He was not the best President of all time, but he was nowhere near the worst--and I have no doubt his reputation in popular culture will improve very rapidly except among the most rabid zealots.
So on his last day in office let me toss out three dissimilar links:
To trash Bush was to belong
Peter Beinart is all over the map on this one. Here's just a sampler:
Younger liberals, by contrast, have had no such chastening experiences. Watching the Bush administration flit from disaster to disaster, they have grown increasingly dismissive of conservatives in the process. They consume partisan media, where Republican malevolence is taken for granted. They laugh along with the "Colbert Report," the whole premise of which is that conservatives are bombastic, chauvinistic and dumb. They have never had the ideologically humbling experience of watching the people whose politics they loathe be proven right.
In this way, they are a little like the Bushies themselves. One reason the Bush administration fell prey to such monumental hubris was that it didn't take its critics seriously. Convinced that the Reagan years had forever vindicated deregulated capitalism and unfettered American might, the Bushies blithely dismissed liberals who warned about deregulation, or Europeans who warned about military force, on the grounds that history had consistently proved those critics wrong.
Looking forward, here's a web site devoted to keeping track of how a President Obama does on his campaign promises.
This President did damage the Republican reputation--but not in the way the lefties think he did. He was absolutely right in the need to go to war with Afghanistan and Iraq, and I'd have supported war in a couple other countries, too, if he'd have sent our men and women there. He was right in how he handled the War on Terror on the domestic front (except, as is usual for him, his "selling" of it to the public), and I support his actions on the international front. He was absolutely wrong in being a Democrat-lite on domestic matters; his actions weren't very Republican, and when given a choice between a fake Democrat and a real one, the public will always vote for the real one.
1,462 days from today I hope we'll be inaugurating a new president. Tomorrow, though, I'll thank one President for all he's done and welcome another one to the position and wish him well.