As the Mr. Douthat points out in a response to Mr. Mead's excellent post:
In hindsight, I suspect, the most damning judgment on the politics of the 2000s will be that our leaders (well, many of them, at least) misjudged how long they had before the fiscal crunch arrived. It was understood, throughout the decade, that once the baby boomers retired there would have to be an era of belt-tightening and fiscal retrenchment — but that moment still seemed a long (or at least a medium) way off, and the problem of the entitlement system’s sustainability seemed like it could wait for the late 2010s or early 2020s.
He goes on to say:
Looking backward, though, it’s very bad news for the legacy of George W. Bush, whose fiscal record looks much more irresponsible in the cold light of hindsight than it did while he was in the White House. For a time, Bush’s hope for rehabilitation seemed to rest on the possibility of a decent outcome in Iraq, but now I suspect that even that won’t be enough to rescue his reputation: Both right and left bear responsibility for letting the 2000s slip away, but Bush was the decider, and his budgetary decisions look worse and worse with every passing day.Alas.