“The most obvious of these are the failures to send adequate troop numbers to stabilize Iraq and Afghanistan after the overthrow of their previous regimes, the inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina, the dubious reliance on executive authority to enact tough anti-terrorism measures rather than trying to forge more of a congressional and public consensus, and of course the ongoing economic meltdown.”
Well, what do we mean by “history”? In 100 years I can’t imagine any of these will be considered a big deal except perhaps the “economic meltdown” IF things get really, really bad as many doomsayers predict. And then it will be remembered for all the horrible things that will happen afterwards (the collapse of China, the spread of worldwide totalitarianism, and the inevitable use of nukes somewhere). Certainly Katrina will be forgotten as will any debate about domestic surveillance (an utter triviality, and “history” will be shocked and amused to read the sort of things people said about it). Iraq & Afghanistan if anything will be looked at as just about the closest thing to ideal that is possible to have done (especially if things go really bad globally since there will be many, many cases of worse situations).
“If Iran goes nuclear in the first year of the Obama administration, as now appears likely, or if there is an attack on the U.S. staged from Pakistan, which is at least possible, then I believe Bush’s reputation will suffer far more than it already has.”
I think this is 100% right. Bill Clinton will be remembered for 2 things-being impeached and being president for the 8 years before 9/11. There’s absolutely no way to know right now how “history” will view George W. Bush.