RETIREMENT HASN’T IMPROVED RUMSFELD…. When Donald Rumsfeld was forced from the Pentagon four years ago, he departed the stage as a humiliated and widely-loathed figure. After a series of catastrophic failures, no one, not even Republicans, found ol’ Rummy remotely credible. He left a beaten man.

Four years later, Rumsfeld has published a truly ridiculous book, which offers him an opportunity to go on national television and bash the president.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld disputes the notion that President Barack Obama has made America more popular around the globe than it was under his former boss, President George W. Bush.

Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” by host Candy Crowley whether the U.S. is looked at differently than under his tenure, Rumsfeld replied, “I don’t think there’s data that supports that.”

“He has made a practice of trying to apologize for America,” Rumsfeld said of Obama. “I personally am proud of America.”

Let’s unpack this a bit. On the first point, there’s all kinds of data to support the notion that the standing of the United States has improved around the globe since President Obama took office, replacing George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld. This was evident six months into the Obama presidency, and it continues. Obama ran in 2008 vowing to win back the international respect the United States had lost, and he’s been widely successful in doing just that.

Rumsfeld may not like the “data,” but reality doesn’t much care what he prefers.

On the second point, I realize Republicans are pretty invested in this notion that the president has “apologized for America,” but in Grown-Up Land, this is simply imaginary. You’ll notice, of course, that conservatives bring this ridiculous talking point up quite a bit, without actually pointing to any examples. There’s a reason for this.

If, however, Rumsfeld wants to argue that President Obama has made an effort to restore frayed international alliances, and has felt compelled to acknowledge U.S. missteps in the past, that’s certainly true. Of course, those efforts were made necessary by none other than Donald “Old Europe” Rumsfeld, who was directly responsible for dragging the name of the United States through the mud, undermining our reputation in the process.

To accuse President Obama of “apologizing for America,” is idiotic. But if Rumsfeld wants to apologize for embarrassing America, I’m all ears.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.