Skip to comments.Rethinking George Bush?
Posted on 09/16/2010 5:06:44 AM PDT by Kaslin
Former President George W. Bush left office with the lowest approval ratings since Richard Nixon. In reaction, for nearly two years President Barack Obama won easy applause by prefacing almost every speech on his economic policies with a "Bush did it" put-down.
But suddenly Bush seems OK. Last week, the president did the unthinkable: He praised Bush for his past efforts to reach out to Muslims. Vice President Joe Biden went further and blurted out, "Mr. Bush deserves a lot of credit." Biden topped that off with, "Mr. President, thank you."
Even liberal pundits have now called on Bush to help Obama diffuse rising tensions over the so-called Ground Zero mosque and Arizona's illegal immigration law.
What's going on?
For one thing, recent polls show an astounding rebound in the former president's favorability -- to the extent that in the bellwether state of Ohio, voters would rather still have Bush as president than Obama by a 50-42 margin. Nationwide, Obama's approval ratings continue to sink to near 40 percent -- a nadir that took years for Bush to reach. It has become better politics to praise rather than to bury Bush.
Iraq seems on the road to success, with a growing economy and a stabilizing government. Don't take my word on that; ask Vice President Biden. He recently claimed that the way Iraq is going, it could become one of the Obama administration's "greatest achievements." Obama himself seconded that when the former war critic called the American effort in Iraq "a remarkable chapter" in the history of the two countries.
Then there are the growing comparisons with Bush's supposed past transgressions. Compared to Obama, they're starting to look like traffic tickets now. Take the economy and the war on terror. Americans were angry at the Bush-era deficits. But they look small after Obama trumped them in less than two years.
For six years of the Bush administration, Americans enjoyed a strong economy. So far, there hasn't been a similar month under Obama. Bush had a one-time Wall Street meltdown, but Obama's permanent big-government medicine for it seems far worse than the original disease.
If Hurricane Katrina showed government ineptness, so did the recent BP oil spill. Maybe such problems in the Gulf were neither Bush nor Obama's fault alone, but are better attributed to the inept federal bureaucracy itself -- or to freak weather and human laxity.
On the war on terror, Obama has dropped all the old campaign venom. Bush's Guantanamo Bay detention facility, renditions, tribunals, intercepts, wiretaps, predator drone attacks, and policies in Afghanistan and Iraq are no longer dubbed a shredding of the Constitution. All are now seen as national security tools that must be kept, if not expanded, under Obama.
In comparison to Obama and his gaffes, Bush no longer seems the singular clod whom his opponents endlessly ridiculed. The supposedly mellifluent Obama relies on the teleprompter as if it were his umbilical cord. His occasional word mangling (he pronounced "corpsman" as "corpse-man") and weird outbursts (he recently complained that opponents "talk about me like a dog") remind us that the pressures of the presidency can make a leader sometimes seem silly.
Bush now seems cool because he has played it cool. The more Obama and Biden have trashed him, the more silent and thus magnanimous he appears. Bush's post-presidency is not like that of Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton -- both have criticized their successors and hit the campaign trail -- but similar to that of his father, who worked with, rather than harped about, Bill Clinton. That graciousness not only has helped George W. Bush in the polls, but it finally seems to be mellowing out Obama as well.
Criticism of Bush got out of hand the last few years of his term. Writing novels or making documentaries about killing the president, or libeling him as a Nazi, is not the sort of politics that we want continued during the Obama years. So it makes sense before the general election to halt the endless blame-gaming, before what goes around comes around.
The frenzy of Bush hatred and Obama worship that crested in the summer of 2008 is over. We now better remember the Bush at Ground Zero with a megaphone and his arm around a fireman than the Texan who pronounced "nuclear" as "nucular." Meanwhile, hope-and-change now seems to offer little hope and less change.
America woke up from its 2008 trance and is concluding that Bush was never as bad, and Obama never as good, as advertised.
But the Republican Party needs to be remade and, frankly, the next iteration should have no room for people like Bush.
I think the rise in Bushs’ poll numbers may be connected to the “blame Bush” mantra of the left. Americans are tired of it and the more Democrats do it, the worse they look and the higher Bushs’ poll numbers rise.
Excellent, Kaslin!! Thank you!
I agree, no room for compassionate conservatives or semi-Progressives.
I’m from Texas and have been a critic of the Bushs for some time.
Great, just what we need to de-motivate anti-democrat voters, more Bush cool-aid. Bush is not drawing fire anymore because he has disappeared, much to democrats regret. Recently they have been praising him (even on MSNBC) and asking him to come out and defend Obama on the ground zero Mosque issue, and I appreciate that he has not went for their bait. I always said, Democrats cannot survive without Bush.
I will always remember one of his last acts:
There is some symmetry there, and people are starting to recognize it.
You are very welcome
It’s because they are waking up and are seeing the light
I guess you prefer people like the lazy arrogant pos who currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave
VDH reflects on W ping.
I don't like massive spending. I don't like compassionate politicians who feel called upon to solve every problem -- with my money.
I like George Bush a heck of a lot more than I like Obama.
Saying that George Bush is not my ideal of what a perfect Republican ought to look like is hardly an endorsement of the Kenyan usurper. Give me a break.
Says who? ;-)
<< This is fine, as far as it goes. I voted for Bush twice, I don’t regret it, and I don’t engage in Bush bashing. But the Republican Party needs to be remade and, frankly, the next iteration should have no room for people like Bush. >>
And that’s not bashing Bush?
Bush gets the blame for obama’s ecomonic mess, but I think it started when Reid, Pelousy and the dims took over congress and the budget. I need to research US economic performance charts and graphs to see if that’s the case.
The hype being peddled by the MSM now is so radical and over the top that it has lost its credibility. Bush’s incompetence was as much a manufactured myth as was Obama’s brilliance. In the selling of Obama, a mysterious, hateful radical with an obscure history and total lack of qualifications, the image builders/destroyers have shown their true colors, and the public is paying less and less attention to them.
I think there should always be room for decency, kindness, perseverance, loyalty, patriotism, integrity ...
Trying to ‘feel better’ by rekindling Bush memories against Obama realities is a DOWNER not an UPPER.
I voted for Bush twice, but he led the country into a train-wreck allowing the socialists to come in and ransack the country.
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