Friday, June 13, 2008

What will Bush's legacy be?

The time is quickly winding down on the Bush Presidency, and the International Herald Tribune had an interesting article today looking at the legacy question, especially from a European perspective:
    The finale of George W. Bush's presidency has never seemed more imminent as it has during his tour of European capitals, a farewell visit in which reminiscence, valediction and even eulogies trailed him.

    At the Vatican on Friday, Pope Benedict XVI gave the president a tour of the gardens where he prays each evening - the first time a pontiff has done so - and then offered a gift of four volumes about St. Peter's Basilica with an allusion to a life after office.

    "Perhaps you'll have some time to read it," Benedict told him. ...

    Legacy is a word over which Bush's aides profess not to dwell, and the president himself seems averse to reflection. "The president does not have second thoughts," his press secretary, Dana Perino, once said.

    But his legacy hangs over his eight-day visit to Europe nonetheless - in interviews he has given to foreign journalists, in his friendships with European leaders, in his appearance Thursday night with Berlusconi when he had to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court's rebuke on the Guantánamo Bay prison, which remains an unredeemable blemish for many in Europe and beyond.