Mon, Jan 28, 2008 - Page 7 News List

Writers rush to declare end of George Bush era

THE OBSERVER , LONDON

Being ignored is bad enough for anyone. But when you are president of the US it must be doubly humiliating. Yet Democrats are too busy fighting each other to mention him and Republicans fear to be associated with his record.

Now US President George W. Bush -- whose successor won't take office until next January -- is also suffering the indignity of having his historical legacy unfavorably examined while still having almost a year left of his second term. A slew of books and a planned major film are all starting to judge Bush's place in history even as he keeps the seat warm in the Oval Office.

And so far, the verdict does not look good.

The title of Jacob Weisberg's recent book says it all. The editor of online magazine Slate called his tome The Bush Tragedy. It is an exhaustive look at the Bush years that paints a portrait of disaster. A publicity blurb for the book, ignoring the fact that Bush has 11 months left in power, talks of the president's "historic downfall."

Weisberg is not alone in his brutal assessment of Bush's significance as the US, and the rest of the world, waits for the Bush era to be over. A book coming out in March is entitled Reagan's Disciple: Bush's Troubled Quest for a Legacy. It has been penned by distinguished Washington reporters Lou Cannon and Carl Cannon and paints a picture of Bush as a man who failed to live up to the expectations of his own party, which had thought he would be a "second Ronald Reagan."

To cap it all, film director Oliver Stone has announced plans to rush out a biopic on Bush in time for the November election. Though Bush may take some solace in being played by acclaimed actor Josh Brolin, Stone's record of liberal sympathies mean he is unlikely to get a positive treatment on the big screen. He will join Richard Nixon and JFK as having been the subject of Stone's movies. But both those presidents were dead when Stone made his films -- not still in office.

Experts say the rush to judge Bush's legacy in print and celluloid is a sign of the times and also of Bush's powerlessness.

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