Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Assessing George W. Bush's presidency

April 13, 2010

When former President George W. Bush speaks to a pro-life group at Conseco Fieldhouse on Thursday, he will be among friends. Bush sided with abortion opponents as much or more than any president in memory, and 4,000 are expected to show up to hear him.

How he will go down in history in broader terms is another question. Bush was pilloried by both historians and the masses when he left office with an unpopular war in Iraq and an economy sliding into a tailspin.

Historians’ interests have turned their attention to President Obama, says Indiana University history professor Michael McGerr. However, he adds, even allowing for the fairly liberal-leaning views of many in the field, historians largely view Bush’s term in office dimly.

McGerr adds that Bush at least to some extent should be viewed as a creature of his time when it comes to economic issues. Republican-driven, free-market ideology was in vogue, and Americans elected him not once but twice.

On Iraq, the surge offered some hope for the morass.

“It seems to me he was a fairly capable person, more than critics allowed,” McGerr says.

What is your take on Bush? Thumbs up or down?

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