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What Will Bush Do Next?--Skeel

Listening to President Bush’s short, somber farewell speech last night, I found myself wondering what he will do next. (It has been striking how much less speculation about Bush’s future there has been than with Bill Clinton, due to the failures of the Bush presidency). My guess is that Bush will set up a think tank, as Clinton did, and that he will focus on three issues. The first is promoting democracy around the world. This, and having protected the nation from a reprise of 9/11 for seven years, obviously will be Bush’s legacy, and I suspect he will spend a great deal of energy on democracy-related issues. The second issue is immigration.   Obama no doubt will take up immigration reform in a year or two, and I suspect that will send Bush around the country to promote a proposed overhaul that includes a prospect of citizenship for America’s 12 million illegal immigrants. In the meantime, Bush probably will speak frequently about immigration, which is clearly an issue he cares deeply about.  I would expect him to argue (and would personally agree)he that immigration and democracy are closely linked: more democracy outside America’s borders would remove some of the pressure for low skilled immigrants to escape their homeland and come to the US.

The final issue is faith based initiatives. Given how quiet things have been on this front recently, I was surprised to hear the President mention faith based initiatives last night. I suspect Bush will end up on the boards of one or more faith-based programs, and that he will promote these initiatives actively. Here, I suspect Bush may part ways with Obama a bit. Obama is likely to prohibit organizations that receive federal money from limiting hiring to those who share those beliefs. I suspect Bush will criticize this policy– though not in the first year or two of the Obama administration. Whatever else he is, President Bush is a true gentleman, and I suspect he will be solely a cheerleader for President Obama in the coming months.

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Comments ( 5 )

I find it interesting that people so freely label President Bush's presidency as a "failure" when there is NO WAY to know what would have happened had he chosen other paths of action. I am thoroughly disgusted with people who are only full of criticism of President Bush who would not have been able to handle half of the terrible circumstances left to him and foisted upon him in throughout his two terms.

I'm not saying he was perfect; NO president has ever been nor will ever be. I'm disappointed he did not work harder to communicate with the American People directly (as Reagan did) but am not certain about how much that is limited by a very biased media.

I'm disgusted with how so many people are influenced politically by pop "stars" and entertainers, as if they had some special knowledge or sense of things. PUHLEASE!

For all those Democrats out there who continually bash President Bush, I'll measure his presidency against Jimmy Carter's any day!

I don't think there's any doubt that the administration was a "failure" at least in the sense that it didn't accomplish many things it wanted to, endured any number of bad outcomes (Katrina) and left its party in a much weaker position than where it started.

That said, it's perhaps worth reflecting on the alternatives, e.g. Al Gore or John Kerry, and ask how their performance might have compared. It's hard to tell about Gore - his loss seems to have unleashed a rather manic Manicheanism that might have been tempered in office - but I'm willing to bet a great deal that Kerry would have been comparatively worse than Bush's second term, as low a standard as that might be.

I think he is going to convert to Roman Catholicism like his brother.

You say that "promoting democracy around the world" and "having protected the nation from a reprise of 9/11 for seven years, obviously will be Bush’s legacy."

I respectfully disagree; an assessment of his "legacy" would include a nation in economic crisis, a federal government in a significantly worse financial situation than the one he inherited, and a world where America's enemies are growing stronger. (Just this week North Korea has started to make claims that it has enriched plutonium.)

I leave to the side Katrina, the unitary executive theory, the unprecedented and explicit politicization of the Justice Department, and the inaction of the Federal Government in the face of mounting evidence of the damaging effects of greenhouse gases. But I suspect those will be part of Bush's legacy as well.

Appreciate the blog, though.


There's no way to know what Bush will do, but his reputation has taken a beating. Maybe he'll lay low for a while and clear some brush?