A few things to ponder as this political season wears on:
The attacks on Barack Obama, while in instances vicious, have not been as systematically scornful, pretentious and absolute. People have attacked his policies, not him personally. GWB was portrayed as an idiot by most figures in Hollywood, political cartoons, print columns and entertainment.
While GWB was divisive, he also accomplished things and did so without sending the country rocketing from side to side on symbolic issues.
While GWB got blamed for issues like Hurricane Katrina, these were out of his control, and his most controversial programs — wiretapping and Guantanamo — continue under Obama, but in more covert form.
GWB endorsed a healthy psychology: you’ve got to break some eggs to make an omelette, and we all need to sacrifice some of our personal convenience for what’s right to keep the country healthy.
During the final days of his presidency, GWB faced a massive economic crisis, inherited from Bill Clinton who (a) forced banks to loan to those who had no chance of repaying and (b) encouraged a cheap money, service economy boom — especially the internet — that resulted in devaluing our country as a whole. Obama is continuing Clinton’s policies, laying the groundwork for future failures.
Under GWB, America was disliked but feared and respected; under Obama, America shies away from public conflict, which allows all but the most blatant transgressions to go unnoticed, laying further groundwork for future problems.
I don’t disagree that life under Obama is easy, if we go by appearance. People appear happier with us worldwide, and it seems to be a nicer administration. But that denies the reality of the situation, which is that those other people worldwide are competing with us and love to see us stumble, and that if we’re not ready to break some eggs and offend some international pundits, we’re going to let problems build up — and we’ll face future crises, economic and political, thanks to these years of inattention.