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September 1, 2015 / 17 Elul, 5775
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An attorney is entitled to take on any client and owes that client his best representation. What the attorney cannot do is claim to represent one client while actually representing the other. Please, Mr. Dershowitz, do not claim to speak for Israel if you are going to persist in presenting the case for Palestine.

David Willig
Safed, Israel

Absence Makes The Heart…

After four and a half years of Barack Obama, George W. Bush is looking pretty good. That’s the gist of a recent poll in the Washington Post, of all places.

Though still slightly under water, as the campaign wise men might put it, the former president’s job approval rating is now at 47 percent, up 14 points from his last day in office – and tied with President Obama’s 47 percent.

Obama succeeded Bush in no small part by blaming the Great Recession (and everything else) on Bush’s economic policies, but approval of those policies is up 19 percent from 2009.

This sharp change in public opinion confounds historians who insist that it takes years, if not decades, for a substantial revision of public opinion when it comes to a president’s legacy.

There are reasons to withhold a full embrace of the Bush presidency. Early in his term Bush never used his veto pen to check congressional excess. In its final year, the Bush administration went on a wild spending spree, blowing billions on the Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout of Wall Street’s greed and incompetence. Debate over the Iraq adventure simmers still. Even the elevation of John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, which seemed like a good idea at the time, looks more like a mistake after the chief justice rescued Obamacare with a decision that astonished the conservative justices who thought Chief Justice Roberts was joining them in rescuing the Constitution from Obama’s abuse.

But there’s no arguing that the fundamentals of the economy were stronger under Bush. Filling up at the gasoline pump took half as much money as now. The jobless rate was under 6 percent during most of Bush’s presidency, and from December 2005 to November 2007 it was under 5 percent. Today, high unemployment is almost taken for granted, with the official rate at or above 7.5 percent.

Nevertheless, Obama built his reelection campaign on the message that he inherited America’s economic decline from Bush and needed another term to fix things. But Americans are coming to realize that borrowing trillions of dollars – leading to even greater debt, with taxes growing like mushrooms after an April shower – and tossing around taxpayer money on every boondoggle calling itself “green” won’t make the economy thrive again.

We can expect Obama’s approval rating to fall further and Bush’s to continue to rise. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Brian J. Goldenfeld
Woodland Hills, CA

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