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Bush's legacy

Rumors were swirling during recent months that President Bush stood poised to approve a payroll tax hike as part of a deal to save Social Security. I prepared to be outraged, of course, should Bush take the final step of undoing the one unalloyed positive accomplishment of his presidency (his tax cuts.)

The most exasperating aspect of the rumors was that Bush wanted this Social Security deal to help cement his "legacy." Can you believe that? I shouldn't have to explain the problems with this view, but I'll do it anyway.

First, a simple payroll tax hike is not exactly the stuff legacies are made off. Ronald Reagan brokered a very similar deal with Tip O'Neill back during the 80's. It extended the trust funds solvency for a few more decades, but it hardly even ranked as a footnote in Reagan's obituary. Reagan's legacy wasn't Social Security, it was tax cuts, breaking inflation, and the Cold War.

Second, Bush's legacy is Iraq. Right or wrong, good or ill, and whatever the final outcome, Iraq is and always will be his legacy, and cutting a deal on payroll taxes is not going to change that.

This may be premature, but I'm standing down on my "outrage alert" regarding a Social Security deal. He wakes up late, this president, but it appears that he's finally woken up to the reality that Iraq is his legacy, and if he doesn't want history to view it as a debacle, then he'd better focus all his energies on achieving as good an outcome there as possible.

Now I don't know whether this "troop surge" will work or not. The track record so far has not been encouraging, to say the least. Nonetheless, Bush's new plan and his new-found willingness to confront Iranian belligerence are signs that he is no longer content to let the war in Iraq stumble along on auto-pilot. That's by no means a sufficient condition to ensure an acceptable outcome, but it is a necessary precondition. For that reason alone, I'm inclined to view it as a positive development.


Maybe he can dust off the flightsuit and the Mission Accomplished Banner and parachute into the Green Zone.

Chimp is a joke. His legacy is that he is a liar and a traitor.

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