In an exclusive interview at his home in Stamford, Buckley, 81, praised Bush as a decisive leader but characterized the Iraq war as a failure, CBS News reports.
"If you have a European prime minister who experienced what we've experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign," Buckley said Saturday.
Buckley thinks the Iraq War has "engulfed" the Bush administration.
"I think Mr. Bush faces a singular problem best defined, I think, as the absence of effective conservative ideology -- with the result that he ended up being very extravagant in domestic spending, extremely tolerant of excesses by Congress," Buckley said. As to his foreign policy legacy, Buckley said, "there will be no legacy for Mr. Bush. I don't believe his successor would re-enunciate the words he used in his second inaugural address because they were too ambitious. So therefore I think his legacy is indecipherable."