I couldn't bring myself to watch Bush on Thursday night. But Ross did:
Watching Bush's farewell address last night, what struck me above all was how long it's been since he felt like the President. Bush never had the gift of persuasion, the ability to give a State of the Union address or a press conference that left his enemies disarmed, but there was a time when he at least seemed like a leader - like someone consequential, active, and important, whatever one thought of his actions and their consequences. But that air of authority and leadership dissipated somewhere between the failure of Social Security reform and the 2006 midterms, and for the last two years Bush has projected the air of a bystander to history, as though events, and his presidency, were largely out of his hands.