Late last year, the Clintons and Bushes were on opposite trajectories. Hillary Clinton was dominating presidential polls and planning was already underway, prematurely as it would turn out, to celebrate the election of the country’s first female president.
The Bushes, on the other hand, were hitting rock bottom. In a Republican primary field full of colorful personalities, Jeb Bush had distinguished himself as the nerd trying to pass off as a jock. President Donald Trump gave him the nickname “Low energy Jeb”— perhaps the most accurate of his epithets and one that resonated with voters. Meanwhile, even in many conservative circles, his brother’s legacy was considered a liability more than an asset. On his way to becoming the Republican nominee, Trump blamed George W. Bush for 9/11, repeatedly condemned his role in the War in Iraq and claimed he should have been impeached.
Roll the clock forward a few months and the tables have turned rather drastically on America’s two premiere political dynasties. “Low energy Jeb” recently teamed up with Derek Jeter, one of the country’s most popular athletes, to submit the winning bid to buy the Miami Marlins. For his part, George W. has become the darling of late night television, earning praise from unlikely sources for his self-deprecating humor and improving painting skills. His friendship with Michelle Obama is nearly as adorable as Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s bromance.
Clinton, on the other hand, has largely kept to herself since her historic defeat. But the news that has emerged from her camp has not been flattering. On April 18, a book that chronicles Clinton’s campaign from beginning to bitter end was published. The thesis of “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign” is simple: “no explanation of defeat can begin with anything other than the core problem of Hillary’s campaign — Hillary herself.” Clinton is described as the quintessential sore loser, willing to point fingers at anyone and everyone around her without accepting responsibility for a single mistake of her own.
That is not a good look. Instead of proving her detractors right by acting entitled and bitter, she should take a page out of 43’s playbook and learn to laugh at herself. Her disappointment and even her anger is justifiable. But regardless of the circumstances surrounding Trump’s victory, so long as Clinton considers herself beyond reproach, her approval will continue to tumble. Even as one of the most unpopular presidents in modern history enjoys a complete image makeover.