According to CNN, former President George W. Bush is now more popular than current President Barack Obama.

That’s right: Bush, who misled us into a disastrous war and wrecked our national balance sheet; Obama, who saved us from global depression and reduced the American body counts from that war to zero.

Paul Abrams:  “Democrats have allowed Bush back by not constantly bashing him for the Iraq War, the most disastrous economic and financial collapse since the Great Depression, and being asleep at the switch for 9/11 and Katrina. Democrats ran against Herbert Hoover through the 1960 campaign.  Why not Bush?”

☞ Democrats, I would argue, are not great at bashing.

I’m sure some of us do bash from time to time.  But as a general rule, Republicans go at it more freely.

Mitch McConnell . . . not just any Republican, but their leader . . . seems a lot more comfortable saying that “By any standard, Barack Obama has been a disaster for our country” — spectacularly, demonstrably, wildly, absurdly untrue* — than Barack Obama seems comfortable characterizing the disaster he inherited.  He tends to call it the Great Recession.  One might argue that we should call it the Terrible Recession — it was not great, it was terrible — and always, always add the word “Bush.”  The Terrible Bush Recession.  Or the word “Republican.”  The Terrible Republican Recession.

The truth is, most of us are not comfortable doing that.  It seems rather bad sportsmanship.  Of course he played a terrible game.  Just not right to rub it in (and could backfire for that very reason).  He’s a nice guy, almost everyone who’s met him agrees.  (I even have a photo with him myself.  In our 20-second exchange he was completely charming and self-deprecating.)  He didn’t mean for things to go disastrously wrong.  He paints remarkably well.  Give the guy a break!

So — largely — we do.

Or at least more largely than their guys give our guys a break.

We had the courtly, shy Warren Christopher quartbacking Bush v. Gore; they had James Baker — and Tom Delay staffers, among others, flying down to Miami, shouting and pounding to “stop the recount!” — the so-called Brooks Brothers riot.

You may believe Democrats are as guilty of bashing as are Republicans.  Or that Bush did a great job and Obama has been a disaster.  But the fact that by at least CNN’s measure George W. Bush was recently more popular than Barack Obama?  It’s at best a matter of some frustration to those of us who disagree.

*If “any standard” includes such basics as job creation, housing prices, corporate profits, the stock market, daily body counts, health care inflation, high school graduation rates, gas prices, energy independence, or deficit reduction.



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