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Ex-president Bush

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With negotiations — and protests — underway over Bush’s presidential library, and analysts trying to predict what his legacy will be, I’ve been musing about a not-so-far-off time. Specifically, what will Bush do once he waves goodbye for the last time and leaves office in 2008?

I figure it’s pretty certain he won’t be sent on any goodwill ambassador missions like his dad and Clinton have been. I mean, where could he go? Disaster relief? Not after Katrina. International diplomacy? I don’t think so. Blue-ribbon commissions? I can envision plenty of snarky responses to that question, but not Bush sitting on one.

Humanitarian work? He just doesn’t strike me as the “establish a Habitat for Humanity” type. Donate to charity? Sure. Run a charity? No. Though he could prove me wrong there, especially if he consciously attempts to gild his legacy.

The welcome mat isn’t really going to be out at the RNC or the other usual partisan haunts. It’s not just disagreement on specific issues. Many of them are mad at him for losing Congress — and perhaps positioning them for even heavier losses in 2008. That kind of odor doesn’t go away quickly. Then there’s the whole thing about rampant incompetence. If he doesn’t pull something out of his hat, he’ll be a political pariah in his own party. Even the Neocons will shun him, for setting their cause back 20 years or more.

Recent reports offer one clue: he wants his presidential library to have a conservative think tank associated with it. So maybe that’s how he’ll spend his time. Of course, that raises the snarky question of whether they will actually be conservative, or will they use Bush’s definition of the term? And “Bush” and “think tank” don’t really belong in the same sentence anyway. Expect his role to be more of frontman and funder rather than policy wonk.

With so many doors closed, and him not being a real elder statesmen type, I’m having a hard time envisioning him doing much more than going back to Texas and cocooning. Maybe doing some well-paid speeches to the faithful. Maybe organizing his papers. Maybe clearing a lot of brush down in Crawford. But mostly just kicking back and enjoying retirement.

I’m not trying to be mean here; for one thing, who cares if that’s all he does? There’s no requirement that ex-presidents be any more publicly involved than any other retiree. I think he’ll turn out to be a bit like Gerald Ford — although even Ford was more involved in (and credible on) public policy than I expect Bush to be.

Weigh in with your own opinions. Try to keep it thoughtful; the cheap shots are just too easy, and I think I used most of them already anyway, counting the Franklin Pierce biography this story links to….

About Sean Aqui

  • SHARK

    You’re right: the cheap shots are just TOO rich and WAY TOO available — Which means that if we all show some restraint, this will be the deadest thread around here in weeks.

    =====

    I’ll show some restraint.

    =====

    PS: My serious prediction: bush will pretty much disappear from the public stage — and when he does appear in public, he’ll be met by angry crowds.

  • Nancy

    I don’t think he WILL leave in 2008; I think he & cheney are setting things up to possibly pull a coup by declaring a national state of emergency due to some sort of proclaimed ‘crisis’ 9undoubtedly of their own making) regarding terrorism & national security, and he’ll announce that due to the situation the elections will be suspended, etc. Looks like it to me, in light of all the carefully orchestrated violations of the constitution & rights BushCo has been pulling over the last few years, each one a little more outrageous than the last, as if they want to see how far they can go before someone screams – and what they then will try to do about it, which to date is not a helluva lot.

  • Nancy

    Best case scenario: he & Cheney are indicted, tried, and executed for treason & misconduct w/malice aforethought, and their carcasses left for the dogs to eat.

  • http://midtopia.blogspot.com Sean Aqui

    Nancy, I get the feeling you don’t like Bush much…. :)

    I didn’t get into Cheney. I figure he’ll slip back into the dark pit he emerged from, muttering about how the “librals” lost us another war, and insisting that victory was just around the corner in this, the best of all possible worlds.

  • Lumpy

    I think in the near future some cushy CEO spot will be waiting for him. Then 20 years down the road historical revisionism will elevate him to the position he deserves. Of course that’s only assuming we survive the coming worldwide religious wars, which seems increasingly improbable with the pack of jackals we have in congress now.

  • Baronius

    I’d be very surprised if he cares what his legacy is. Whatever one’s political affiliation, it’s pretty clear that the recent Democratic presidents have been far more preoccupied with their place in history. Carter and Clinton can’t get enough press. On the Republican side, Nixon craved a return to credibility, but Ford and Bush Sr. were content to leave the limelight. Of course, it’s tough to assess Reagan. So if party is any indication, Bush should be fine clearing brush.

    I’ve asked Nancy before, and I’ll ask her again: will you offer an apology in 2009 if your coup predictions prove wrong?

  • Martin Lav

    Why wait to clear the bush?
    I say clear it now.
    None too soon.

  • steve

    The liberal media put clinton and carter in the limelight. they would never provide any information suggesting a conservative would have a positive post-presidential lifestyle. Thats just how it is. In defense of liberals…I dont think that Bush will exactly be conducting speeches and lectures in the same context as clinton. no matter how much of a conservative I am…I will own up to it that he CANT speak in public!!

  • Nancy

    I really don’t know why people get the idea I don’t like that stupid, arrogant, smirking, incompetent, two-faced, treasonous scum [Bush]. It must be what they read into my generally neutrally phrased commentaries. ;)

    If no coup is openly made or attempted, it will only prove to me that someone somewhere had enough guts to either talk him out of it or pull the plug quietly on him & his puppetmaster, Cheney.

    And if, on the other hand, I’m right? What then, Baronius? What’re you willing to put up?

  • Baronius

    I didn’t ask you to put up anything but an admission of error. I’d gladly do the same if I’m wrong. But I notice that you’ve already backpedalled away from a future apology, by explaining why it might not happen.

  • Nancy

    Frankly I wouldn’t apologize for anything I’ve ever said bad about Bush, because if he’s not guilty of that specifically, I’ll bet there’s plenty we don’t know about he is guilty of. No. He’s a bad person, a bad man, and a bad president. Nothing to apologize for whatsoever.

    I WILL apologize to YOU specifically for being in error, however. If either of us can remember that long.

  • Baronius

    To Steve’s comment, I’m as suspicious of the liberal press as anyone, but I think there’s something else at play. If you believe in an activist government, you consider your time at the highest government position to be your biggest success.

    Ford had no need to relive his glory days as president. He had his football memories, his years in Congress, and his current life. Carter needs the restoration of his image in a way that Ford never would.

    Take a different pair of presidents, two recent successes: Reagan and Clinton. Reagan was as proud of his acting career as his political career. Clinton had nothing but a political career. There are huge differences between the men, especially age, but I think that Reagan was content to move along in a way Clinton will never be.

  • Mohjho

    Right, lets blame it on the liberal press.

    Baronis, Reagan had alzheimer’s, I doubt he had much on his mind after 86. Clinton was a Rhodes scholar, he, like Carter, will always keep busy doing something uber liberal.

    Cheney’s ticker is way overdue, he will probably go down with someones jugular in his teeth muttering “rosebud” or something.

    The Bushes will most likely try to keep GW from speaking in public by keeping him on his Texas ranch or their new Paraguayan fiefdom. But don’t worry, there are lots of Bushes where he comes from.

  • steve

    actually in January 2008 he will STILL be the president for one more year, before the liberal media attempt to recruit hillary or obama. If you put the two of them together…you have less than 8 years of political experience. 2 from barak obama and several years from hillary clinton. I hope they keep up pushing for these two candidates…the democratic party will miss its mark yet again.

  • moonraven

    Bush and Cheney should be dragged behind a Ford falcon through the streets (what’s left of them) of Bagdad.

  • troll

    I’d be satisfied with them in the dock at the Hague

  • Martin Lav

    Impeach them and put them in charge of Iraq.
    Let them clean up their own mess…..

  • troll

    actually I think that should be the job of the oil companies – who are far more able to plan strategically