We all seem to be well rid of 2008 by now, what with its economic calamities and recurring images of a world in crisis. Our own tone-deaf and world-blind President leaves office with abysmal support, even among the party faithful. The New York Times tells me that only a third of Americans polled want him to have any public role whatsoever once he leaves office. While we all pretty near uniformly want to see the back of him as President, two-thirds of us want him just to disappear completely from view after January 20th! No role whatsoever. Be gone sir!
I have made personal confession that I see past Presidents in a different light after Mr. Bush 2’s performance. Reagan? I had him down as evil incarnate at the time. I thought he was the master showman who soothed our national nerves with that ersatz cowboy confidence while performing dirty little international Iran-Contra tricks not wholly embraced by our Constitution.
Or George Bush the First. The father of “W” seems like a sweetly benign paternal figure after seeing what his son provided in the second act. How quickly I forget all the campaign shenanigans provided by the likes of Lee Atwater?Ç¬†and crew?Ç¬†(think “Willie Horton”).
I won’t go into guys like Nixon or even rehearse the foibles and failures of guys I supported like Carter and Clinton.
After seeing the debacle of this year’s Detroit Lions football team, a team that lived through the absolute horror of going 0-16, I told my coworkers, “You know all those really bad Lions teams of the past 10 years or so, the ones we all thought we’re so unbelievably crappy? Well guess what… not so bad.”
That’s the effect that President George W. Bush has had on me. His record has been so consistently awful that he’s softened my memories of past presidential-related traumas. After this experience I look back and say, “Reagan? Hmm, he was alright I guess.” Funny how he now looks so much better in comparison. All you have to do at the very least is manage to win one stinking game a year.