George W. Bush–Forever My President
President George W. Bush has come out of his long post-presidential silence this week to promote his memoirs. His book “Decision Points” has him granting interviews all over the place.
I have made no secret how I feel about him.
I love the man.
I would go through a brick wall for him if he asked.
I am one of the “true believers.”
When other conservatives wavered and turned on him, I never did.
After the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 1941, he responded to Islamofascism in a way that should have been the approach in the 1970s.
His critics savaged him, but then again they hated him for existing and breathing. They never accepted the results of the 2000 election, when his opponent failed to steal the presidency.
So as I have said before and will keep saying, I don’t care if I am the last man standing next to him. He is right, and his critics are wrong.
Yet while I have these warm feelings toward the man, I am troubled with myself. I realize that one of the most admirable qualities he possesses is something that escapes me now, and maybe forever.
He is gracious.
I don’t know how he does it.
Maybe his Christianity teaches him to turn the other cheek, and he does.
I think about this because I met his press secretary Dana Perino a couple of years ago.
I asked her one question.
“Ms Perino, I feel like we are in a boxing match but only one side is throwing punches. When is President Bush going to start hitting back? His critics are not fit to lick his boots, yet when they attack him he doesn’t counterpunch. When will he give the left the verbal beating they deserve? When will he hit back?”
Ms. Perino gave me the answer I did not want to hear.
He was never going to hit back. In fact, his staff was ordered not to hit back. He was going to be gracious to the end.
This week he has been given tons of opportunities to bash his successor. After all, his successor spends every waking minute complaining about what he inherited. So if 44 spends more time attacking 43 than governing, would 43 finally take 44 to the woodshed?
Not for one second.
Being elected President does not make one Presidential. George W. Bush is the epitome of class, grace, and dignity, something his critics will never learn.