I've made no secret of my admiration for President Bush. Part of that grew from watching his many opponents - both foreign and domestic - misread the man by a country mile, to their lasting shame.
A personal note: When I served as a communications intern at the White House in 2007, I had the privilege of sitting in on an off-the-record Q&A session between President Bush and a small group of entrepreneurs under 40. It was closed to the press. For nearly an hour, the assembled group peppered the president with questions on myriad subjects — from granular economic policy, to war, to his relationship with his father. I must admit that I was taken aback by Bush’s performance. He was sharp, deeply informed, self-deprecatingly funny, and serious. In short, he was in total command. Even as someone who voted for him and who respected him greatly — despite several disagreements on policy — it instantly dawned on me that I’d never encountered that George W. Bush before. Perhaps I’d doubted he even existed; call it the soft bigotry of (unfairly) low expectations. I wondered why.
Another part of Bush I like is, in the face of such true incompetence and (sometimes) pure hatred, how gracefully he's played his hand.
He's got a lot of good parts, but the thing is, they've added up to what I recognize as a normal human being, from this century, and these United States.
That I saw one rise to Leader Of The Free World is still thrilling.
Now - about that quote above - I still don't know why, say, Hot Air would give anyone that clueless a platform. (They're probably as emotionally stunted as he is.) White House background or no White House background, I don't get why these people are foisted on us. His comments mostly remind me that - if President Bush's term exposed anything - there's an astoundingly shallow vein running through America, if not the entire Western world.
Is that now the standard?
While Obama has redefined "The Emperor Has No Clothes," everyone knows who that's in comparison to - the man who didn't allow anyone else to dress him. And, for that reason, too many people actively resisted actually seeing him. ("Perhaps I’d doubted he even existed.") A delusion that's resulted in too many years spent shaking my head.
I'd like to stop.
But - along with a growing understanding that it takes a long time for people to fess up to their problems - even worse, I've discovered, are the problems they make for others.
In Ken Burns' documentary, Central Park Five, he shows that a murderer had more integrity than the judiciary, law enforcement, or the general public - the killer being one of the few insisting that innocent men not suffer for his crimes.
You don't see that much, for everyday offenses, and that's the tragedy.
I hear President Bush's new digs allow the public to be "The Decider" on the issues he faced.
One of which has to include them.
Which brings up another part of Ol' Bushie Boy I admire:
The one that really knows how to stick it to 'em,...