“Miss me yet?” on steroids – from Toby Harnden in the Telegraph:
…Whereas Obama was glum, wondering aloud whether 9.6 per cent unemployment might be “the new normal” and griping that as US president “you’re held responsible for everything but you don’t always have control of everything”, Bush used his interviews to display an almost giddy insouciance.
On the Oprah Winfrey Show, Bush charmed the woman who had proclaimed Obama as “the One” and hailed his “tongue dipped in unvarnished truth” in Iowa back in 2007.
“When it [the presidency] was over, I knew I’d given my heart and soul, I’d poured everything I had into the job and was grateful for the opportunity to serve,” Bush said.
With his characteristic corny self-deprecation, Bush said he had enjoyed the writing process. “I know full well it’s going to come as a shock to some people. A lot of people didn’t think I could read, much less write.” Boom boom…
I had thought it would take 20 years for time to rub off the edges of hatred and bitterness directed towards President Bush. As someone of historical bent, my belief is that President Bush will be remembered as one of our strongest and most influential Presidents. Not in the top five (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, Reagan), but in the top ten. Little did I suspect how absolutely terrible Obama would be as President – rehabilitation for President Bush has taken less than two years.
What we miss in President Obama is first and foremost that confidence in America. Even when Obama says words about a confident America, it seems like rote recitation – like something his speechwriter threw in because its just part of a Presidential speech. With President Bush, no one could ever have any doubt that he really believes in American exceptionalism and our ability to overcome all obstacles. Obama is floundering like Carter not just because, like Carter, he’s been dogged by bad economic times but because, like Carter, he isn’t acting like President of the United States of America…he’s acting like he our Professor in Chief; our Grand Lecturer.
Obama does need policy modifications in order to win re-election in 2012 – but he also needs to convince the American people that he’s really interested in America being the most powerful and greatest nation in the world. That is how we view ourselves (entirely correctly, by the way), and it is how we want our leaders to behave. Until Obama can manage that trick – which, for Bush, was effortless and natural – he’ll never get our trust back.