Let me get this straight: Barack Obama hasn't taken office yet, but based merely on his appointments and statements Charles Krauthammer sees vindication of George Bush's policies?

The failure by Obama to order a 180 on every policy is not necessarily a vindication of any policy, and certainly not the Bush Administration as a whole. Indeed, the process of undoing a mess is almost always incremental by its nature. Nor does the keeping on of somebody like Defense Secretary Bill Gates, as Krauthammer would have us believe, necessarily validate Bush's Iraq policy.

All this reminds me of the scene in the movie version of Primary Colors in which fictional Gov. Jack Stanton (that is, Bill Clinton) in a fit of pique throws his cell phone out of the window of a moving car. When Stanton's wife, played by the gorgeous Emma Thompson, insists the phone landed near where she's looking, and she turns out to be right, Stanton's prideful character says something like, "Well, you wouldn't have found it if I didn't throw it out the window in the first place."

This is the sort of logic Krauthammer is deploying: Because Obama opts for what may be the only obvious means of solving some of the problems his predecessor bequeathed to him, including by means Bush himself may or may not have used himself had he more time left in office, does not however imply vindication of the decisions Bush made that led to the problems in the first place.

--Tom Schaller

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