“Gallup just announced that Americans’ favorable opinions of George W. Bush have risen. This comes as the Obama presidency ages, and now their favorable views of the Republican nearly match their feelings about the Democrat.
“Gallup now finds that 44% of Americans have a favorable view of the 43rd president, up about 10%, or four points since the end of his second term in January 2009. Obviously, the former chief executive no longer has a job approval rating.
“According to the authoritative RealClearPolitics average of polls, 45.4% of Americans now approve of Obama’s job performance, while 49.6% disapprove, compared with 53% Bush disapproval.”
“The contrast could hardly have been sharper. Bush, with his short, declarative sentences, so sure of himself he felt no need to probe further on one of the most divisive ethical issues of his tenure. Obama, with his finely rendered prose, meandering around as he inspects the subject from various angles, almost like a think-tank analyst…
“There is more to the presidency, of course, than handling television interviews. And an enormous caveat looms in comparing Obama on CBS with Bush on NBC: The former president didn’t have much on the line, other than some image rehab and a desire to boost book sales. The Lauer sitdown had a relaxed and reflective tone, as befits a subject who is no longer in the arena and has maintained a dignified silence for the last two years.
“Still, it felt like we were watching The Decider vs. The Agonizer. The man who approved torture and the man who tortures himself.”
“His candor, decency, self-effacement, and clear love of country stand in stark contrast to the current antagonist-in-chief at the White House, so it’s understandable that many on our side of the political aisle are feeling a bit wistful and nostalgic as Bush makes the rounds. (Pundit Press has a nice list of Bush positives.)…
“The problem, of course, is that Bush nostalgia is indelibly marred by his disastrous domestic policy legacy of big government, big spending, and betrayal of core fiscal principles — the very impetus for the Tea Party movement upon which he now heaps glowing praise.”
RUSH LIMBAUGH: If you had it to do over …? You were talking about Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. If you had it to do over, would you do the TARP bailout?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yeah, I would have because — and I think the reader will —
LIMBAUGH: What were you told about that? What did they tell you that made it …?
PRESIDENT BUSH: We were headed for a second depression. You know, they didn’t say it quite that way. You know, it was a little more nuanced than that, but “if you don’t do something big, we could see a second depression, or a depression bigger than the second depression.” And, you know, if you’re the president, you don’t have time to gamble. And I didn’t like using taxpayers’ money to bail out the people that got us in trouble. I didn’t like it at all, but when you’re president you get faced with stark choices, and I couldn’t have lived with myself had the country gone into a deep depression, and people’s lives would have been affected, people thrown out of work. There are a lot of people out of work today, and all of us are concerned about that, but the situation could have been a lot worse.
Click the image to watch.