The Washington Post had a fascinating article last weekend about President Bush. While he's not turned into a quivering mess like LBJ or a scheming megalomaniac like Nixon after Watergate broke, he is concerned about his place in history. At the same time, he's calm and goes forward with the belief that even though things are bad now, he's doing the correct thing with the nation. I think this is actually the part of Bush that has scared people the most throughout his presidency, his belief that he's doing what's right. Ultimately we don't know for sure now, it will take quite a few years to find out what the long term effects of his presidency are. He had the potential to be one of the greats, a Reagan or a Lincoln or a Roosevelt. Instead, he'll probably end up in the middle chunk with most of our presidents. Not as bad as a Carter or a Hoover but instead just there like a Polk.
How much of that is the result of his presidency and how much a result of the times? I think that the increasing polarization of politics has to some degree hampered Bush. Some of this was his own doing and some of it came from the Clinton era. As a result, he hasn't had a unified war front like past presidents have enjoyed. That, in turn, has led to a "wait the Americans out" strategy from the insurgents, which they most likely will be able to do. We can only hope that we've taken care of enough of the battles by the time we leave (which will be sooner rather than later - when you start hearing it compared to WWII in the length we've been there, even though casualties are improbably light, you know that the end is probably going to be nigh for political reasons) that they won't be able to pop back up. Of course, that's what was said about Vietnam, and they only lasted 2 years after we left