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Robert J. Elisberg Headshot

Please Bring Back George Bush

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On July 22, former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo wrote an op-ed in the Washington Times in which he called for the impeachment of President Barack Obama for violating his oath in office, betraying the Constitution and being black. (Okay, the latter is just a guess. But this is Tom Tancredo, so go figure.)

Six days later, Michele Bachmann (R-MN) refused to back away from calls for impeachment. "I think clearly the president isn't acting out of the best interests of what would be good for people's safety and good for our economy," she trumpeted, missing the simple, grade school fact that "not acting out of the best interests" isn't yet an impeachable offense, eluding the sole standard of being a high crime and misdemeanor. However, given that she previously urged an armed uprising, the congresswoman did demonstrate once again that an ability to "think clearly" is not her strong suit.

No matter. Impeach Obama is the cry. And it can be seen on signs in "Tea Party" rallies across the country, as well.

"Miss Me Yet?" is another sign that Republicans have sprouted across the country, peppered with the cheery face of George W. Bush. Such billboards were referred to with glowing pleasure by Sarah Palin, the former half-term Republican governor, in her speech at the Susan B. Anthony List on May 14. Indeed, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told a C-SPAN audience similarly, "I think a lot of people are looking back with a little -- with more fondness on President Bush's administration, and I think history will treat him well." (Note: the people looking back fondly are known as "far-right Republicans." And masochists. And the only history books treating him well are those new, re-edited ones in Texas, but only when making comparison to Attila the Hun.)

Still, since Mr. Cornyn is responsible for recruiting GOP senatorial candidates, no doubt finding people willing to campaign on a "fondness for George W. Bush" will be the priority in his efforts.

And given Ms. Bachmann's chairmanship of the House Tea Party Caucus, and Ms. Palin's pre-eminent visibility among Republican spokespeople, no doubt this fondness for George W. Bush and a hint of impeachment will grow further as a call among Republicans this fall.

Perhaps the "Tea Party" will make it its standard. Perhaps they'll even include a fondness for Dick Cheney.

Ah, if only pompous posturing matched reality.

It was with much amusement, you see, when a news story broke last week that Mr. Bush's memoir appears scheduled to be released around the November elections - and Republicans have reacted with horror.

As Matt Latimer of the Daily Beast reported, while "those most closely tied to the Bush regime" like seeing the book published for the mid-term election, "that has not stopped some Republicans, traumatized over the last two election cycles from fearing the worst." Indeed, one former Bush aide called it "Monumentally bad timing." A well-known right-wing columnist called it "Selfish and stupid." And a prominent conservative compared the public relations nightmare to the recent LeBron James PR debacle.

That's the thing, you understand: calling for Barack Obama's impeachment and swaggering around about how wonderful George W. Bush was is one thing. Standing by that bumptious strut and putting substance to those words is another.

After all, this is same president who Republicans didn't even want to appear in person at the Republican National Convention. Who Republican candidates didn't want campaigning with them. Whose approval before leaving office was a breathtakingly-low 20% -- a 71-point plummet from his high of 91% because planes crashed into a building.

And now Republicans are terrified about him merely releasing his memoirs.

Reminding the public how much they hated him by the end of his term. Reminding the public of all his disastrously-failed policies they'd hoped to pin on Barack Obama. Reminding the public how the economy crashed under George Bush, how unemployment skyrocketed under George Bush, how the unprovoked Iraq War began under George Bush from a lie, how the Afghan War was started and virtually abandoned by George Bush. How George Bush was warned about Hurricane Katrina and ignored it. How George Bush sat reading My Pet Goat after America was attacked. How the budget deficit under George Bush went from a $128 billion surplus to a $482 billion deficit. How under George Bush the national debt doubled to $11 trillion. How the $700 billion TARP payments were made by George Bush. How warrantless wiretapping, access to private emails and the removal of civil rights were all perpetrated by George Bush.

And the Republicans want to dance around that we should all miss George Bush. And that Barack Obama is the president who should be impeached. We all look forward to Republicans putting their money where their mouths are.

I can't wait to see the Republicans sidling up to George W. Bush on his national book tour before the November elections. All those Republicans who once embraced George W. Bush, insisting he could do no wrong, who enabled him for two terms. I can't wait to see Republicans standing by George Bush before the elections, explaining why Barack Obama should be impeached and then hugging George Bush and proclaiming how much they miss him. And Dick Cheney, too.

Please. We can only hope.

In the words of George Bush himself, Bring It On.