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Get Off My Lawn

The word of the moment on righty blogs is “rude.” Liberals on the National Mall were rude for booing and then singing “Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” to President George W. Bush.

An angle I haven’t heard explored yet is the presence of many Washington locals at the event.

While the clear majority of spectators were from out of town (the turnout at least tripled the population of the city), it seemed as though most of Washington was there, too. It’s not hard to understand why Washingtonians are cool to the man who lived in their city for eight years. President Bush, famously, did not eat out much in the city. (That’s one reason why Barack Obama’s visit to Ben’s Chili Bowl has turned the place into Shangri-La.) Bush didn’t soak up much Washington culture in the way that, say, Presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton did. Bush threatened to veto a bill that would have given the city voting representation in Congress.

It’s easy to say that the city twice voted overwhelmingly against Bush, but keep in mind, the former president spent some time cultivating black votes, especially after Ken Mehlman became Republican National Committee chairman. There were plenty of opportunities for the president to get closer to his neighbors and use the experience, however tactically, to win over voters across the country. He didn’t. Why shouldn’t Washingtonians be glad to see Bush go, and glad to have a president who promises to become an occasional participant in the life of the city?

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