Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Just one week after its [candidate's] huge victory over John McCain, the Associated Press is magnanimous in victory:
No matter how people remember President Bush's time in office, let there be no doubt about how he wants to end it: gracefully.
Never mind that Democrat Barack Obama spent all that time deriding Bush for "failed policies," or mocking him for hiding in an "undisclosed location" because he was too unpopular to show up with his party's own candidate, John McCain. This is transition time. Outgoing presidents support the new guy.
And on that front, Bush is going well beyond the minimum. He has embraced the role of statesman with such gusto that it has been hard to miss.
There are two curious things about this story. The first is the sense of palpable surprise, that this is somehow news. Those few people who are willing to admit continued support for George W. Bush would not be the least surprised at his full-throated support for the transition to President Obama. Sadly, the attacks on Bush have been so harsh that not many others are willing to acknowledge even this basic truth about his character.
The other strange thing about the article is what it omits: That the Clinton administration was, well, tacky and crude in transition (according to the GAO, no less). There is only this faint excuse, floating in the air, tacked on to the end:
"In calmer times, presidents incoming and outgoing have allowed their emotions to run more freely, to show some displeasure and tension," [Professor Cal] Jillson said. "Bush is aware enough to know that the times don't permit that."
Hmm. To whom might Professor Jillson have been referring?
What a pitiful praise: "Bush is aware enough to know that the times don't permit that."
Those individuals who find it difficult to say anything positive about President Bush cannot admit that Bush is a class act who will pass the baton with dignity and an honest effort to do what is best for the country.
An old Mad Magazine perspective on the passing of the baton, circa 1953.
Harry & Bess Truman: "We swept dirt under the carpets at the White House before we left."
Dwight & Mamie Eisenhower: "We found dirt underneath the carpets at the White House."
Who will be looking for dirt underneath the carpets in 2009?
Sr, you willing to put money on that? If you're so sure, offer me 1000:1 odds. I'll stake $100.
Tigerhawk, I think it was somewhere around accusing dissenters on the direction of the Iraq war of not "supporting the troops" that the administration earned a reputation of classlessness.
In general, I think the quest to decide whether the Right or Left is more "boorish" is a futile one, because they apply different standards. Look at blogs, for instance. Lefties often argue as Fnord does, turning an essentially moral fight into a question of politesse. Righties point out, correctly, by the way, that lefties are far more prone to use foul language and other more traditional measures of boorishness.
Now, Fnord, you are making a straw man argument, I believe. Nobody accused reasoned critics of the "direction" of the war -- Ken Pollack, for example -- of "not supporting the troops." Lots of people, including particularly John McCain, spent a large proportion of the last five years being intensely critical of the management of the war. Some, however, did so without any acknowledgement of the gains of the war. Some, including (for example) Jack Murtha, leapt to conclusions about the culpability of American soldiers that subsequently proved to be unfounded. Some were quite transparent in their wish that the invasion of Iraq not succeed. Some on the left went so far as to discourage military recruitment at colleges and universities. Some have sought to paint what is obviously a victory (whether or not at excessive or unacceptable cost, a separate question) as a defeat for essentially partisan reasons.
In case it is not painfully obviously, none of these people were supporting the troops.
As it happens, I wrote a widely-linked post on this subject three years ago today.
We want Steel for inspiration which leads to fundraising.
Steel could show his leadership skills by finding a really good organizer to work for him.
Oh. And most importantly, find some true believers who will keep their traps shut.
Bush is just gloating. He KNOWS what a lazy doofus Obama is and how he will make Bush look outstanding by comparison.
BTW, who will keep the clock ticking off the days that it will take Obama to catch Osama? Now that Obama will no longer have OJ to help him in his search, it may take Obama longer than he first suspected.
There are some on the left who truly believed the things that have been said about Bush.
The other night I saw Harry Shearer on a British talk show (recorded before the election) claiming that there was some doubt that Bush might set aside the election and stay in power because of the credit crisis.
Hopefully the mainstream left never got quite that crazy.