Last Licks

By Dan Froomkin
2:32 PM ET, 01/21/2009
The Los Angeles Times editorial board writes: "Like the war that came to define it, Bush's presidency conceivably could be viewed more favorably by historians than it is by the nation that looks forward expectantly to his retirement on Tuesday. But our verdict today is that, despite some important accomplishments, the Bush years were a time of squandered opportunities, shocking abuse of power and cynical abandonment of both legal principles and historical values."

E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "Bush did not respect the obligation of a leader in a free society to forge a durable consensus. He was better at announcing policies than explaining them. He dismissed legitimate opposition and plausible doubts about the courses he wished to pursue. It is partly because of these failures that Americans reacted by selecting a successor with such a profoundly different political personality."

Fareed Zakaria writes in his Washington Post opinion column that "keeping us safe" is a twisted way to judge a presidency.

Erik Kirschbaum writes for Reuters: "Editorial writers around the world have been taking their final printed whacks at George W. Bush, accusing the president of tarnishing America's standing with what many saw as arrogant and incompetent leadership."

Mark Knoller of CBS News tallies Bush's final numbers:

"U.S. Military Deaths In Iraq: 4,228.

"U.S. Military Deaths In Afghanistan: 634.

"Number Of Visits To Camp David: 149, totaling all or part of 487 days.

"Number Of Visits To His Texas Ranch: 77, totaling all or part of 490 days.

"Number Of Visits To His Parents' Home In Kennebunkport, Maine: 11, totaling all or part of 43 days."

And yes, that totals 1,020 days -- or just over 34 percent of his 2,992-day presidency. Ronald Reagan, the previously most-vacationing president ever, clocked a mere 866 days during his two terms.

Bob Garfield of NPR's On the Media has this response to Bush's thank you to the press corps at his final press conference: "Oh, really? Thank you? I believed him when he said 'you,' but I'm pretty sure 'thank' isn't the verb of one syllable he had in mind, because for the past eight years this White House has mainly given the Fourth Estate and the First Amendment the finger."

Jon Stewart notes the end of an era. "The last eight years have been -- gosh -- just -- well, great for this show."

David Letterman presents the final edition of "Great Moments in Presidential Speeches."

The Onion satirically reports: "A team of nine specially trained handlers have successfully lured outgoing vice president Dick Cheney into a reinforced steel traveling crate in order to transport him back to his permanent enclosure in Casper, WY, official sources reported Monday."

Air America offers an assessment of Bush by historians of the future.

On Saturday Night Live, Darrell Hammond as Cheney admits no regrets.

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