Bush's legacy, all but set in stone as his days in office dwindle, will not only be the crippling war in Iraq, which he will leave to his successor to end, but stunning changes in government.
He just signed an astonishingly vast housing law, dismaying many conservatives. After threatening a veto, he privately, without the press to record the moment, signed a measure supposed to keep as many as 400,000 homeowners out of foreclosure (although more than 3 million are in trouble). But it also puts the government in the housing market in ways nobody can foresee and gives mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac an unlimited line of credit. Three out of four Republican lawmakers opposed it.
Bush so misunderstood regulation that he weakened dozens of federal agencies, installing incompetent people at the helm, pulling the rug from under them or cutting their budgets so substantially they have no enforcement power. In doing so, he increased uncertainties in the marketplace.
From the Food and Drug Administration to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to the Environmental Protection Agency, consumers and businesses are in a state of confusion. Whether it's global warming or clean air and water or safe toys or tobacco regulation, there are so many conflicting signals and such piles of litigation, it won't be sorted out for decades.
Bush's alienation of many parts of the world may be rectified or modified in a matter of months, depending on the next president's priorities. It is Bush's policies