In the here and now, however, this insistence on waiting for the verdict of history has one practical—and, to Bush, appealing—effect: It allows decision-makers to deflect legitimate criticism. If you believe a president's decisions are best judged by long-term outcomes, then by all means let history handle his legacy. But if you think presidents should be judged by their ability to weigh available evidence, ask the right questions, and make intelligent choices based on what they know, then—well, there's no time for judging like the present. Future historians, as well as lame-duck presidents, are free to conclude that you were mistaken.
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