George HW Bush hasn't gotten a lot of love since getting unceremoniously booted from office by an Arkansas upstart named Bill Clinton, but a funny thing has happened over the years,writes Maureen Dowd in the New York Times. Because George W Bush tried to be his father's polar opposite—and is currently the most unpopular living president for his trouble—the shortcomings of the father are experiencing something of a renaissance. Or "Poppy chic," as biographer Jon Meacham calls it.
Contrasted with the "crazy neocon bellicosity" of No. 43, No. 41 "is now nostalgically viewed as an emblem of lost bipartisanship and centrism," contends Dowd, who sat down with the senior Bush last year. The self-effacing former president, who "never even cashed in with a proper presidential memoir" because of his aversion to "the big I," turns 88 this week with a fawning HBO documentary, 41, to mark the occasion. "Their historical stock is on a seesaw," Meacham says. "They both can't be up at the same time." Click for Dowd's full column.