Perhaps I am a dim bulb, but President Bush has never surprised me, and that is probably why I have never felt let down or “betrayed” by him. He is, in essentials, precisely whom he has ever been. He did not surprise me when he managed, in August of 2001, to find a morally workable solution in the matter of Embryonic Stem Cells. He did not surprise me when, a month later, he stood on a pile of rubble and lifted a broken city from its knees. When my NYFD friends told me of the enormous consolation and strength he brought to his meetings with grieving families, I was not surprised. When the World Series opened in New York City and the President was invited to throw the first pitch, there was no surprise in his throwing (while wearing body armor) a perfect strike.There's much, much more. Read the whole thing here.
He did not surprise me when he spoke eloquently from the National Cathedral, or again before the Joint Houses of Congress, when he laid out the Bush Doctrine. He did not surprise me when he did it again at West Point, or when he went visionary at Whitehall (don’t try to find a tape of it, honey, that was ONE SPEECH C-Span never re-ran and the press quickly tried to move along from).
There were no surprises in President Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan to battle AlQaeda. There were no surprises when he went after an Iraq which everyone believed had WMD, an Iraq that had tried to assassinate an American President, an Iraq whose NYC consul did not lower its flag to half-mast after 9/11.
Actually, there was one surprise. He did surprise me by going back to the UN, and back to the UN, in that mythical “rush to war” we heard so much about. But then again, the effort in Iraq was never as “unilateral” as it had been painted.
President Bush did not surprise me when, faced with the scorn of “the world community” and those ever-ready A.N.S.W.E.R. marches which sprang up condemning him and Tony Blair, he stood firm. A lesser man, a mere politician, would have folded under such enormous pressure. I was not surprised when Bush did not. (Aside - it’s funny how they just can’t get a good-sized crowd together for those protests these days, innit? Everything about Iraq was “wrong” and everything about Iraq is “failure and quagmire” and yet, somehow, we all breathe a sigh of relief that the job is done, that Saddam is out of power and that Iraq, save a very small piece of troubled land, is - in remarkably short order (and despite the wild pronouncements of John Murtha) - tasting its first morsels of democracy and liberty, and showing promise.)
It never surprised me that Yassar Arafat, formerly the “most welcomed” foreign “Head of State” in the Clinton White House was not welcomed - ever - to the Bush White House.
I wasn’t surprised by the, not one, but two tax cuts he got passed through congress, or the roaring economy - and jobs - those tax cuts created. I wasn’t surprised when he killed the unending farce that is the Kyoto treaty (remember, the thing Al Gore and the Senate unanimously voted down under Clinton?), or when he killed U.S. involvement in the International Criminal Court, or when he told the UN they risked becoming irrelevent, or when he told the Congress and the world, “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.” Not surprising.
I wasn’t surprised at all to watch him - in a foreign and hostile land - go rescue the Secret Service agent who was being detained and kept from protecting him. Or to see him shoot his cuffs, afterwards, and greet his host with a smile.
I was never surprised that he tried to “change the tone” or tried reaching across the aisle to invite onesuch as Ted Kennedy to help draft education reform, something none of his predecessors dared touch. Just as they never dared to try to reform social security or our energy policies. The feckless ones in Congress wouldn’t get the jobs done, unfortunately, but he is a president who at least tried to get something going on those “dangerous” issues. His senior prescription plan was unsurprising and it is helping lots of people.
I was not at all to surprised to see President Bush forego the “trembling lip photo-op” moment in which most world-leaders indulged after the Christmas Tsunami of 2004 in order to get real work done, to bring immediate help to that area by co-ordinating our own military (particularly our Naval support) with Australia and Japan. Stupid, stingy American. I was surprised, actually, to see him dance with free Georgians. I didn’t think he danced.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The Anchoress Understands -- Bush Is One Of the Great Ones
I have been trying to tell people for a long time now just why Dubya is one of the great presidents. Here's "The Anchoress" on the subject. I reprint most of it here -- you can find the whole thing [illustrated] here.