When a president leaves office, no matter how unpopular he may have been, there’s a tendency to look back on him and say, “Well, the bastard wasn’t so bad.” It happened for George W. Bush at the end of his second term and his approval numbers are up even higher this week as he opened his library and museum in Texas.
But the Wall Street Journal‘s Peggy Noonan has a different theory on Bush’s rebound.
Noonan writes in her Friday column:
Coverage of the opening of his presidential library Thursday was wall to wall on cable, and a feeling of affection for him was encouraged, or at least enabled, by the Washington press corps, which doesn’t much like Mr. Obama because he’s not all that likable, and remembers Mr. Bush with a kind of reluctant fondness because he was. …
What was nice was that all of them—the Bush family, the Carters and Clintons—seemed like the old days. “The way we were.” They were full of endurance, stamina, effort. Also flaws, frailty, mess. But they weren’t . . . creepy.