A Tale Told By An Idiot
I didn't watch one second of Bush's farewell address and I didn't really read much coverage of it either. I heard that he said something like "our air and water is cleaner" and frankly, that's all I need to know about it. I guess when he wasn't lying about his record, the whole theme of the speech was "I tried."
Sorry, not good enough. The Effort Olympics may work for young children, but for leader of the free world I don't think you should get an "also competed" award. Under his tenure, the President crippled our economy at home, sold off much of the country to corporate interests, violated more laws than I thought we had on the books, caused us little but scorn abroad and was directly responsible for the death and suffering of untold millions. That is the work of a sociopath, and a few flowery words written by speechmakers saying "I always tried to do what's right" won't really paper over the pain.
A lot of the derision for Bush focused on his words instead of his actions, which I always found to be a mistake. Yet if there's one example of those words and actions coming together to really explain the character and soul of the man, I'd say it's this:
People asked, "Which moments from the last eight years do you revisit most often?" Bush, after talking about meeting with families of fallen soldiers, replied, "I think about throwing out that pitch at the World Series on [Oct. 30] 2001. My heart was racing when I got to the mound. Didn't want to bounce it. Didn't want to let the fans down. My heart was pumping so hard, I wasn't sure if I could lift my arm. I never felt that anxious any other time during my presidency, curiously enough."
I don't think "curious" begins to explain it.
The other 15 million decisions he had to make during his Presidency, decisions that impacted the lives of practically everyone on the planet, weren't going to affect him one way or the other. He had family money and lived inside the bubble, and if the planet is singed and chaos reigns in the globe's trouble spots, "in 100 years we'll all be dead" so who cares, right? But throwing a baseball in front of a crowd is a deeply signifying event, you see. Because it's just George up on the mound. He has nowhere to hide and nobody to blame it on if things go awry. THAT'S what makes him anxious. Stupid feats of athleticism. The sending soldiers into a zone of death, no problem.
Never let it be forgotten that this was the guy who was practically worshipped by a fawning Establishment that saw his dullness and lack of concern for anyone but himself as an attribute.
MATTHEWS: What's the importance of the president's amazing display of leadership tonight?
MATTHEWS: What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously. What does that image mean to the American people, a guy who can actually get into a supersonic plane and actually fly in an unpressurized cabin like an actual jet pilot?
MATTHEWS: Do you think this role, and I want to talk politically [...], the president deserves everything he's doing tonight in terms of his leadership. He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics. Do you think he is defining the office of the presidency, at least for this time, as basically that of commander in chief? That [...] if you're going to run against him, you'd better be ready to take [that] away from him.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, Bob Dornan, you were a congressman all those years. Here's a president who's really nonverbal. He's like Eisenhower. He looks great in a military uniform. He looks great in that cowboy costume he wears when he goes West. I remember him standing at that fence with Colin Powell. Was [that] the best picture in the 2000 campaign?
MATTHEWS: We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like [former President Bill] Clinton or even like [former Democratic presidential candidates Michael] Dukakis or [Walter] Mondale, all those guys, [George] McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It's simple. We're not like the Brits. We don't want an indoor prime minister type, or the Danes or the Dutch or the Italians, or a [Russian Federation President Vladimir] Putin. Can you imagine Putin getting elected here? We want a guy as president.