Look, we know Bush screws up. But notice the pattern of some of the screwups: He fails, then he's criticized -- and then he makes a great show of working to exceed expectations that he himself has lowered. He lowers his own bar, then seeks praise for clearing it.
We know he did this after 9/11. He ran like a scared rabbit that day and made godawful mini-speeches. As Rudy Giuliani displayed unexpected reserves of calm strength and empathy, New York waited a day, then two days, for the president of the United States to show up. He finally dropped by three days after the fact, on 9/14, bullhorn in hand. And a few days after that he gave a speech to Congress that was praised as magisterial, though it was merely adequate. It didn't matter -- he cleared a bar he'd lowered.
It happened again during the tsunami -- the government's relief contribution was late and inadequate, but then, reeling from criticism, he raised the dollar amount, and raised it again. Then he dispatched his father and Bill Clinton to the stricken area. Bush did better than he'd led the world to believe he'd do -- therefore, you were supposed to think, he did well.
It's an interesting pattern: A crisis for millions of people becomes a crisis for him. A problem requiring a response from government departments and agencies that actually do things becomes a problem requiring a response from Bush's imagemongers -- virtually the only people in his administration who are any good at their jobs.
And, of course, the criticism rallies right-wingers in the mainstream and irregular media to do what they do best, which is to try to shift blame to Democrats.
A lot of little kids learn to manipulate grown-ups this way. Some, of course, never stop doing it.