The Sunday November 2nd New York Times included in its editorial supplement a collection of short essays titled "What I Will Miss About President Bush."
Journalist Robert Draper, who interviewed Bush six times, wrote of Bush`s human decency.
Two former Bush press secretaries, Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan, spoke of his "moral clarity" and "sincere concern for promoting human dignity."
These insights from people who have worked closely with Bush comfort those like me who have had little good to say about the President since he took office in 2001.
In the fifty or so columns I have written for the Lodi News-Sentinel since Bush`s inauguration, I have not written about his high moral standards or kindliness.
I have instead criticized Bush`s policies from the beginning to the end of his administration, calling him the worst two-term president in American history. And, although it doesn`t make me happy to say it, I believe my evaluation is accurate.
One of Bush`s major pieces of legislation, The No Child Left Behind Act, is a disaster. Bush`s Iraq War was ill conceived and it, as well his bloated government spending, has driven the country into a debt hole so deep it may be impossible to climb out.
But since we can`t really be sure if Bush`s former inner circle truly believe their flattering remarks about their former boss or are merely being generous during his last days, let`s move onto more solid ground—Bush`s legacy.
Bush has, without a doubt, killed off the Republican Party. You can say good-bye forever to the Grand Old Party.
The choice of John McCain to represent Republicans in the presidential race was a bad one. But Bush`s eight-year record dealt McCain a hand no one could win with.
In forty-five states, McCain received fewer votes than Bush did in 2004. In California, McCain fell way off, getting only 37 percent of the total versus Bush`s 44 percent four years ago.
So tiny were the gains in the remaining five states where McCain outperformed Bush that they are no comfort to the GOP. Oklahoma and Alaska, long time Republican strongholds, each produced less than a 0.1 percent increase.
Another sober note for the Republicans is that new voters, especially those under 25 in key states like Florida, Illinois and California, predominantly register as Democrats. This may represent a repudiation of Bush`s policies or perhaps an Obama infatuation. But the bottom line is the same: more Democrats.
Another journalist asked by the Times to comment explained the reason for Bush`s failures that led to the Republican Party`s subsequent collapse.
Paul Burka, senior editor of Texas Monthly, noted that while Bush was governor, he was "the best politician" he had ever seen. Bush, recalled Burka, worked with Democrats to improve public education, filled Texas Supreme Court vacancies with moderates, and ran his administration without scandal.
But Burka wrote that when "he reached the White House, Governor Bush vanished to be replaced by President George W. Bush—a person I didn`t recognize. He was never to return."
Without question, Bush`s failures cleared the path for President-elect Barack Obama.
Now I have a few words about Obama.
Although it`s too late now, he should have been more careful about what he wished for.
After Obama`s two-year campaign and countless stump speeches, he`s reached his goal. In some corners of America, euphoria reigns.
But now, and this is a tall order, Obama must deliver.
Obama`s honeymoon with the American people, traditionally the first 100 days of a nascent administration, will be much shorter. In what could possibly represent a vote of no confidence and an ominous sign, since Obama`s election the stock market has continued its steep decline.
And, tellingly, in his first post-election speech, Obama hedged his bets remarking that it may take more than one single term to fulfill his promises.
Sorry, that won`t cut it.
Obama promised everything to everyone. If he can`t make good, he`ll never get a second chance.
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.