has said, that attacking Wilson after the NYTimes editorial and hurting national security outing his wife is out-of-character with George Bush.

Truman and his wife Bess were insulted by Ike, by refusing to enter Truman's White House for the traditional tea on Truman's last day. Yet Truman worked hard, and counted it as a major achievement to reach cordial relations with both Ike and Nixon. Truman did have a temper, but he destroyed Ike's letter about divorcing Mamie to marry his WWII driver, which would have hurt/ruined Ike's run for president. For me, this puts Truman's greatness on a very high personal level and not just the Office and Presidential leadership.

Near the end of Truman's term, he was competing with Bush for the worst-President's ranking, but history has pushed him up now near the top. I sense that Jimmy Carter's elevation is coming, and think it's long overdue. I suspect that George Bush's ranking as the worst-President will only sink lower with time.

Exiled in NJ

I love the Harry Truman who took a walk every morning once he retired. He may be our last president to return to truly private life. And he wore a hat, perhaps the last American I can recall doing so.

Somehow I can't see our present disaster mountain biking once he leaves office.

The Heretik

I think Rasselas and Earl don't give themselves enough credit. Some nice savage excellence all around.

Kevin Wolf

"calling 'em as you see 'em because you can't be bothered"

Good god, that's it in a nutshell. Excellent post.

I agree with Earl above that Bush's rep will sink like a stone in the mud of history. How can it not?

Earl Bockenfeld

Profound Presidential quotes are to be treasured, even if they pop-up way off-track to the post/subject at hand. I just did a post about militaristic nurses and the bird-flu and found a great LBJ on Gerald Ford, who was LBJ's favorite punching bag:

The lesson Bush learned from Katrina was that here was yet another instance with a military solution. The lesson most of the rest of us learned from Katrina was that the Bush Administration was a bunch of incompetent clowns, who, in Lyndon Johnson's wonderful description about Gerald Ford, "couldn't dump shit out of a boot if they had it by the heel."

Viscount LaCarte

Excellent post, but...

"Truman: As US Senator took on war profiteers.

Bush: As President gave no bid contracts to Haliburton."

Should have read:

Bush: Comes from a family of, is a, and has surrounded himself with War Profiteers!"

"Meet The Carlyle Group"

"Long video about The Carlyle Group." The first two minutes are in Dutch, but then it switches to English. Unbelievable.

Then there is "Bush's Grandfather"


good posts, good comments.
i am not so confident about
bush's reputation in posterity.
everything we're saying about bush
now we were saying about reagan in 1989-
before the hagiographers got control of
cable-tv. now he is saint ronny.

i can't give you the exact source, but i remember
this great line i read back in college-
"history does not repeat itself,historians do."

as long as conventional wisdom is endlessly
recycled by bought-and-paid-for mouthpieces
entrenched in rightwing thinktanks-we can be drowned out in the mass media.
this influences how
history will be taught in schools.
never underestimate the cumulative effects of
corruption, laziness and nostalgia.

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