President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush have never been close, at least not that we know of. However, former presidents sometimes advise those in office, and maybe Obama should think about calling Bush for advice about multiple issues.
Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal makes the case for why Obama should call his predecessor. "It will show contrition, humility, and real bipartisanship -- things you could use to salvage your presidency," the article begins.
An embattled Obama -- who some are calling the "worst President" in American history -- is facing tough times in his last term in office, according to recent polls, which show the President's numbers are less than promising. Many critics believe he has simply become a lame duck president, two-years from retirement. When he came into office, after a promising campaign, Obama claimed he would be the complete opposite of Bush and have the most transparent, bipartisan presidency in American history.
Former President Clinton recently revealed that Bush used to call him often just to talk. They would talk for up to 45-minutes if time allowed in Bush's very busy schedule.
"We talked about everything in the right world. He asked my opinion, half the time he disagreed with it. But I felt good about that, I thought that was a really healthy thing. It meant a lot to me. We never talked about it. We never talked about it in public."Now, as Obama finds himself in the unexpected position of being a wartime President -- following the announcement of the airstrikes against ISIS -- it would only seem fitting that he could ask former President Bush for some advice. After all, Obama came into office without any experience governing a state, like Bush (Texas) and Clinton (Arkansas) did, and all that entails.
However, if Obama called Bush, it could be awkward. Even though Bush has declined to publicly comment on controversial issues, Obama has blamed Bush repeatedly for the economy and foreign policy failures such as Iraq, though he's also praised his tenure on rare occasions.
"It would be an act of contrition: for six years of vulgar ridicule and sophomoric condescension. Also, humility: for finally understanding that the intel is often wrong (and that doesn't make you a "liar"), that the choices in war are never clear or simple, that the allies aren't always with you, and that evil succumbs only to force."We don't know if Obama ever calls Clinton for advice, considering they're both Democrats and the current President often shows contempt for Republicans, but the two have been at odds in the past. Even if they come from different parties Obama and Bush could talk about many things because they both have been in the same precarious situation.
"And it would be an act of bipartisanship: not the fake kind to which the president pays occasional lip service, but the kind that knows there is no party monopoly on wisdom, and that there is no democracy without compromise, and that there can be no compromise when your opponents sense you hold them in contempt."
President Obama has been accused of being disconnected from reality, so it would serve him well to talk to someone who has been in the same position. And though it would greatly improve the image of the embattled leader, somehow not many believe that Obama will actually call Bush to ask for advice or to just talk.
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