Shmuel Rosner is always good for some amusement (unintended of course). And reader Eran points to today’s column as a special laugher about George Bush’s Half Done (more accurately “half-baked”) presidency. The worshipful prose is unbelievable considering how universally condemned the Bush presidency has become (most polls show him at or near his lowest popularity ratings ever)–at least in this country. There is one country, Rosner notes, where Bush’s popularity remains high…You guessed it:
If he thinks that a majority of Israelis appreciate…Bush himself – he apparently is correct. According to a Gallup poll conducted last summer, 66 percent of Israelis are satisfied with the U.S. leadership – higher than any Western state and most non-Western states.
I know most ex-presidents are consumed with their presidential libraries, securing endorsement deals, making high-paid speeches, creating a legacy. But Bush shouldn’t give up on being president merely because his eight years are over. There’s a place for him in Israel’s heart–and perhaps in its presidency. One of its more recent presidents was caught with his pants down and unceremoniously sacked. Its current president, Shimon Peres, is an old geezer whose time has long past. Bush could hardly be less relevant than Peres as president–or could he?
Yes, he might have to take Israeli citizenship. But given the support he receives from Christian Zionists and his love for Jesus who walked this land, that might not be a stretch.
Clearly, Bush isn’t going to get that Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement he predicted by year’s end. What better way to keep the peace fires burning than by taking a shot at being Israel’s president? He shouldn’t have any problem getting elected. Israelis know he was the most obsequious U.S. president on record to Israel’s interests. He’d be a shoe-in if he wanted to work the same magic he’s done here on Israel.
Luckily for Israel, its presidency is largely ceremonial. If Bush had any real power as Israel’s president think of the disasters he could wreak.
Among the truly memorable puffery in Rosner’s piece is a favorable comparison of Bush to Lincoln, Truman and Washington:
Over the past year, Bush read a few books about the first president of the United States, George Washington. If he is still being written about today – over 200 years later – then perhaps Bush will also be written about, even argued over, hundreds of years down the road.
Yeah, they’ll argue whether he was the worst president on record or the second worst. Dream on, Shmulik–and he does:
Bush certainly merits criticism in a number of areas, but there’s one thing nobody can take away from him: He comes to work every morning to work, to try to change the world, for the good.
There are probably fourteen people left in the world who believe, along with Rosner here, that George Bush has changed the world for the good. The former isn’t merely a voice in the wilderness. I’d say he’s practically a lone voice in the cosmos. But it’s good that George will have someone with whom he can commune once he retires to the ranch, where he’ll break out the ol’ electric saw to trim brush on the back 40. In fact, George may be looking for a personal assistant or PR flack for his post-presidency gig. Rosner should apply.
Rosner isn’t quite done with his hagiography:
At the end of his term he will leave behind a job left uncompleted. The observer scrutinizing his actions will have to choose between two reasons: Either the policy was wrongheaded to begin with, or Bush’s diagnosis was correct but eight years was simply not enough time to prove it.
How could any reasonable person not see that the main problem with the Bush presidency was that he wasn’t given enough time to prove himself and his policies? Just think how much better off we Americans would be if we could give him another four years!
Rosner closes his elegy with this lofty thought:
And so it is that Bush comes to his second and final visit to Israel as president with a sense of serenity about what he has done and about what he will not manage to do…
If George Bush is serene it is the serenity of the obtuse. I’m reminded of the title of that classic American novel, A Confederacy of Dunces. Between Rosner and Bush there appears to be a confederacy of serene dunces.