It seems unlikely that George W. Bush will be a giant in history like the presidents inaugurated 72, 144 and 216 years before. The threats to the nation are not as great. Yet his presidency may come to be seen as another turning point, and one in which the president's character, and the choices he need not have made but did make, could shape the nation for a lifetime to come.
Bush, as Yale's John Lewis Gaddis has noted, has transformed American foreign policy more than any president since Roosevelt and has decided to wield America's power proactively to advance liberty and democracy around the world. The recent advances toward democracy in the Middle East suggest he is on the side of history.
George Bush wasn't born "great"; and by no standard could one say that many of the decisions of his life were "great". He came into the Presidency as a flawed man and he will leave the same way; and in that he is little different from all the other men who have held that esteemed office.
But greatness was thrust upon George W. Bush by events in the world, and he has risen to meet those events with integrity, honor, and determination. I am not paid to say this (as some have suggested) but I believe it; and I see the evidence that supports it all around the world now.
It seems to be extremely difficult for those who dislike Bush to accept that he will have a much more significant place in history than his Democratic predecessor, but their weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth will not change the fact that Bush has transformed the world and moved humanity that much closer to universal liberty. We are not there yet, unfortunately, but because of Bush the way has been made clear for many millions of people.
In the coming days and months and probably years (Lord, I hope not!), you can look for those on the Left to continue to oppose every action; denigrate every idea; denounce every plan; gleefully highlight every mistake; and attack any person who stands on the same side of history as Bush. They will offer no alternative, because they have none. Their behavior is solely determined by fear. Fear that their own ideas and ideology have finally--finally--been shown for what they represent: the very antithesis of Freedom and Democracy. They are fading into the tapestry of history.
People in the world--when given a choice --reject the prophets of doom and gloom, and those of totalitarianism and oppression. They yearn for Freedom and self-determination. The ideology of the Left--that brought us communism, socialism and all forms of totalitarianism is dying. All that remains is the narcissistic rage of its followers and their ability to destroy what others create.
In their rage they cry out "LOOK AT ME! I AM STILL IMPORTANT! LOOK AT ME! DAMN IT, LOOK AT ME!" Then they throw their rocks, or spears, or rhetoric, or lies to get your attention.
Soon, no one will turn to look their way any longer.
UPDATE: Dawn's Early Light has a roundup of all the articles reconsidering Bush's policies in the light of events around the world. (hat tip: Polipundit)