April 27, 2013 6:53 AM
Our obsession with "The President's Club"
Posted by Laura
Much has been made of the "president's club" this week, when all five living presidents of the United States gathered in Dallas for the unveiling of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. The back-slapping among the members of "the most exclusive club in the world" (Obama's words) is supposed to reassure Americans about the state of things. Out of work? Don't worry, Obama really likes Bush. Under-employed? Don't stress out, Clinton had late night calls with Bush 43 during his second term. Anxious about your family's future? Chill out, Bush is now more popular than Obama. Excuse us, if we are not impressed. Much of the country is in dire shape. Citizens are being asked to "sacrifice" more, work harder while they are being paid less--as millions of non-citizens are catered to and fretted over. You're either a club person or you're not. Elites are reassured in the club atmosphere, insulated by the hoi-polloi. Most hard-working people in this country just want to believe that things are going to improve for themselves and their families. Yes, the Bushes are nice people. Yes, they are a lovely family. Yes, GWB and GHWB are patriots. Yes, they did some good things. But let's not let the gauzy days of late April in Dallas obscure the fact that without the last Bush, we wouldn't have Obamacare, a $16.5T debt, several failed stimulus packages, and a federal judiciary lurching to the left.
While Bush 43's personal popularity is higher than when he left office (how could it not be?), his policies remain supremely unpopular nationwide. Much of what the last Bush did was not only not conservative, it was downright liberal: prescription drug entitlement we could not afford, a massive increase in education spending that accomplished little, unqualified cabinet members like Alberto Gonzales, and a Supreme Court pick such as Harriet Miers, and numerous other stops along the road of "compassionate conservatism." Until Republicans come to terms with with his disastrous "decisions points," they can look forward to seeing the president's club membership turn as blue as California.