The first draft of history is always poorly edited


Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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5 Responses

  1. T. Sifert says:

    You’d have hoped that a site like Big Government would at least have the self-awareness to lead with the second half of Rahe’s article in which he addresses Bush’s domestic policy. As for the other article, I am as drawn to Bush’s personality as the next guy that will admit it, but holy smokes: “George W. Bush seemed to have an almost mystical understanding of what the American people needed when we needed it most.”Report

  2. Kyle says:

    One of the things I struggle with is reconciling the Bush administration’s policies and actions with President Bush, himself. Very few people who are not George Lucas created characters are defined by one characteristic, and with the former President there are examples of his compassion and his glibness, his superficiality and his deeper understanding. His poor public speaking doesn’t help his case but ultimately I end up thinking this is a fairly good human being who probably shouldn’t have been President but doesn’t deserve the vitriol hurled his way.

    His administration is similar, there are some very, very good things they did that are often obscured by the significant number of unquestionably bad things they did.

    This is very Lee Adama of me, but how angry can we be at what transpired when collectively we’re responsible for putting these people into power and in some cases they did precisely what we asked of them? Where is the line between criminal irresponsibility on their part and on ours?Report

    • North in reply to Kyle says:

      Much of what Bush did I can defend or at least accept as part of the nature of the party he was beholden to. For instance it’s pretty well known that he was genuinely kind and accepting of gay people in his life even as his administration trammeled all over them. I can forgive that, he’s a republican, it’s what republicans do. The borrowing and spending? Hell he’s a politician and betraying his parties core principles isn’t cost free in the long run so knock yourself out Bush.

      What I can’t forgive is the torture and especially the refusal to come clean about it. If he and his administration felt that they had to torture then fine they should have said so and let us debate it. But the secrecy? The denial of it all? You can’t forgive that. It’s darkness in the heart of the country. I don’t want to sound Sullivanesque but it was the only thing he did that I thought genuinely threatened the actual survival of the country.

      And unlike Lee Adama our people are not going to commit collective cultural suicide and forget everything about ourselves in a generation so we need to actually deal with the monsters in our midst. If I thought we were all going to turn into spear chucking antelope chasers in a year or two maybe I’d be more forgiving.Report

      • Kyle in reply to North says:

        Hah, that was the worst Lee Adama decision in a long history of terrible Lee Adama decisions, that said his closing argument at the Baltar trial was and remains one of the more impressive TV monologues I can recall.

        I see your point on torture and in large part agree. Also, the whole “enemy combatant” I guess I can hold people without being accountable to anyone thing was a huge problem for me. One could say it was quasi-Lincoln-esque, but it’s established fact that Lincoln freed the slaves with his bare hands so he gets a pass.Report

        • North in reply to Kyle says:

          Agreed Kyle, and yes Lincoln did get in on the whole enemy combatant thing but he didn’t go out of his way to keep it secret. It’s the secrecy PLUS the violations that gets me hopping up and down mad.

          The BSG thing hits a nerve with me. I’ve never enjoyed a series so much and then had one single episode not only leave me spitting mad but also transmuting my view of the whole series into a negative. It was like they’d discovered some alchemic principle for converting gold to crap.Report