The Bush/Rice legacy

THE BUSH/RICE LEGACY….In the NYT this week, Robert Dallek reviews Elisabeth Bumiller’s new book on Condoleezza Rice, “An American Life: A Biography.” One gets the sense the book probably won’t be too hard-hitting — Bumiller has a well-earned reputation for passivity, and Dallek notes the biography’s “above-the-battle tone” and refusal to “offer any decisive judgments on Ms. Rice’s performance.”

Most notably, though, there was this gem:

Ms. Bumiller says that if President Bush and Ms. Rice can produce a settlement in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians and an end to North Korea’s nuclear program, it would give them claims on success that would significantly improve their historical reputations.

After struggling a bit, I think the word I’m looking for here is, “Duh.”

As Scott Lemieux put it, “And if I discover a way of powering cars entirely with oxygen, emitting a vapor that would result in the immediate killing of cockroaches and paralysis in the hands of every Hollywood producer about to sign a contract with Joel Schumacher and Uwe Boll, my reputation as a world-class scientist would be greatly enhanced.”

Yglesias gets in on the fun, too: “By the same token, if earth’s yellow sun gave me the powers of a kryptonian, I’d be a super hero. If my blog had Engadget’s traffic, I’d be the most popular political blogger. If George Bush could breath underwater, he’d be a fish.”

To be sure, if Bush and Rice can bring peace to Israel (after seven years of intentional neglect) and solve the North Korean nuclear crisis (which they helped exacerbate through a meandering and misguided foreign policy), then sure, the progress would certainly “improve their historical reputations.”

But if that’s what it will take, I’m fairly confident that history will not be kind.

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