On August 11, 2010, troops arriving home at DFW Airport from Iraq and Afghanistan were greeted with a real surprise: former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura were standing inside the terminal to shake hands, give hugs, and take pictures as the soldiers got off the plane. When I saw photographs from that day I immediately wondered why we’d yet to see pictures of Obama shaking hands with troops and at least appearing to be happy while doing so.
I’d had similar feelings on November 7, 2009, after news broke that Bush and his wife had spent a few hours meeting with victims (and the families of victims) of the Ft. Hood shooter. Obama, for his part, delivered a speech the day after the shootings in which giving “a shout out” to supporters of health care reform took precedence over addressing the massacre. As usual, it was all Obama all the time.
And this brings me to the central point of this piece — namely, the assertion that Bush is still more presidential than Obama. Even recent polls conducted by Democrats have confirmed this by showing that “Bush [is] more popular than Obama in vulnerable congressional districts.” Candidates for Congress in these areas run for the hills to avoid Obama if he happens to roll into their district. (It should be noted that this isn’t a sudden or recent development. As early as December 2009, Politico reported that while 50% of voters approved of Obama, 44% were already longing to have Bush back in office.)
Although all the reasons for Bush’s resurgence in popularity may be impossible to pin down with precision, we cannot overlook the contrast between the way he and Obama feel about this country. Throughout his presidency, and even now, Bush held this country in high esteem while Obama literally “doesn’t like America the way it has been since its founding,” according to Tony Blankley. And people sense this about Obama: he has “a chip on his shoulder,” a grudge he holds against this country which Bush would never have allowed to maturate during his administration.