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Everyone’s least favourite leader

by Archives March 24, 2009

George W. Bush is an American president who will forever live in infamy. In what will become an extensive tour, Bush made his first stop on the speech circuit in Calgary.
Calgary is a pretty conservative city, which explains why Bush chose it for his first post-presidential appearance. Despite this, the event drew numerous protesters who did every thing from pelting shoes on Bush effigies to demanding his arrest. Because of his tumultuous legacy, Bush will probably be getting chilly receptions regardless of where his tour takes him.
Bush was jovial during his Calgary appearance despite the less than stellar greeting from local protesters. As well as having high spirits, Bush was also humble, admitting he did make errors during his presidency. This change in attitude differs greatly from his hawkish behaviour while in office, and is likely the first step in his crusade to repair his battered reputation.
Upon leaving office, Bush was plagued with some of the lowest approval ratings in American history, second only to the late Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal. This almost universal disdain for Bush was the end result of the President’s poorly executed agenda, highlighted by two wars and a broken economy.
The humble and charming demeanour we saw in Calgary will be the new norm while the former President tries to change his image. New pleasantries aside, it is highly possible Bush will be looked upon in a more positive light as time passes. Nixon was reviled by America after his resignation from office, but many historians now look upon his Presidency with kinder eyes. Some will argue Nixon did more for American interests than Bush has, but Bush’s legacy wasn’t all bad.
Post 9/11, Bush was determined to shield America from terrorism, and shield it he did. Besides giving America a stronger military foothold in the Middle East, Bush’s offensive foreign policies safeguarded his country from further terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11 occurred. The invasion of Iraq, regardless of the true motivating factors behind it, now looks to be approaching the end and hopefully a successful return to democracy for the nation. In ousting Saddam Hussein, Bush was able to topple a dictator of unmatched cruelty.
Bush was faced with many difficult decisions during his presidency, yet his commitment to America never wavered.
Will it be enough to move Bush up the ladder of Presidential rankings? Not any time soon.
Protesters akin to those who showed up in Calgary will probably follow Bush around, as there is certainly a lot of discontent associated with the former President.
In the end, it is going to be much easier for Americans to forgive Bush for his failings and to applaud him for his successes, as opposed to the rest of the world. Bush always acted with America’s interests first and foremost.
But is this not what is to be expected of a leader, to look after one’s own before others? Or as the de facto leader of the free world, was it Bush’s responsibility to look past his own nation’s interests and see the larger picture? For better or for worse, history will be kinder to Bush than the present is; if only because he seemingly cannot become more unpopular than he is now.

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