Ex-president Bush

Ex-president Bush


With negotiations — and protests — underway over Bush’s presidential library, and analysts trying to predict what his legacy will be, I’ve been musing about a not-so-far-off time. Specifically, what will Bush do once he waves goodbye for the last time and leaves office in 2008?

I figure it’s pretty certain he won’t be sent on any goodwill ambassador missions like his dad and Clinton have been. I mean, where could he go? Disaster relief? Not after Katrina. International diplomacy? I don’t think so. Blue-ribbon commissions? I can envision plenty of snarky responses to that question, but not Bush sitting on one.

Humanitarian work? He just doesn’t strike me as the “establish a Habitat for Humanity” type. Donate to charity? Sure. Run a charity? No. Though he could prove me wrong there, especially if he consciously attempts to gild his legacy.

The welcome mat isn’t really going to be out at the RNC or the other usual partisan haunts. It’s not just disagreement on specific issues. Many of them are mad at him for losing Congress — and perhaps positioning them for even heavier losses in 2008. That kind of odor doesn’t go away quickly. Then there’s the whole thing about rampant incompetence. If he doesn’t pull something out of his hat, he’ll be a political pariah in his own party. Even the neocons will shun him, for setting their cause back 20 years or more.

Recent reports offer one clue: he wants his presidential library to have a conservative think tank associated with it. So maybe that’s how he’ll spend his time. Of course, that raises the snarky question of “will they actually be conservative, or will they use Bush’s definition of the term?” And “Bush” and “think tank” don’t really belong in the same sentence anyway. Expect his role to be more of frontman and funder rather than policy wonk.

With so many doors closed, and him not being a real elder statesmen type, I’m having a hard time envisioning him doing much more than going back to Texas and cocooning. Maybe doing some well-paid speeches to the faithful. Maybe organizing his papers. Maybe clearing a lot of brush down in Crawford. But mostly just kicking back and enjoying retirement.

I’m not trying to be mean here; for one thing, who cares if that’s all he does? There’s no requirement that ex-presidents be any more publicly involved than any other retiree. I think he’ll turn out to be a bit like Gerald Ford — although even Ford was more involved in (and credible on) public policy than I expect Bush to be.

Weigh in with your own opinions. Try to keep it thoughtful; the cheap shots are just too easy, and I think I used most of them already anyway.

  • Joshua

    Several years after Ronald Reagan left the White House, I recall reading an article about how he had started reaching out to AIDS patients. His active involvement in this was short-lived, as it was shortly before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but it was a surprise to me, and to many others, to suddenly see Reagan develop an affinity for the AIDS cause. Perhaps GWB will also be one of those ex-presidents who turns up where you least expect him.

  • http://www.reconstitution.us/seren ascap_scab

    Dubya will do the paid lecture circuit explaining to anyone who pays the fee how he was right about everything, won the “War on Terror”, and blames everyone else. A ghost-written “memoir” will appear on the “best seller” list. Six months later, 95% of the printed copies will reach the “markdown bin.”

    Dubya will leave his fake (no cows) Crawford ranch for his actual ranch in Paraguay where he will host other fallen “leaders.”


  • Confused

    I believe if President Bush is wise, he will stay out of any kind of activity that involves money, including running a business or fundraising; his track record in those areas is not very good. I suggest that he should quietly support Laura Bush’s projects as a way of keeping busy.

  • BenG

    I think he should learn to speak Spanish real good so he and his buddy Vladimir Putin could spend the winter south of the Border and visit some other good friends that he’s done so much for during his illustrious career in office.
    Sorry I can’t play by your rules, but I’m much more concerned how my children are going to lead successful careers so they can have a good retirement some day. I not feeling overwhelmingly cheerful about their prospects these days.

  • Jason

    Honestly? I truly think he’s so stubborn and self-righteous that he will defend himself to the end, regardless of public opinion. He’ll stick with his own group – extreme right wing fundamentalists and conservatives, and be as loved at Pat Robertson is to the mainstream (ie, not very).

    I think if he had any leadership skills truly within him he wouldn’t have run his party straight into the ground at full speed, which he has done. And if he had any leadership skills, he wouldn’t have sat around for weeks telling the press he was going to wait for someone else (the Iraq Study Group) to make decisions.

    That isn’t ‘listening to the people’ – it was fully abdicating his responsibilities. And I think those actions are the best indication of what his legacy will be, and where he will position himself post-Presidency.

  • http://warning1938alert.ytmnd.com Jimmy the Dhimmi

    Maybe he will push the idea that cutting tax rates increases taxes. A lot of readers of this blog might look at that statement and think its just another garbled Bush malapropism, when in fact, he has proven that it is true.

  • Lewis

    I sincerely hope that Bush has a long, peaceful and wonderful retirement. He’s spent 8 years in the world’s most brutal job. He’s been brutalized and criticized without mercy and compared to the most evil or stupid people that ever lived.

    During the whole time, he has demonstrated what true class really is by never mud wrestling with all the pigs. He has shown a graciousness that has astounded me. I think this, more than anything, is what has driven the Bush haters to the near complete mental dysfunction that cost them their social skills.

    He’s the kind of guy that I would love to hang out with in some small Texas redneck bar, drinking beer, playing pool, having fun.

  • http://eclecticfloridian.blogspot.com/2006/05/george-dont-you-get-it.html Eclectic Floridian


    You could only say those nice things about Bush with a signed Universal Presidential pardon in your pocket.

    If you were in any less-privileged segment of the American populace, you’d prefer to see that crook tarred and feathered.

  • sleipner

    Personally I hope he spends the remainder of his days in jail, along with most of his cabinet, for crimes against humanity. Preferrably one of those “extraordinary rendition” jails where they beat you with cables to get you to make confessions about things you know nothing about…like him and leadership.

  • http://midtopia.blogspot.com/ Sean Aqui

    Heh. That gives me an idea for a new thread: “Books you’d like to see President Bush write after he leaves office.” “On Leadership” would be a bipartisan choice — Bush supporters would take it seriously, Bush opponents would file it under humor….

  • bob in fl

    No cheap shots . . . damn, that’s hard. I can’t think of anything I can say that would not seem like a cheap shot to his few remaining supporters. Oops! I just did it, didn’t I?