Opinion

Commentary: Bush's exit interview

This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.

That was quite a performance by President Bush on Monday, delivering what he called the "ultimate exit interview." The president was alternately charming, somber, playful and defiant – just as he has been throughout his eight years as commander in chief. With less than a week to go as president, Mr. Bush deserved the stage, the attention and a chance to offer a final report on his achievements and failures.

The only problem was, President Bush offered more wishful thinking than thoughtful reflection, more spin than truth. History will be the judge of whether he got things right, Mr. Bush said. This is true. A starting point for those historians will be to understand that Mr. Bush's imprint on some policies has been so profound that the mere mention of certain words conjures up powerful, deeply disturbing emotions.

For example:

Katrina

Abu Ghraib

Guantánamo

Weapons of mass destruction

Waterboarding

Domestic spying

Rendition

Historians aren't likely to sugar-coat what these words have come to symbolize. Just as the words "Watergate" and "Monica Lewinsky" have come to stand for the wrongs of former presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, respectively, so, too, will Mr. Bush carry his own rich lexicon into history.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Miami Herald.

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