This morning's arm chair quarterbacks are criticizing him or underplaying his description of the troubled economy and for overplaying his role in the war. Of course they are in the news-selling business so it would be expecting too much for them to just be "okay" with whatever the soon-to-be-former President said, right? Advocates for and against are weighing in on what he said and didn't say in his farewell remarks. Because that is what advocates do you know.
I am reminded of one of my own coming-to-age moments when former President Reagan left office after 8 years and was also lambasted for his absentee mention of the Iran-Contra Affair and other less than glorious aspects of his presidency. My takeaway was that it was his story, and when people get to tell their own story, seldom will they allow it to be dominated by their shortcomings or perceived failures. I don't recall former President Clinton's farewell, but I am certain that it did not include a, uh, blow by blow account of the Monica Lewinsky incident.
I didn't always agree with Bush, but sometimes I did. He earned my vote twice in part because no other party could present a candidate that could convince me of enough of anything that was important to me and in part because Bush did less pandering while being more in line with some - but not all - of my core interests.
One of his strongest attributes was also one of his most criticized. He was often down right unapologetic when he made a leadership decision. And many people hated that about him. They wanted him to waver, to succumb, to reflect a position more like their own, of course. And in a society where we are used to complaining to get our way from pandering leaders, his approach to leadership was not very well received.
"No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair." - George S. Patton
President Bush did not curry enough favor among the politicos though to be an effective politician and his record will surely reflect that. Only the shadow knows what the long term effects of his leadership will reveal but having more than a superficial understanding of security matters, I am confident that among other things, the my family was much safer under Bush's leadership than anyone else's. Many will of course predictably disagree.
So now we begin a new presidential chapter, in which the same people who scream for EQUALITY and the now the same ones screaming how SPECIAL Obama's presidency is because he is, you know, black. A disturbingly ridiculous irony that I look forward to our nation getting past. (Yeah right). President Obama has lots of work to do and he should get busy while he is still popular.
As my President, he will also have my support and I hope his administration does well.
And when it is his time to go, let's not be surprised if he does not demonstrate too much contrition, okay?