George W. Bush has grown old, erratic and rosy in the eight years of his presidency. Little remains of his combativeness or his enthusiasm for physical fitness. On this sunny Tuesday morning in New York, even his hair seemed messy and unkempt, his blue suit a little baggy around the shoulders, as Bush stepped onto the stage, for the eighth time, at the United Nations General Assembly... He failed to notice that the delegates sitting in front of and below him were shaking their heads, smiling and whispering, or if he did notice, he was no longer capable of reacting... There is another way to put it, too: Bush was a laughing stock in the gray corridors of the UN... [T]he ridicule was a new thing. It marked the end of respect.There's more. Oh, there's more.
In the course of one Presidency, a mere eight years, the "last superpower" has plummeted back into the ranks of nations, with no real indicator that merely mingling in the ranks is the endpoint of Icarus's flight. Now there's "national greatness conservatism" for you.
Update: Here's another bit on how the administration just hasn't adapted to their changed circumstances and reduced influence, this time in the context of the financial crisis.