When he leaves the White House, George W. Bush might be tempted to try out his own version of Richard Nixon’s famous line to the press that – “You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around any more.” Except that Bush junior doesn’t do self-pity. We learnt that in his rather strange closing press conference, when he adopted a whiny voice to say – “why did the financial crisis have to happen on my watch?” – before denouncing such sentiments as “pathetic” self-pity. From this I deduced that this thought is bothering him a lot.
Indeed, former leaders often spend a huge amount of time worrying about their images. I was once told that Lady Thatcher meant a special point of cultivating historians, in the hope that they might write something nice about her. They certainly don’t have much that is nice to say about George W.Bush. One recent poll of American historians found that 61% thought he was the worst American president ever and 98% rated him a failure.