Talk about a page from Ripley's Believe it or Not. A new CNN poll now claims that the one-time universally battered, bruised, hectored and in virtual disgrace George W. Bush is almost as popular as President Obama. Here's an even more incredible way to put it. If the presidential election were held today it would be a toss-up between Bush and Obama over which one would bag the White House. The poll finding is: Americans say Obama is a better president than Bush by a statistically insignificant 2 percent. This scant two percent Obama edge is down a whopping 23 percent from where it was a year ago.
The first thought is that CNN pollsters hung out at Republican National Committee headquarters to get their sample respondents or are toking something that unless voters in California vote to legalize it still can get you jail time for smoking it. But that's the charitable way to look at what on the surface seems an absurdity. More than a few political pundits say that the single biggest reason Obama is in the White House can be summed up in one word Bush. He turned his administration into the poster administration for everything wrong with America. The colossal giveaways to the corporate rich and Wall Street, a failed, flawed, and absolutely unnecessary war, a bungled Katrina response, off the chart sex, and corruption scandals within the GOP, a tanked economy, and a general clueless, governing incompetence that defied political belief. It was a textbook perfect storm for an Obama win. But what a difference a year can make. In that time the memory of Bush ruin have dimmed, and that's just enough time for the GOP historical revisionists to get busy and rewrite, revise, and plainly lie, about the alleged good things that Bush did.
The year is also enough time for a resurgent GOP and its shock troops, the Tea Party horde, Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Palin and the endless pack of shrill, hatchet job righstide bloggers, websites, and talk show hacks to paint a picture of an Obama who, take your pick, is: an alien, anti-American, a closet Muslim terrorist sympathizer, a socialist, communist, and an inveterate America basher and hater.
The post Bush year has also given ample time to stoke and inflame the latent, and in some quarters unabashed, racial bigotry of millions of whites whose stomach churns in knots at the sight of an African American president. They will say and do anything to rid the White House of him. Even if that means dredging up by almost any standard one of the worst and disastrous presidents and presidential administrations saddled on the American people in the last century.
So, it's really no wonder or mystery that so many could actually pine for the return of a miserable administration and actually compare the man that was the architect of so much of that misery to Obama. Bush versus Obama should draw a laugh if not a gag. But believe it or not, it doesn't. Could Bush beat Obama? That's definitely one for believe it or not.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts a nationally broadcast political affairs radio talk show on Pacifica and KTYM Radio Los Angeles.
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