Thursday January 15, 2009
After two terms in office, President Bush has drawn his share of critics.
"It was a big sport over the last eight years to be a Bush hater," says Albemarle GOP Chairman Chris Schoenewald.
While a 34 percent approval rating reflects the battles the president's had with the left, area Republicans say they haven't always been thrilled with him either.
"As a conservative," Schoenewald says, "the worst thing that he did was try to put forward the amnesty for illegal aliens. Hands down."
"Having presided as a Republican president over a Republican congress," former Fifth District GOP Chairman Randolph Byrd says, "[they] basically ruined their domestic goodwill by spending us into the hole so dramatically. It's almost impossible to believe it was a Republican administration that did that."
Historians will say that, while it's easy to identify some of the good and bad things of the Bush administration, the president's legacy will change over the course of time.
"How long does it take for scholars and historians to kind of fix a president's legacy?" UVa historian Brian Balogh asks. "I'd say somewhere between 20 and 40 years."
Balogh. who works in UVa's Miller Center for Public Affairs, says the president's immediate legacy isn't good.
"I think he has a very good chance to be one of the worst presidents ever," Balogh predicts.
But while they've had their disagreements with President Bush, worst is not a word Republicans say they're willing to use.
"George Bush was no Ronald Reagan and won't be remembered kindly by conservatives and arch-conservatives," Byrd says, adding, "he will probably be remembered more kindly by historians than Republicans."
"With time and distance I think the hatred will diminish and we will see a fairly middle-of-the-road presidency," Schoenewald says. "Nothing stellar, nothing horrible."
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