In a piece in the Washington Post, Michael Abramowitz looks for Bush's legacy. He begins in Rove's office ("we're too busy doing wonderful things to worry about legacy") and peruses the Texas Monthly. What he comes up with is something I find incredible -- Bush's supporters really believed and continue to believe that he meant to be a uniter. You know, a real uniter, not someone who wants to force everyone to believe as he does.
Some of the president's own supporters seem to be coming to grips with the prospect of a much less powerful Bush legacy than they had once imagined. In an essay in the current issue of Texas Monthly, Matthew Dowd -- chief strategist for the 2004 Bush reelection campaign -- voiced disappointment that Bush's "promise to reform government in a fundamental way never fully happened," partly because of GOP success in the 2002 midterm elections.
When "all the levers of power in Washington became Republican, creating consensus seemed to become unnecessary at the White House," Dowd wrote. "That hurt him. Now, near the end of his presidency, when many of us thought we would have helped solve the problem of polarization, we're in an even more polarized place."
If Democrats are going to get anywhere at all, they're going to have to face and deal with enormous misperceptions on the right. Or, to put it another way, we're going to have to figure out a way of presenting the truth to them. Otherwise -- sheesh, talk about polarization! -- we'll be dealing with fantasy, resentment, and damaging anger for decades.
Here's a start. Rove on Clinton:
In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, Rove lavishly praised Clinton. "The 42nd president cared passionately about the fate of people who elected him. He exercised the full powers of his office. He mastered complex problems and made sure the president remained at the vital center of action," he said, recalling words of John F. Kennedy. "These things matter. And they will be seen to matter by history."