Several politicians had a very good week. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) had the barb of the week with his zinger about the Democrats’ hypocrisy on the nuclear option. (“If you like the rules of the Senate, you can keep them.”). Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who rolled out his new book, had an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and a solid outing on Morning Joe. He’s capable, he’s proven and becoming a top tier 2016 contender.
However, no one outdid former president George W. Bush, who made a boffo appearance with Jay Leno, had one of his paintings turned into a Christmas ornament, made a surprise appearance at the Republican Governors Association meeting and was revealed to be a compassionate boss and an all-around decent guy by his former press secretary Dana Perino.
In his retirement, Bush is benefiting from comparison to the hapless and increasingly disliked incumbent president. His health-care innovation, Medicare Part D, is and was a success; Obamacare is a disaster. He and his administration had a close and beneficial relationship with Israel and good dealings with Saudi Arabia; Obama has infuriated both. Bush worked with the late Sen. Teddy Kennedy (D-Mass.) on education and immigration; Obama doesn’t even get along with members of his own party. As Peter Baker points out in his new book, Bush was always at his best when recovering from a disaster (whether or not self-inflicted); in the worst political crisis of his presidency, Obama’s shrinking in stature and credibility make him seem small and desperate.
Bush certainly looks relaxed, and he still gets mileage out of his self-deprecating humor.
So for a multi-dimensional and successful post-presidency we say, well done Mr. President.