And this is a good example of why. The other day, Bush took to the mound to throw out the ceremonial pitch for the Washington Nationals. Perhaps the best thing he has done in office, he threw the best pitch I have ever seen in that kind of situation. The guy has an arm.
But unfortunately, he was out of his town-hall setting and was widely booed. (Is it wrong that makes me chuckle?) But Froomkin's point here is a good one, that this guy rarely, if ever, allows himself to face the broad spectrum of the American people. I think he really doesn't consider himself my president. He only serves those steadily decreasing few who like him.
"Back during Bush's Social Security barnstorming, University of Texas political scientist Jeffrey K. Tulis noted: 'Certainly, in the past, presidential advance teams have on occasion taken steps to assure friendly audiences. It has not been uncommon for presidents to seek invitations to speak at friendly venues. But systematically screening audiences. . . . may be a new phenomenon, and one that the president should be asked to defend and justify in terms of his constitutional obligations.'"
Later, in the same piece, Froomkin notes the increasing problem of the "lame duck" president both overseas and at home. When asked about that, he compares himself to Truman, or Lincoln. Never, oddly enough, to Hoover or Andrew Johnson. Of course not. He wants desperately to believe that his administration has not been a total disaster.
"The problem is that Mr. Bush's legacy is unambiguously dismal. He is leaving the economy in worse shape than he found it, with an extra $4-trillion added to the national debt for good measure.I am still waiting for the GWOT successes, but that will wait for another time. But in the kindest take, the list of successes for this Presidency could be summarized in a text message. Easily.
"He presided over a vast expansion, and abuse, of the powers of his office. The legacy of Guantanamo, torture and wiretaps will not soon be forgotten.
"The war on terror has had few tangible successes and many apparent failures. And elsewhere in foreign policy, the record has been bleak. . . .
"It is possible that posterity will be equally kind to Mr. Bush. But if you're going to compare yourself to Mr. Truman, it helps to have your own equivalent of the Marshall Plan, the containment policy against Russia, the formation of NATO, the defence of South Korea and desegregation of the armed forces on your résumé. What in the Bush legacy even comes close?"