Will Ferrell hosted Saturday Night Live this week, his fourth return as a host after being part of the cast from 1995–2002, and he brought one of his best characters—and one of our worst presidents—with him. As George W. Bush, Ferrell reminded the nation that, regardless of the bump his approval ratings have experienced since President Trump redefined the very idea of “a bad president,” Bush II was a terrible, terrible president.
The point is, I’m suddenly popular AF. And a lot of people are saying, “Man, I wish George W. Bush was still our president right about now. So I just wanted to address my fellow Americans tonight and remind you guys that I was really bad. Like historically not good. … Don’t forget, we’re still in two different wars that I started.
It’s a timely case to make; Trump’s Republican Party is so shameless that Senate Democrats—some of whom were around to know better—are quoting Ronald Reagan:
Like George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan looks sane by comparison to Donald Trump because John Wayne Gacy looks sane by comparison to Donald Trump. But that’s no excuse to hire any of them to be your kid’s birthday clown. Still, Ferrell’s return reminds us that, for all his horribleness, George W. Bush occasionally managed an oily charm that Donald Trump can’t begin to imitate. There’s not even any fun in making fun of the guy; there’s nothing to grab onto. So if we’re going to have dumb presidents—and we are, we clearly are—we should at least insist that they’re dumb in a funny way. The next time we elect a plutocratic warmonger who’s also prone to screwing up the language in an amusing fashion, let’s not misunderestimate the joy he brings us. Along with the war and the plutocracy, I mean.
Support our journalism
Help us continue covering the news and issues important to you—and get ad-free podcasts and bonus segments, members-only content, and other great benefits.Join Slate Plus