Party affiliation has nothing to do with it. Neither do approval ratings. I've seen it personally with each our three most recent former presidents. And I suspect what happened to them, happens to them all.
They're not diminished as human beings, necessarily. Nor as historical figures. For many, they continue to maintain their heroic proportions. For others, they remain the subject of out-sized vilification. But it's inevitable. The Oval Office imparts a certain larger-than-life sensibility. When they leave, to some extent they become life-sized again.
After a visit and an interview last Friday at his home in Dallas, it seems to me George W. Bush couldn't be more pleased that he's once again living a more normal-sized existence.
He met us in the foyer of his new home in Dallas, coffee mug in hand. While his wife got her final touch-ups with her hair and make-up, Mr. Bush seemed eager just to shoot the breeze, everything from the Texas Rangers' chances of holding on to pitcher Cliff Lee (questionable, in his opinion, if the Yankees decide they want him), to the state of his golf game (he'd like to play to a single-digit handicap sometime in the future - wouldn't we all?), to how often they get to their ranch in Crawford (not as much as he'd like, though they try hardest to spend time there when the wild flowers are in bloom).Continue »