Tuesday, January 13, 2009

President Bush to Leave With Dignity and Grace

President Bush gave his last press conference yesterday morning.

The meeting is getting some big play online, very little of it positive.

That's the way it is for this president, who has been hammered relentlessly on his decisionmaking and policies, on issues ranging from tax cuts to warrantless wiretaps. It's not just the left, of course. Many on the right see the Bush years as an epitaph for conservatism. Not me. The country needs a new direction, but the new administration represents cyclical change. The GOP's dominated politics for decades, in both ideas and power. The Democrats will have a go of it now, and there may of a realignment of sorts depending on how successful the Barack Obama administration is.

But I have no doubts this administration's legacy will be great and profound. I've written recently on President Bush's moral clarity, and I'm sad to see this unyielding advocate of American exceptionalism leave the presidency. I'm not one of those conservatives who have soured on Bush. I understand some of the constraints in foreign policy and war that have derailed other administration initiatives in international relations, but as we see in the video above, Bush has understood that the president must often lead rather than follow, especially on public opinion. The war in Iraq is turning out to be a phenomenal achievement, and it will rightly be the centerpiece of the Bush legacy of standing up against rogued regimes who flout the will of the international community.

We are continuing to see, of course, calls for war crimes prosecutions on the left, and the press conference had the tone of a truth commission, where journalists hectored Bush to admit his "failings." When Bush counted out a few lesser flops, that wasn't enough.
Dana Milbank criticized Bush for not admitting the "big mistakes." Jennifer Rubin responds, noting President Bush's dignity and grace as he nears exit from office:

Opinion is sharply divided on the Bush presidency, and many of us don’t yet have a firm grasp on how large the failures will loom and how significant the accomplishments may seem in hindsight. But if there were ever a more graceful exit by a president — both in the tone of his interviews and the magnanimous and robust cooperation with his successor (who excoriated him during the campaign in the most personal terms) — I can’t recall it. That too will be part of the legacy.
It will be a monumental legacy. I have no doubt.

29 comments:

TRUTH 101 said...

You and President Bush confuse "moral clarity" with blind stubborness Professor Douglas. Only at the end of the President's term has he finally admitted that he made errors. His failures can be traced to that once he saw he was in error he continued down the same path anyway.

Tim said...

I think I can speak pretty much for the entire world...some of us are not so easily fooled.

Good riddance Mr. Bush. You simply do not leave the world in a better place than it was 8 years ago. Or even one year ago.

Let's just say that I am not a fan of your entire political career. You are a man of limited means, who excelled because of a family legacy. You achieved very little in your life that did not come with that privilege. Left to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps you would have failed to enter a decent university. You got mediocre grades when you did get there, but failed the military by not fulfilling your duties as a trained pilot. You then left school to lead several failing business opportunities that were handed to you. You then pretended to be a Texan so you could run for governor (in a state where the governorship is basically ceremonial) and badly mismanage that state's environmental interests. At least you managed to execute the most criminals ever on death row without ever spending more than two minutes studying the case sheets on these crimes. You had no problem snuffing out lives, no matter how tenuous the circumstances. This was merely a harbinger of your reckless choices that would come to illuminate your failed, dismal presidency, which you won by judicial fiat, and not the will of the people.

You promised not to be a "nation builder" but, swept along by your warlord Darth Cheney, you managed to fudge weak intelligence into a "coalition of who can we pay off" to join us in Iraq. Then, after paying off our enemies, you declared victory.

So, hundreds of thousands of deaths later, millions in exodus, you claim it a rousing success. Yet other, more heinous actions from leaders of other countries continue unabated. The presence of oil in Iraq, though, made the thought of it going to waste, or a dictator, was too much to bear. Haliburton and Dick Cheney could simply not leave that left there!

President Bush, you have served your country in the way you know best--extremely poorly. It's safe to say you are the worst president in my lifetime, probably my children's too.

But at least you left with dignity. I will give you that much.

And that is why you are a loser Mr. Bush. You have no sense of decency. Just ask those from Katrina. I bet they are happy to see you go too.

Stogie said...

(Not the) Truth 101: You never give any specifics as to what you are arguing. I doubt that you know yourself. Your positions are more attitude than opinion.

Tim, your rant is also rather mindless and absent of facts. It is more in the line of a personal insult. And, like most liberals, you don't know what you're talking about. Bush didn't execute criminals in Texas, the State did. The governor there has little say about it and cannot even pardon or commute those convicted of capital crimes. But your error, I'm sure will cause you no embarrassment as being wrong is no doubt what comes naturally.

Bush did indeed win the presidency in spite of your self-delusion. Your side tried to steal the election but we didn't let you get away with it. Get over it.

Yes, we won in Iraq. As a liberal I'm sure that gives you great pain in that liberals always root for the other side. Some wise man once described a liberal as "someone who will not take his own side in a fight." That's you Tim.

Katrina was caused by a hurricane and the ineptness of the Democrats in control of the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. They are the ones to blame for the disaster; but hey, why worry about the truth? As a libby you can create your own reality, e.g. the 9/11 "Troofers."

Your rant is a bumper-sticker of mindless leftwing slogans, myths and error. You have definitely earned the right to be called a "liberal." However, I do not find that in any way a compliment.

Tim said...

Stogie: Keep smoking whatever you are smoking. I know it's nice to live in that cloud called conservatism.

Everything I said is well documented. Unlike Cheney's records, which he is seeking to hide.

Bush is a loser, pure and simple. His numbers only reflect it. As do his supporters.

Like Ann Coulter, someone has to say what everyone else is thinking. Right?

Donald Douglas said...

Truth101: This post isn't about Bush's errors, it's about his stand on the big issues, and his standing up to the antiwar hordes and pacifist public opinion. He got some of the biggest things of his administration right, and that's why he'll have a great legacy.

Donald Douglas said...

Tim: You got hammered by Stogie, simple as that. Funny too...

Tim said...

Research much, Stogie? (And Donald, your comments indicate your lack of detail and research on the finer points. Sorry, Doc.)

"In capital cases, the Governor has the constitutional authority to grant an offender one 30-day reprieve of a scheduled execution without a recommendation from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles."

Now, for argument's sake I will use this one simple example. Stogie, maybe you can admit you know nothing about Texas politics? Or should we just say politics in general?

Oh wait, there's more:

George W. Bush during his six years as governor of Texas presided over 152 executions, more than any other governor in the recent history of the United States. Bush has said: "I take every death penalty case seriously and review each case carefully.... Each case is major because each case is life or death." In his autobiography, A Charge to Keep (1999), he wrote, "For every death penalty case, [legal counsel] brief[s] me thoroughly, reviews the arguments made by the prosecution and the defense, raises any doubts or problems or questions." Bush called this a "fail-safe" method for ensuring "due process" and certainty of guilt.

He might have succeeded in bequeathing to history this image of himself as a scrupulously fair-minded governor if the journalist Alan Berlow had not used the Public Information Act to gain access to fifty-seven confidential death penalty memos that Bush's legal counsel, Alberto R. Gonzales, whom President Bush has recently nominated to be attorney general of the United States, presented to him, usually on the very day of execution.[1] The reports Gonzales presented could not be more cursory. Take, for example, the case of Terry Washington, a mentally retarded man of thirty-three with the communication skills of a seven-year-old. Washington's plea for clemency came before Governor Bush on the morning of May 6, 1997. After a thirty-minute briefing by Gonzales, Bush checked "Deny"—just as he had denied twenty-nine other pleas for clemency in his first twenty-eight months as governor.

That's your boy!

Average American said...

We'll see in 4 years, probably a whole lot less, how many NObama cultists are still enchanted with the messiah. My guess is it will be a whole lot less than voted for him. I have stated several times, I hope I am wrong in most of the things I think about NObama, but I fear that I am not.

Did anyone else notice how much younger Bush looks lately? I swear he shed 10 years in the last couple of weeks, and NObama gained 10.

Anonymous said...

Average: Bush is trying to burnish his image by distorting the reality. The facts are facts. Obama has a big mountain to climb, and the reason Bush looks younger is that he just doesn't care. He never did. Whether it was clearing brush in Texas when he should have been reviewing security protocols, to his Katrina response (let's distinguish for our more reality-challenged readers here--a response by the president isn't getting people off the roofs yourself, it's showing up, showing compassion, and not having two-minute briefing sessions and brushing off the weight of this tragedy. Its mainly about appearances and showing that you care. Bush did a disappearing act here. This is nothing to do with the local ineptitude.)

Bush was a force 5 disaster. He succeeded in one area: suckering all those who succumbed to his fear-based game plan. If we scare you enough, you will let us do anything we want. And he did. And you let him.

TRUTH 101 said...

I answered your deluded observation about Bush's steadfastness in the face of facts in the first comment Professor.

Double A: I like you. I think you're a well meaning guy. And we did win the war in Iraq within two weeks of the invasion. It's the OCCUPATION we are losing. 4200 plus of our Soldiers died and Iraq is still a festering civil war. Christians persecuted and ran out of Iraq. Sunni, Shia and Kurd can't be together in the same block. I challenge you to walk down any Bagdhad street without a hundred amed bodyguard escort.

Tim said...

Sorry, I am "Anonymous." As if there were any doubt.

Sarge Charlie said...

The bush haters cannot let he go with grace, he deserves much better than the crap these folks are saying. History will be kind to him, in the meantime these jerks need to say thank you for keeping me and my family safe.

TRUTH 101 said...

The dead and wounded from the Iraq War and occupation are American Heroes and by all measure successful. It is Bush that failed them. The only thing to be thankful for is Bush is almost gone.

Tim said...

Sarge Charlie: I would prefer a president who took charge from the time he took office, not 8 months later on Sept. 12. It's not a part-time job. He did nothing, no, less than nothing...he actively ignored intelligence saying we were about to be attacked.

If that is your interpretation of safe...

Donald Douglas said...

Tim: Sarge Charlie's a vet, and he thinks you're a jerk. Hmm ... that says something. Maybe you might catch the drift and lighten up on Bush.

JBW said...

Don, how does Sarge Charlie being a vet give him any special ability to acurately judge the character of others? What the hell do you intend that remark to even mean? You're like McCain's campaign saying that because he was a prisoner of war it's impossible for him to ever lie, cheat or steal.

And have you seen SC's latest posts? He's practically felating W with his "Bush Thankathon"; I dare say that he'd think anyone a jerk if they even intimated that the Bush presidency wasn't the greatest in the history of this country. That says something too: Sarge Charlie is as blind to Bush's craptacular presidency as you are.

Grace Explosion said...

Again, I do not agree with a number of things in the Bush administration. However, in all fairness, I'll make a couple of points:

#1. Never in the history of the USA have we faced the level threats we have faced under President Bush's "watch" relative to terrorist threats on American shores utilizing weapons of mass destruction.

Noting that, when terrorist cells were seeming to rise from Iraq influence and relationship - and Bush believed Hussein so hated the USA and had weapons of mass destruction - he had to make a judgment call. The weapons of mass destruction were not found. YET, he WAS President and saw 9/11 occur. It HAD to be at the forefront of his mind that the USA must be protected from terrorists who could bring WMD's into the USA to attack us on our shores - just like they did in 9/11 but with greater power of broadbased destruction.

President Bush had his line of reasoning. He wanted the fight to be on foreign shores not our own. He didn't want to let terrorist groups organize, plot, and plan further attacks esp. with WMD's.

We see the "downside" of this war. Yes, there is a downside. Yes, there is a backlash also. However, what is the "unknown" is "What if we wouldn't have gone to war with Iraq??" Is it possible that we have been spared an WMD attack on our shores that "never happened" like in "It's a Wonderful Life" because George W DID begin this war and thus put terrorist groups on the defense?? Instead of letting them plot and plan and act out on our shores??

Because here's the deal. We're going to get hit with WMD's on our shores. I won't be betting anything, but I can almost guarantee on the basis of what I see that WMD's are going to hit America under Obama.

Let's say Obama does what the left wants. He pulls back from Iraq and Afghanistan. He tries "diplomacy" with Muslim nations. The left thinks, "Great! That's just what we wanted!" But how's that TUNE going to CHANGE... when NYC and DC and San Diego are taken out by terrorist cells moving to release a nuclear holocaust as suicide bombers with nuclear weaponry?? And chemical warfare??

Are you all going to be looking at Bush in QUITE THE SAME LIGHT???

And are you going to be thinking Obama has brought you the "change" you really, really wanted??

Or is it just real easy to piss and moan and complain because you only see the negatives of war with Iraq and Afghanistan... and you'll never know "what would have happened" had we not gone to war these last several years?? "What would have happened" if terrorists with increasing access to WMD's would have been left on the offense against us instead of put on the defense by George W. Bush??

It's not all or nothing. It's not like if you went back in time and Bush didn't go to war (and you all were for it when you thought like he did that there were WMD's involved as did Congress and NATO, imo)... that we would necessarily have had a "utopia" of "peace".

As I recall, we didn't really "deserve" 9/11... but all Islam broke out in cheers and celebration when they saw our nation and our civilians murdered and attacked by Islamic radicals.

And now the left cries out to defend Hamas.

I've never seen such foolishness. I think you'll be singing a different tune when the UN-USA is it with nukes and possibly chemical warfare under Obama - cause you're going to see "what might have happened"... happen.

Quit your bitchin'.

Grace.

Average American said...

Tim, there is a whole boatload of blame to go around concerning Katrina. Bush gets some of it, but the Mayor of New Orleans, the Governor of Louisianna, and especially FEMA, all get their share. Bush was right about one point he made the other day. If he had visited and a couple hundred cops got pulled off their vital rescue work, you would have a lot more to bitch about than you do, and rightfully so.

Truth, thanks for the compliment. Yes we won the war in short order. Inadequate planning, which involved many minds was a major factor in the prolonged occupation since. Bush has to carry a good chunk of that blame. I place the burden on Paul Brennen though. That man did not handle his end well AT ALL. He should have been yanked much sooner that he was. Most people point to religious strife as the biggest antagonist, but corruption, greed, and power, are the real culprits as to why the insurgency continues. No one man should get all the blame for that. Freedom is not free, nor is it immediately embraced. We are so close to being successful, and therefore finished over there, I would hate to see NObama pull the plug to soon. I believe his 16 month plan will prove to be long enough now, since conditions on the ground are close enough to make it work. That credit goes to Bush, and mostly to John McCain, not to NObama. And you are wrong about the security over there now, and also about our troops. Do yourself a favor, visit a V.F.W. post or an American Legion and talk to as many Iraq vets as you can find. Get your "Iraq news" from people who know what it is REALLY like over there and I think you may have a revelation like you wouldn't believe. You will find a few who will support some of your views, but the bulk will show you a whole different picture.

Nikki said...

Thank you so much for this post. I have been working on a Bush post for a while now and this was a great piece to keep me going as sometimes the post is getting rather long. I watched all of the clips of the press conference and found the President at his best. He has been very graceful to an incoming President who has been less than kind to Mr. Bush. It speaks volumes in my mind. awesome post...:)N

Grace Explosion said...

On Katrina, I'll give my spiritual views.

Strangely enough, I walked into work... and had not heard about the flood in New Orleans. I knew nothing about it at all... and someone said there had been a great tragedy. And I said, "New Orleans was destroyed." I just knew it.

When sin comes in... God doesn't get "angry" and shoot a lightning bolt from Heaven. What He does is says, "OK". Because what the sin in the city is saying is, "God, we don't want you here. We reject your laws." And God says, "OK"... and He pulls back. You see, God is protection, provision, and blessing. When He pulls back His Spirit - protection, provision, and blessing is pulled back. He's like a "bodyguard". When the "bodyguard" steps back out of the way... the bully steps in. When people reject God, they "open the door" to Satan. And Satan has come to steal, kill, and destroy. When God steps back - Satan steps in - and that's the "wrath of God". They wanted Satan, not God, and that's what they got - destruction.

Did they repent and turn from their sin?? No.

Why don't they blame their own sin and their own wickedness as the cause of Katrina??

America's going to get nuked. And people will say, "Why didn't God protect us???" You wanted Obama. Didn't you?? You didn't want Palin, a Christian, as VP. You wanted a man who said he had power to heal the planet and roll back the ocean tides. You don't want God. You want a man you want to worship instead of God.

Well, when the WMD's hit, don't be hypocrites and blame God. You asked Him to leave - corporately as a nation in an election of your own wills. And He's going to. And when His Spirit withdraws, and the protection, provision, and blessing He provided as your "bodyguard" leaves... and Satan who you prefer, actually, is going to release destruction.

There's your change. You didn't want to be a nation under God. Therefore, you shall be a nation under Satan - and bear the effects thereof.

Don't blame God. Blame yourselves. AT some point, take personal responsibility for your decision to drive God out of the position of being over the USA.

And surely, don't blame the Christians when they secede in the several States. We will not be coming under the curse the USA is going to come under 1/20/09.

Pat Houseworth said...

The LOSER LEFT at it's best. Low IQed, brainwashed libs will be blaming Bush for their pathetic lives until the cows come home.

Long after GW is gone, these LOSERS will be sucking off the teets of the Government(Socialist) Cash Cow.....get over it LOSERS, your foreign born Messiah is in charge, and Rubber Face Nancy and Dick Reid are riding shotgun with the taxpayer's money, and guess what? You are still LOSERS and miserable. Choke on the next 4 years, because we plan on making your lives Hell anyway we can.

The Vegas Art Guy said...

It will be years before we get a good idea of how the Bush administration really did during his 8 years in office. Just like it will be years before we get a good idea on how Clinton did, etc...

It's just now coming to light how Ike did and he's been out of office for 50 years or so.

Tim said...

Pat: Do you care to show us proof that Obama is "foreign born." Otherwise, this is feeble.

Maybe there will be a new government program to help you over your "Obama Derangement."

Donald, to his credit, at least says he hopes things don't turn out as bad as he thinks. Shouldn't you be feeling the same?

Pat Houseworth said...

Timmy, I don't need to show "The Messiah" is foreign born, however, I do believe he needs to show US he is American born, and so far, he has not produced a CERTIFIED BIRTH CERTIFICATE....

Just Sayin' what others are asking.

As far as government programs, I worked for the Gov for 25 years....I've seen them all, and 90% are total failures, so thanks but no thanks.

Tim said...

OK Pat. I hope you are returning your government pension then. ;-)

(For the record, he has produced a legit birth certificate. Maybe you haven't seen it? It's been verified and reverified. Why does everyone on the right think he was born in Kenya? Did Fox News say that?)

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Truth, to have moral clarity requires a stubborn streak. To stay faithful to your values and principles requires that you must be willing to stay the course, even if it's unpopular or comes with a price.

Indigo Red said...

Sorry, Tim. Obama produced a Certificate of Live Birth, not a Birth Certificate. Hawai'i has four levels of birth certification. The COLB Obama has produced is the lowest form; it simply states that yes, indeed, he was born. Nothing more.

The 'verified and reverified' of which you speak were only verifications that the COLB is exactly what it says it is - a Certification of Live Birth.

Now before you attempt to swing at me, I believe Obama was probably born in Hawai'i. The Constitution, however, asks that the POTUS provide proof of citizenship and under Hawai'ian definitions the COLB does not rise to the level of proof.

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