Bush as Carter Redux

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Hearing Dubya give an unrehearsed press conference in Israel just after Three Kings Day, I realized that, wonder of wonders, he might have finally grown into his job, so to speak – become thoughtful and articulate to a level he’d not attained before. Whether he succeeds in negotiating a new agreement there, he is looking clearly at posterity and understanding that he’d better shape up – that’s Up – to get out of the historical garbage pail to which his name will otherwise be consigned. (How doubly embarrassing to earn the Quincy Adams fate of being less than his father.) Impressive though his new smarts are, they probably come too late for him to be a better president.

Some years ago I wrote in these pages that the previous president most resembling Dubya is Jimmy Carter, both suffering, to quote myself, “self-righteous incompetence, not only politically but economically,” in addition to “an internal, yes spiritual arrogance that kept them from correcting policies that failed in the real world.”

My prediction now is that, much like Carter before him, Dubya will devote the remainder of his life to high-minded projects, well-publicized no doubt, that, thanks to the Good Luck that recurs in his life, will earn him a Nobel Prize.

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