The Bush Rehab Begins

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On Sunday night, just two days before the Democrats were to be on the receiving end of what George W. Bush once called a midterm “thumpin’,” Bush was at Game Four of the World Series in Arlington. It felt like some prelapsarian time before Hurricane Katrina and 20-percent approval ratings. Perched on a motorized cart, Bush and his father drove in from the outfield like America’s relief pitchers, called in to get the country out of a jam. When W. hurled the first pitch, the crowd went nuts.

The publication of Bush’s memoir Decision Points, which hits stores November 9, is the key moment in what you might call the Bush Rehabilitation Project. Bush himself has long disdained grand, Nixonian plans to rescue his reputation. But his friends and former staff have spent the last two years using columns and cable microphones to do just that. And the release of the memoir—coming so close on the heels of Barack Obama’s repudiation—has led some Bushies to conclude that America is finally giving the Bush era a second look.

“His public rehabilitation is occurring much faster than I would have anticipated,” said Mel Martinez, a former U.S. Senator who was Bush’s first Housing and Urban Development Secretary....

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