I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country. And I think he made the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances.
– Barack Obama on George W. Bush, 1/16/09
There’s no shortage of shortcomings in the administration of the forty-third president. If your ideology is liberal, you can think of scores of disagreements with Mr. Bush ranging from mild disapproval to sputtering apoplexy. If your ideology is conservative (as mine is), well, you can think of scores of disagreements with Mr. Bush ranging from mild disapproval to sputtering apoplexy.
But for today, I’d like to acknowledge the things Bush has done that I support and am proud of. My liberal friends won’t necessarily like these things so much, but to each his own. It’s a new era. Some graciousness in parting can’t hurt.
Saddam Hussein no longer runs Iraq, and in the dark years of failure following the invasion it was president Bush almost alone who orchestrated and saw the surge through to the victory that it became. The Taliban no longer run Afghanistan, and Osama bin Laden has almost certainly been dead for years – sketchy and probably inauthentic audiotapes notwithstanding. Roberts and Alito have been appointed to the supreme court. He lowered taxes. He gave us the beginnings of a working missile defense system. He’s improved relations with China, while never failing to promote human rights both in the People’s Republic and other oppressive nations such as Cuba. He’s forged what I think will be one of the most geopolitically significant alliances of the coming century between the US and India. He put NASA back on real human exploration. He gave reforming Social Security a good try, even if it didn’t succeed.
Yes, I know all of these have caveats and problems even if you are a conservative. I know most of them are reasons to start throwing shoes if you’re a liberal. Too bad. I agree with Obama. Bush is a good man who loves his family and loves his country. And I think he made the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances. If I ever meet him, I’d like to shake his hand.
[As usual, comment with civility. There’s plenty of other places who will be more than willing to accommodate incivility in the comments, but this isn’t one of them.]