Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Farewell, Mr. President

Amid all the news today about President Obama's nomination -- and my prayers are with him as he leads America -- here are some thoughts about the previous president you aren't hearing much about today, in the midst of all the gleeful celebrating. I don't think anyone -- even Republicans or conservatives -- believes Bush governed perfectly. I know there were a number of things he did that I couldn't support. But I think his real character and the things he was right about have been far too overlooked by the mainstream media.

So, I offer a few excerpts from a roundtable about the legacy of outgoing President George W. Bush at National Review Online:

He took a tremendous amount of abuse, particularly from elite opinion, and did not buckle. Neither did he lash out. He showed tremendous personal grace, as during the recent shoe-throwing incident in Iraq. He could be a real cool cat, this president. He has his faults, as everyone knows: They have been well gone over. But what has not been well gone over is that he is kind, decent, honest, principled, devout — and full of love.

The demonization of President George W. Bush was a fait accompli before he was even inaugurated. The rage and hatred against Bush developed before his election and before his political enemies got to know him...Given the circumstances of 9/11, one would think Americans would pull together in these trying times. But each election cycle the Democrats kept doubling down on the hate, and in 2006 they finally got their wish. They were now in power again. Still, their demand to pull out of Iraq was a weak cry. Because they know we won. Because they know Bush was right on the big issue of our time.

When the United States was attacked by al-Qaeda on 9/11, every expert in Alpha Centauri solemnly announced that it was only a matter of time — and not much time, either — before the United States was attacked again. Well, here we are some seven and a half years later and, guess what, it hasn’t happened. I know people — you see what low company I keep — who will tell you with a straight face that President Bush had nothing to do with this run of good luck. “Post hoc,” they sniff, “doesn’t necessarily mean propter hoc, and if America has thus far escaped another terrorist attack, there is no reason to think that W had anything to do with it.” No sane person, I submit, really believes that. Deep down, we all know that the reason the United States has not suffered another terrorist attack is the policies formulated by the president in the aftermath of 9/11.

I am grateful to President Bush for ignoring the rants and raves of the establishment press (and a few uncomprehending National Review contributors who shall remain nameless), while persistently doing what he had determined was the right thing to do. It is simply pathetic to watch E. J. Dionne and other victims of Bush Derangement Syndrome miss this part of the man’s character to the bitter end. After the triangulation of the Clinton years, after 9/11, and in the face of the biotech challenge, America badly needed a president who didn’t govern by focus groups and polls. That so many people resented this says, I fear, more about our political culture than it does about George W. Bush.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Good Friends

Another break from the dadgum Grocery Chronicles, just to tell a quick true life story,

My daughter Rebecca had her wisdom teeth removed this past Friday, and her face has been very swollen since then -- so swollen, in fact, that for a few days she went around the house with a scarf over her face (an idea she got, I think, from the movie "Penelope.") We finally convinced her that, instead of making her less noticeable, the scarf made her look like someone about to rob the 3:45 stagecoach from Dodge City, so she eventually stopped wearing it.

We'd all agreed that if Rebecca was still quite swollen on Monday morning, her mother and I would let her stay home from the first day back to school, since she's a good student and had her homework assignments to work on. She woke up yesterday still swollen, so she stayed home and missed the day of school.

Even though she was still almost as swollen this morning, she knew she'd have to return to school or risk falling behind. So she went, not too excitedly. And she made it through, although she claims EVERYONE noticed.

Here's the unusual little story part. Rebecca's got a great group of girls as her friends, and they all knew why she was missing classes. It turns out that there was a party at school she had to miss yesterday, so her friends created some sort of Rebecca "puppet" or "doll" that they not only took to the party in her absence, but that they faithfully took to each or her classes and placed in her empty chair.

This story doesn't have any big moral, but I just think it's nice for her to have such good (and creative) friends.