Even to his defenders, Bush's legacy is 'debatable'





George W. Bush was supposed to be a president schooled in consensus building and tough, effective management.

However, the first chief executive with a master's in business administration — from Harvard, no less, and the son of a president known for his foreign-policy expertise — is leaving President-elect Barack Obama a nation that's arguably in the worst shape since Herbert Hoover left Franklin Roosevelt the Great Depression and a world in which fascism was on the march 76 years ago.

"Obama gets Pearl Harbor and the Depression all rolled into one," said Gleaves Whitney, the director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies in Grand Rapids, Mich.

While scholars estimate that it takes at least a generation before a president's legacy can be analyzed objectively, many already are unflinching in their assessment of Bush.

The 43rd president presided over a "free-for-all in which powerful insiders . . . have played roles as policy entrepreneurs," said Karen Hult, a presidential expert at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.



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