Monday, January 19, 2009

A triumphant departure

President George W Bush is heading off into the sunset tonight. He's weathered insults, death threats and mockery from his own people, the people he gave his all for, for eight years. Now he finally gets to be a private citizen again, and by gum, he's earned it.

The Anchoress has a good round-up of tribute posts from around the blogosphere. I also want to highlight (left-leaning) British columnist Julie Burchill's excellent summary of the man and the vile treatment he received.
Curiously, and somewhat hypocritically, he has been abused for both imaginary sins and real virtues.

An alleged half-wit (the kind who majors in history at Yale and graduates from Harvard) who reads two serious books a week.

A supposed Christian killjoy who has conquered a hefty drink habit. A crazed warmonger who, quite rightly, did not fight in America’s vile war against Vietnam.

Mocked for being a loyal husband to a smart, attractive wife while his priapic predecessor treated women like dirt...

A sexist, racist Neanderthal who has promoted blacks and women to heights no Democratic administration has ever dreamed of. (The mind boggles when one imagines what Bill Clinton would have tried to do to beautiful, brilliant Condoleezza Rice, but making her Secretary of State wasn’t one of them. Making her his secretary, ready at hand to sexually harass, more like.)
... [I]t was the “homophobic” dastard Dubya who, mysteriously, signed the Worker, Retiree and Employer Act which allows the rollover of pensions from a dead gay person to a partner without tax consequences — as has always been the case for straights...

The great Natan Sharansky — who learned a thing or two about humanity during years banged up in Soviet labour camps — once said to Bush: “Mr President, I see you as a dissident. Dissidents believe in an idea. They suffer a lot. But history proves them right.”

It remains to be seen how history will deal with Dubya, but chances are its verdict will be much fairer — and thus far more favourable — from the ocean-going snobs, suck-ups to Islamic terror and all-round hypocrites who have been so eager to transfer all their own weaknesses and demons on to the shoulders of this really rather decent man.

I don't know that I'd call Bush a great president. But he was a good president, because he had that one quality that too many other holders of the office haven't.

He always put his country ahead of his own interests. He never used his office to build up political capital. He didn't compulsively check the polls before taking a stand or a position. And he never backed down to the jackals in the press.

My kids have never had a president who wasn't either a Clinton or a Bush. If the new man can do half as good a job as he did, I'll be proud of him.

Today is the last time I'll be able to say, "Thank you, President Bush."

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