"VERY PROUD OF THE PERSON HE BELIEVES HIMSELF TO BE." On the Daily Show on Wednesday, Jon Stewart interviewed Robert Draper, the author of Dead Certain: The Presidency of George W. Bush. In the course of the interview, Stewart gave what may be the most concise, insightful description of George W. Bush, the man, that has been offered in the last eight years:

"After reading this book, I get the sense of a man who is very proud of the person he believes himself to be, but he is in fact the opposite of that person."

Hard to say it better than that.

As I was watching the president last night, I couldn't help but ask myself: what, as a writer, am I going to do when he's gone? Between a book, a couple of hundred columns, and innumerable blog posts, I'd estimate that I've written somewhere between a quarter million and a half million words about him over the last five years. When his presidency started, I was a graduate student intending to spend my days as an academic, penning articles on obscure topics in media studies and political science that would be read by a few hundred colleagues at most. But George Bush changed my career and became my muse.

In fact, there is a whole generation of progressive writers who were not writing before Bush came into office. They are an extremely talented bunch, and I have no doubt they'll have lots to say in the coming years. But if a year and a half from now there is a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress, it's going to be a challenge to find things to complain about every day. I don't mean to say that those Democrats won't do lots of objectionable things - surely they will. And of course, Republicans will still be around. But disappointment is never as much of a spur to creativity as outrage. I guess we'll just have to see.

-- Paul Waldman

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