He’s back

Question: What do the following three current news stories have in common?

1. White House Gives In On Bush Tax Cuts
2. Coalition Government Formed In Iraq
3. Afghanistan war deadline grows hazy: Senior officials say White House backing off plan to begin leaving next year

Answer: They speak to the partial vindication, or at least the staying power, of policies at the core George W. Bush’s presidency.
There are nuances associated with each headline. First, if in fact the White House has given in on the Bush tax cuts as applied to the wealthy, it has done so only temporarily. Second, the formation of the coalition government in Iraq is not the same thing as its successful functioning, and its successful functioning will not always yield outcomes to our liking. Finally, Bush commenced our action in Afghanistan, but did not escalate it to the current level — that was President Obama’s decision. But so was the decision to begin leaving in July 2011, which Obama is now backing away from. And that’s a decision Bush almost certainly would not have made.
In any event, all in all it’s a good headline day for the Bush administration. And a good week too, when we add Obama’s trip to india, which seemed to mark a partial restoration of Bush’s policy of closely aligning the U.S. with India.
The timing of all of this must be gratifying to Bush, as well. It coincides with his reappearance on the public stage as he promotes his book about a presidency that suddenly seems even more relevant than before.

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