As mentioned yesterday, it's hard to think of people whose reputations have been burnished through service in the GW Bush Administration. Making the opposite list is easy: Eight years ago, Dick Cheney's reputation was as a level-headed foreign policy pro. Same for Donald Rumsfeld. Alberto Gonzales was a rising talent. Scooter Libby, a cosmopolitan lawyer. Paul Bremer, a successful diplomat....
Several people have written me with suggestions, almost all of them people who look better than those around them because they said, Watch out, things are going to hell! Richard Clarke; Lawrence Lindsey; Eric Shinseki; the Abu Ghraib investigator Antonio Taguba, etc. A less obvious but worthy suggestion would be Conrad Crane and Andrew Terrill, principal authors of the Army War College's prescient, and of course overlooked, pre-war handbook on how to run a successful occupation. (The study's history recounted here; subscribers only.) James Baker and Lee Hamilton of the Iraq Study Group?
A very interesting discussion is going on in the comments section of Ezra Klein's blog, here. The interesting part is the way you have to bend definitions to argue that the Administration has made certain people look "better." Eg, John Ashcroft: a better reputation as Attorney General than in his previous political career? Maybe not. A better reputation than what came after him, especially for his apparent sickbed opposition to a surveillance scheme? Maybe so.
But people who will be honored for an unambiguously positive contribution through these years? So far it's a challenging search. We have a John Yoo with his Yoo Theories on torture, but no George Marshall with his Marshall Plan. Any positive suggestions welcomed.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.