Paul Jacob

A Wyoming, Minnesota, billboard juxtaposes a picture of former President George W. Bush, sporting one of his signature goofy smiles, with a caption that reads: “Miss Me Yet?”

The point of the anonymous businessmen who paid for the ad seems obvious enough: After a year enduring President Barack Obama, doesn’t it make you almost fond for ole Bush 43?

Short answer: No. Not even for a nanosecond.

At the outset, let me state unequivocally that Mr. Bush has been an exemplary former president. He hasn’t carped at his replacement, he’s been respectful, and even helpful when called upon. That’s to his credit.

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But as for re-experiencing the Bush presidency, no [choose your own expletive] thanks. In fact, sometimes I wonder if the Bush presidency is over yet — many of his policies remain. While W personally performed a gentlemanly two-step back to Crawford, Texas, his policies did not.

Before you start making a list of new policies advanced by Obama that are frightening in their own right, please stand down. I get it. I’m with you. An apt axiom for government and the next administration is: “It can always get worse.”

But let it never be forgotten that when it comes to government borrowing billions to splurge in supposedly stimulating fashion, or bailing out sectors of the economy, Obama can only be accused of following Bush’s lead to even greater fervor and magnitude. My argument isn’t new, of course, more than a year ago Michele Malkin accused the outgoing president of “pre-socializing the economy for Obama.”

Did someone say socialist? Obama just told Business Week that the people in his administration “are fierce advocates for a thriving, dynamic free market.” What chutzpah! I chuckled; nursed a guffaw. And then I remembered Bush’s claim to be “a free-market guy,” as he pushed a government bailout of the car companies.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.