In the Arena

Missing George W.

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Well, not really. But the last President did have some admirable attributes. One was his color-blindness and all-around tolerance–something the current Republican party has vehemently abandoned. It would be nice if Bush came out of retirement to scold the nativists in his clan about their anti-immigrant and anti-mosque phobias. But he has decided to keep a low profile, refusing to criticize his successor from the sidelines and, for consistency’s sake, you can understand why he’s keeping a low profile now: Republicans would say “You haven’t said a word about Obama and yet you’re taking us to the cleaners?” His has been a classy ex-Presidency, especially when compared to the loathsome Cheney.

I’m not sure I miss Bush’s penchant for nicknames (mine was “Joe Boy”): it was far too frat boy by a lot. But occasionally the President struck gold, as Jeff Goldberg reports in a new piece previewed by Steve Clemons today: he called Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer “the bomber boys,” after their obsession with going to war with Iran–an obsession Bush eschewed in his more reasonable second term, when he retrieved his foreign policy from the Cheney Cult.

In the end, Bush was completely overmatched by the presidency. His time in office–the tax cuts, the Iraq war, the torture, the slipshod governance, the spending on programs like Medicare prescription drugs without paying for them, the deficits, the failure to foresee the housing bubble–was ruinous for the country. But I’ve got to say that “Bomber Boys” is a keeper. Kristol and Krauthammer are hereby branded for life.

Burying the Lead: I’ve just finished reading Goldberg’s piece about the possibility of an Israeli, or U.S., attack on Israel (Ooops! I obviously meant Iran. Oh My Yahweh! Paging Abe Foxman! This really must mean that I’m a self-hating Jew!). It is terrifying…and excellent. My total opposition to such a strike remains unchanged.