Byline: The Register-Guard
Historians of both the amateur and professional stripe began assessing the presidency of George W. Bush long before it entered its waning days. The main argument seems to be over whether he deserves to be crowned the worst president ever, or whether such predecessors as James Buchanan and Warren Harding retain their claim to the title. Any such judgments are open to revision, as the steady rise of Harry Truman's reputation shows. It's safe to say, however, that history won't reach a wholly negative evaluation of Bush's presidency. It's already possible to identify some policies, actions and successes that can be counted to his credit.
Perhaps greatest of all is something that didn't happen: There has been no terrorist attack on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001. Al-Qaeda has struck elsewhere in the world with devastating effect, and the group's top leaders are still at large. But apprehensions of a second Sept. 11 have gone unrealized, and have even begun to fade. Even those who fault Bush for failing to prevent the first attack must admit that during his presidency there has not been a second. And because Bush would have been blamed for not stopping a subsequent attack, it's only fair to count the absence of such an attack in his favor.
There are other bright spots. The Bush administration has been more deeply involved in Africa than any other, particularly in treating and preventing HIV/AIDS. …