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Friday, April 26, 2013

Grateful for "W"

With the dedication of Bush's presidential library came the opportunity to see five US presidents together - to compare them and their legacies. Here's the lead in, one reporter questioning another about White House coverage:
We reminisced about all the places we’d been, all the crazy days and wild nights, all the history we’d seen — first hand. Just before we said our goodbyes, I asked her if she’d miss covering President Obama
“Not at all. He’s an inch deep. Bush is a bottomless chasm, a deep, mysterious, emotional, profound man. Obama is all surface — shallow, obvious, robotic, and, frankly, not nearly as smart as he thinks. Bush was the one.” 
Her words, so succinct, have stuck with me ever since. By the way, she’s a hardcore Democrat.
But she was right. And that contrast was apparent to all who watched Thursday’s ceremonial event to open W’s new presidential library in Dallas. The class and grace and depth of America’s last president completely outshined that of his successor (who, coincidentally, or perhaps not, was the only one seated in the shade on a sunny Texas day).

As for the dedication program, I quote only the part about Bush himself - follow the link for the synopsis of the others.
He got right to the point: “For eight years, you gave me the honor of serving as your president. Today I’m proud to dedicate this center to the American people.” 
He gave a profound lesson to his successor and his predecessor: “In democracy, the purpose of public office is not to fulfill personal ambition. Elected officials must serve a cause greater than themselves. The political winds blow left and right, polls rise and fall, supporters come and go. But in the end, leaders are defined by the convictions they hold. 
“As president, I tried to act on these principles every day. It wasn’t always easy and it certainly wasn’t always popular … And when our freedom came under attack, we made the tough decisions required to keep the American people safe,” he said to loud applause. 
But it was the end that gave us the truest glimpse of the man. Like so many other times, the power of America got to him. With tears in his eyes, his voice breaking, he said: “It’s the honor of a lifetime to lead a country as brave and as noble as the United States. Whatever challenges come before us, I will always believe our nation’s best day lie ahead.” By the end he was in tears, barely able to creak out: “God bless.”
I revere this humble man - cut from the same cloth as Mitt Romney.  I don't entirely agree with his decisions and political stances, and I dislike that he increased federal spending enough that Obama could bash him for his own spending problems, but I completely respect that he is a man of principle and dignity. I loved him for it then, and I love him for it now- especially now when the opposite of principle guides the country.

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