While much of the attention on Rush Limbaugh has focused on his stated desire to see President Obama fail, he has also been going around trying to secure President Bush’s legacy. Yesterday, for example, he appeared on Fox’s Hannity’s America and tried to argue that Bush wasn’t at all partisan:
RUSH: Well, I think he’s a decent man. He’s a – he had a reverence for the office, that’s why he didn’t get partisan. He thought it was irreverent to turn the Oval Office, or the Office of the Presidency, into a partisan strategic battle place. [...]
Yes, you know, domestic policy, he did some things that puzzled us – creating a new entitlement, the whole immigration thing, signing campaign finance reform. But he’s a good man. He’s not hated.
The public surely remembers Bush differently; after all, he left office with a 33 percent approval rating. In the wake of Karl Rove’s mass politicization of the federal government, the Justice Department scandals, and the suppression of science for politics, Limbaugh may be one of the few people in America who can claim with a straight face that Bush wasn’t “partisan.”
HANNITY: Let me ask you about the outgoing president. I appreciate the fact that George W. Bush went for an NSA program, a Patriot Act, enhanced interrogations – used all his political capital, sacrificed any public opinion approval numbers. And at the end of the day, reformed our national security and kept the country safe.
You don’t hear a good word about him. What are your thoughts about him? What are your thoughts?
RUSH: Well, I think he’s a decent man. He’s a – he had a reverence for the office, that’s why he didn’t get partisan. He thought it was irreverent to turn the Oval Office, or the Office of the Presidency, into a partisan strategic battle place.
He just didn’t want to do it. He was content to let history be the judge. I think – I heard Rove say even on your network that they miscalculated in not firing back on some of these things often enough because the president is the leader of his party and, as such, the leader of his troops.
And while he’s being criticized to smithereens, everybody who voted for him is, at the same time, and those people need leadership. The American people crave leadership.
Our side doesn’t offer any electoral leadership. There’s not one elected official that is offering our side any leadership. That’s one of the things Obama does. He makes people think he’s leading them. He inspires confidence in them. We have to admit that.
And it’s not going to help us to continue to cave and invest our hopes in him. I know what our strategy is. They’re hoping he fails, so that they can go back and say, We wanted him to succeed. We gave it everything we got. We worked with him, but -
That’s not how it works, because whenever they fall out of unison with him – if they do, the attacks on them are just going to be vicious.
HANNITY: It’s coming.
RUSH: It’s coming. They should know that it’s going to happen no matter what they do, so do the right thing. But Bush? He’s a decent man, and his -
I don’t think people understand. You’re president of the United States, 9/11 happens. You don’t know what’s going to happen the next two hours that night, the next day. You take the oath of office, defend and protect the Constitution and the people.
Obviously, they had to focus exclusively on that. That’s the job, as he determined it, and we haven’t been hit since in this country. Yes, you know, domestic policy, he did some things that puzzled us – creating a new entitlement, the whole immigration thing, signing campaign finance reform. But he’s a good man. He’s not hated.
On Friday, Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS) said that it has been easier to work with Obama than it was with Bush: “The times I interacted with President Bush, generally, I’d get summoned to the White House because I disagreed with something that the president was for. He kind of lectured. It was about ‘are you with me or against me.’” Moran said that with Obama, there appeared to be “some level of common ground we can agree upon.”