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Can We Stop Fawning Over George W. Bush?

George W Bush

We all know President Trump is the worst, but the media shouldn't give another divisive popular vote loser a pass.

Since putting himself out to pasture in 2009, former President George W. Bush is now reemerging, making the publicity rounds to promote his painting book.

As he hopscotches between Jimmy Kimmel's program and even Ellen DeGeneres's talk show, the general sentiment from the hosts, audiences, and media (including us) about W. -- who left office with a 22 percent approval rating -- is Jeez, we long considered him the worst president ever, but he's not so bad. I'd take him over Trump any day!

During his media tour he made halfhearted critiques of the present occupiers of the White House that have been falsely reinterpreted as rebukes of the Trump administration. Trump humiliated his brother Jeb -- arguably a much more worthwhile public servant than W. -- yet the former president treads lightly around the current president, likely because he's a fellow Republican.

Maybe his refusal to lob any substantial critiques at Trump is part of the reason folks are getting the warm fuzzies for him. Our current president attacks former President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton so often it feels like we have Regina George running the nation. Our standards have dropped so low that politicians are being lionized for not being unprofessional jerks.

Let's do a refresher on W.'s tenure:

-Bush started two wars, at least one under false pretenses, and never suffered any consequences for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in the process.

-Bush was responsible for the lacking response to Hurricane Katrina and the suffering, deaths, and displacement that resulted from it.

-Bush savaged the environment by backing out of the Kyoto Protocol and weakening the Clean Water Act.

-Bush ginned up homophobia by pushing in 2004 for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage -- a cynical, mean-spirited tactic to win reelection that served as a blueprint for Trump in 2016, with his Islamophobia and "bad hombres."

Bush's scapegoating of us worked 13 years ago, and Trump's scapegoating of Mexicans and Muslims did the same in 2016 (he was also aided by the Russians and the FBI, of course). This is Bush's legacy, not that warm smile or folksy drawl.

So, before we start praying for a Bush figure to replace the Trump nightmare, let's remember that the latter hasn't invaded another country -- yet.

NEAL BROVERMAN is the executive editor of The Advocate. Follow him on Twitter @nbroverman.

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