George W. vs. George W.
Now here's another depressing little item for your Presidents' Day reading. As Steve Clemons reported last week, the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience at Washington College of Maryland did a poll asking Americans how they'd vote in a hypothetical matchup of George Washington, and George W. Bush. While the Father of Our Country managed to crush W. by 20 points among all respondents, Bush won a 62-28 landslide among self-identified Republicans.
Lord have mercy.
I can understand how today's Republicans have a healthy appreciation for Bush's (or more accurately, Karl Rove's) political skills. And I can even understand how a lot of people who aren't that crazy about Bush decided to vote for him last year because they didn't want a change of leadership or didn't like (or didn't understand) John Kerry. But Jesus, Mary and Joseph, how could anybody prefer Bush to George Washington?
To be sure, the poll indicated that many Americans don't know much about George Washington beyond the cherry tree and wooden teeth myths, and it's abundantly clear that many Americans don't know much about Bush's actual record. But still, it's a sign that the Busholatry of today's Republicans has gotten really out of hand. Depending on what happens during Bush's second term, he is almost certain to go down in history as a president comparable to William McKinley at best (the symbol and vehicle for a political realignment he did little or nothing to cause) or Warren G. Harding at worst (the amiable front-man for a feeding frenzy of corruption and national irresponsibility).
He clearly doesn't belong in any comparison with George Washington, and millions of Republicans must be drunk on their own koolaid to think otherwise. --