Former President George W. Bush has re-emerged with his version of his story in a new book in which he discusses his life and his presidency.
Speaking about his book, “Decision Points” with NBC’s Matt Lauer he discussed his convictions and his addictions.
“So I’m drunk at the dinner table at mother and dad’s house in Maine,” Bush said. “And my brothers and sister are there and Laura’s there and I’m sitting next to a beautiful woman, a friend of mother and dad’s and I said to her out loud, what is sex like after 50.”
Bush has been virtually silent for the last two years, and when you ask some about his re-entrance into society, you might hear something like this:
“I think his silence has been golden and it will be difficult for him to rehabilitate his reputation here in Washington,” said Steve Hollman, a Maryland Resident.
But for many other Americans, absence has made the heart grow fonder.
“I like George,” said Mike McGrath, also a resident of Maryland.“I thought he was a good man.”
“Personally I think he was a strong leader and one of our great presidents,” said Miles Taylor, a Washington, DC Resident.
A recent CNN/Opinion research corporation poll shows that Americans believe Obama is a better president than Bush, 47 percent to 45 percent. But that two point margin is down from a 23 point advantage one year ago.
“The midterms was them speaking out again so I think it’s probably timely that the book is coming out now because this is precisely the point at which those people who supported the President are coming back into the fold,” Taylor said, moments after purchasing the book from a downtown Barnes and Noble.
For many Americans, Bush was the plain speaking man many said they’d want to have a beer with. And despite pulling the country into two wars, a housing crisis and a recession, the collective memory for some is this:
“He was the President throughout the situation that America will never forget,” said Delaware resident Chris Sabin. “9/11; I lost my brother-in-law at the Pentagon at 9/11. And we were very, very happy with the way George Bush handled all that.”
T-shirts are for sale around Washington, DC featuring a picture of Bush’s face and the question, “Miss me yet?”
It appears for some the answer is yes.
“We get abused by these small nations,” McGrath said.“George smacked em. Iraq made him mad, he smacked em. And that’s what we should do more often.”
“I think he’s a decent guy,” said Dan Murphy, out for an afternoon jog.“I like a guy who mountain bikes.He seems to be an outdoorsy.”
Even at the lowest point in his presidency, Bush had nearly a fourth of the country approving of the job he was doing.
As far as his legacy, whether his book is an attempt at defending it or redefining it, it seems that mission may already be accomplished.
Filmmaker and blogger Danny Schechter explained that many Americans see Bush as a relatable guy, based on a mythic persona as opposed to the Bush that lead the nation as President.
“They are actually selling George Bush this mythic person instead of George Bush this failed President, and that registers with a lot of people, particularly those who don’t pay to close attention to politics and policy,” said Schechter.
Two years ago it would have been hard to imagine Americans being reminiscent of the Bush years. His policies, the recession and other issues that occurred during his administration have yet to be solved.
“Perhaps when you look back at him there’s a certain glow that you don’t see in the present,” Schechter said. “Three has been such a campaign underway to tear down Obama’s image that Bush in comparison is projected as somebody who is much better.”
Schechter argued that Americans are angrier at the economic situation, not Obama. The lack of jobs and the declining US economy is more reflected in popular opinion that proposed policy.
“With Obama there is much more mixed feelings, particularly among his supporters, he hasn’t turned out to be the messiah people were hoping for,” Schechter explained.