June 01, 2012
NYC Letter: Smallness Of Spirit -- Mr. Obama Hosts The Bushes
Day 1,224 of CHOPE
D-minus 232 Days
Check Out The Obamaclock!
Thursday Mr. Obama hosted the unveiling of the official WH portrait of George W. Bush. We wish we could say that Mr. Bush had found a master portraitist in John Howard Sanden, but the paintings of Mr. & Mrs. Bush* look like magazine art circa 1960s.
But the paintings were not the tackiest element of the unveiling.
May 31, 2012 (TWS) - At the unveiling of former President George W. Bush's official portrait at the White House this afternoon, President Barack Obama joined his predecessor and their wives in delivering brief (and at times nice, cordial, and funny) remarks. But there was a seemingly out of place moment during the ceremony when Obama seemed to veer into reiterating his frequent trope that he inherited a bad economy from Bush.
"The months before I took the oath of office were a chaotic time," Obama said, after explaining that the president's job is isolating, and that he and Bush have a connection since so few have held the job. "We knew our economy was in trouble, our fellow Americans were in pain, but we wouldn't know until later just how breathtaking the financial crisis had been."
This is Campaign Barry boilerplate. Mr. Obama has on a number of occasions claimed that he didn't know how bad the economy was, that he did know how bad it was, that it wasn't as bad as was thought, and that it was worse than anyone thought. Of course it can't be true that he both knew and didn't know, that things were both better and were worse. But Mr. Obama's truths are not constant. They are accommodating.
That Mr. Obama injected his jarring "gosh, I was dealt a bad hand after I checked the hole card" canard into a strictly ceremonial event is just crass. Mr. Obama can't stop making everything about himself. And he can't turn off the Bush blame for a few hours out of one day set aside to honor the man he simply cannot resist denigrating.
Disappointing even for Mr. Obama.
* Mrs. Bush's portrait captures nothing of the former First Lady. It is a poor likeness (the painter appears to have broken her nose), badly posed, and badly painted. It conveys none of Mrs. Bush's presence, none of her personal appeal.