The basic question, which they both mangled horribly (I’m shocked!) was, if George H.W. Bush’s and Jimmy Carter’s presidential approval ratings could be rehabilitated over the intervening years, couldn’t George W. Bush’s 27% approval rating improve with the passage of time.
First off, after the inevitable recession, or depression, we will be living through for the next couple of years, along with the inconceivably massive debt we will all inherit, two interminable, disastrous wars, a completely corrupted federal government and a near total loss of respect and credibility in the world, my prediction would be: no. Though, perhaps, the war crimes trials will help.
I wonder if it ever occurred to the brilliant leaders of our cable news gasbaggery that any ex-president looks better after eight years of the worst presidency of all time. I understand that James Buchanan and Warren G. Harding are asking for recounts. Seriously, George W. Bush makes his father look like John Kennedy and Jimmy Carter look like Thomas Jefferson.
Unfortunately, it appears that our corporate press has risen to the challenge of being able to make George W. Bush look good by comparison.
I missed posting this over the holidays but it’s worth revisiting. Check out what Robert Draper (author of the George Bush biography Dead Certain), had to say in an article for GQ on the interviews that shaped his book. Some highlights:
Karl Rove had sat for about a dozen such sessions–on one occasion, while he was autographing a stack of White House photographs.
Dick Cheney had spoken to me for an hour, and then, when I concluded by asking him if we could do a follow-up at some point, he consulted a schedule in his jacket pocket before grunting, “How ’bout three hours from now?” (Cheney was surprisingly voluble, unlike his wife, Lynne, who received me at their sumptuous Naval Observatory home but then seemed affronted by my every question–except for the ones that gave her an opportunity to say what an asshole John Edwards was.)
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and I conducted one of our sessions over margaritas;
[Dan] Bartlett and I, over enough wine to paralyze a rhinoceros.
Josh Bolten quaintly served midafternoon snacks in his office.
Condi Rice: cheerfully unforthcoming, but great legs.
Colin Powell: sorry, off the record.
Deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin: best storyteller in the White House.
Harriet Miers: the opposite. (But great legs!)
Don Rumsfeld, whom I interviewed in a semi-abandoned Pentagon annex after his resignation: flawless impersonation of Captain Queeg in The Caine Mutiny. (Bush later asked me about the interview, saying, “I’m worried about Don. I hear he’s gonna write a settling-scores book. It’s not me I’m concerned about–hell, I went out on a limb for the guy!–but others.”)
Matt Yglesias has the best take on the Shoe-Lobber so far, after being reminded by all how insulting this is in Arab cultures:
Is it possible that there’s a region somewhere where throwing shoes is a compliment?
The Iraqi journalist also calls Bush a “dog,” and indeed you can see from these grainy screen caps, Commander Guy does indeed cower like one.
Nothing wrong with the old man’s reflexes, that’s for sure. Thoreau’s poo-flinging, non-violent scorn probably sums up my sentiments best.
In a better world, the people who orchestrated that war would be unable to walk down a sidewalk without facing a torrent of rotten tomatoes, eggs, and insults. Everywhere they go, decent people should shout curses and wave middle fingers. When walking down the street after a rainstorm, kids should stomp mud puddles in their direction to dirty the clothes of the war pigs. Old World church ladies should make the sign to ward off evil in the presence of George Bush and his fellow war-starters. Dogs should bark as they walk by, and monkeys should fling poo at them when they visit the zoo. None of these things will physically harm them, but it’s the sort of utter rejection from polite society that they deserve. That’s right, even the dogs and monkeys should reject them.
Here’s the video, if — somehow! — you haven’t seen it yet.