We’re at a comparable point now with regards to Bush — three years after a two-term president left office, his party is looking to nominate a challenger to an incumbent. Dems in 2004 couldn’t stop referencing Bill Clinton, but Republicans in 2012 prefer to pretend Bush doesn’t exist.
This isn’t necessarily surprising. I don’t imagine many would-be GOP presidents were eager to bring up Hoover in the 1936 election, either.
But Bush deserves to be part of the discussion. From Dems’ perspective, there’s value in reminding voters that Bush is responsible for nearly all of the messes Obama is trying to clean up, and nearly all of the Republican candidates are eager to bring return to Bush-era policies — only this time, they’ll be even more right wing.
From journalists’ perspective, there’s no reason to play along with the GOP’s willingness to erase Bush from the larger discussion. Indeed, there are some pretty straightforward questions the Republican field should be forced to answer: Do you believe the Bush presidency was a success? How would your agenda differ from Bush’s if you’re elected?
I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation. The president of the United States is the president of every single American, of every race and every background. Whether you voted for me or not I will do my best to serve your interests and I will work to earn your respect.
We must never allow our differences to harden into divisions. It may be tempting to think it doesn’t matter what happens to a villager in Afghanistan or a child in Africa, but the temptation of isolation is deadly wrong.