Saturday, November 13, 2010
It Took an Obama White House to Realize How Much We Miss George Bush
(The Telegraph) The 43rd and 44th American presidents are a study in contrasts, but the link between them is symbiotic, argues Toby Harnden. There could have been no Obama without Bush, and only Obama's stumbles could have made Bush look good again so quickly.
Just after his successor Barack Obama took a self-described "shellacking" at the polls, Dubya was back, mocking the current occupant of the White House by his very presence. For the 43rd President, the return must have been sweet.
During the 2008 election campaign, Obama slammed Bush at every turn. Since then, the 44th President has almost ceaselessly blamed his predecessor for everything, even stooping to lambast Karl Rove, Bush's long-time aide, by name during the recent mid-terms campaign.
Two years after Obama was anointed, the halo around his head seemed distinctly tarnished. In his post-defeat interview with 60 Minutes, Obama was at his most listless and meandering, projecting all the certainty of a Hamlet on the Potomac.
Who would have thought that the man hailed as a great American orator and whose stage at the 2008 Democratic convention was a faux Greek temple would be shown up in terms of the theatricality and articulation of the presidency by the man derided as a tongue-tied bumbler and global village idiot?
Looking at the 43rd and 44th American presidents right now, it is worth reflecting that it was only the unpopularity of Bush and all he represented that enabled someone as inexperienced and unproven as Obama to ascend to power.
By the same token, perhaps only a performance in office as myopic, self-absorbed and hubristic as that of Obama could have brought about a Bush rehabilitation so swiftly.