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One Last Goodbye

"Mission Accomplished."

This is dedicated to my pal paladin3, who had posted two quotables. The first one was that if he could have voted for GWB a third term, he would have, and just yesterday, he suggested in his twitter summary "Let's all change our icons to GWB on Tuesday."

Well, I never had a GWB icon, and getting one on Tuesday probably isn't going to happen. But in lieu of that I present this, a fond farewell to the person who did so much to get us so far.

It will be years before we can really fully assess what this administration has done for/to the world. The early returns have come in, and the numbers aren't pretty. But, let's not be too hasty. Maybe the angst of 2008 is tinging the view of what REALLY happened.

People are already talking about the visionary GWB was for setting up a democracy in the Middle East, and how that may change everything about the region, somewhere down the road. It's possible, but is it likely?

Really, here's the issue about the presidency in general, and GWB's version of it specifically, and I'll try to go through with a bare minimum of bashing, since I have basically been doing that these past 8 years.

Being the President of the United States offers an opportunity to do many things. GWB just didn't do them. He appointed his pals to be cabinet members, and various other crucial posts, then watched as they all managed to not do their jobs, especially when the work needed to get done. This, more than anything changed what could have been. Had Bush assigned people who were able to do the jobs they were brought on to handle, maybe it all could have gone better.

Frankly, I still marvel at how invisible a Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was. This, during a war! And the FEMA and the Homeland Security and the Iraqi tipsters about the WMDs, and on and on. Any competent people brought in might have altered things. But perhaps this relates back to the man himself. If you bring in competent people, it'll make you look incompetent by comparison. Maybe, he was just protecting his fragile ego by giving a pat on the head to his old drinking buddies.

He gave his farewell address the other day. I watched it. And nope, he couldn't get through that without flubbing his lines, either. I almost felt sorry for him, but then I thought about the country as a whole.

In pop culture, Will Ferrell is doing a Broadway show titled You’re Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush which will open tomorrow. I almost wish he debuted the piece right after the election and was ending the run tomorrow, that way we're not stuck with this until March.

Also, CNN did a small photo album of 15 defining moments in the GWB presidency. One of the pictures was the one above, but others included the 2001 inaugural, sitting in a classroom being told the United States was under attack, Standing on "The Pile" of what was the World Trade Center, holding a bullhorn, Rumsfeld's resignation, staring out of a window of Air Force One, looking down on what was left of New Orleans after Katrina, and the final image, ducking a shoe.

To be kind, the best, brightest moment that George W. Bush had wasn't any of these. And it didn't occur in Washington DC, or New Orleans, or Miami, or Iraq. It happened right in New York City at a place they used to play baseball called Yankee Stadium. Mr. Bush threw out the first pitch at Game 3 of the 2001 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He marched onto the field, got right on the mound and threw a perfect strike to Jorge Posada. It was a glorious moment and the crowd went wild. That was the zenith, the apex, the pinnacle of the George W. Bush presidency. That one moment. America had been attacked. We were still assessing the damage. GWB walks out there and delivered a fantastic moment. And really, that's what a president can do best. Inspire, focus, calm, demonstrate. Besides that moment, and his speech on "The Pile," I can't think of any other times when he was able to connect with people in that way at all during these eight years.

It is a little pathetic that, at least for me, tossing the first pitch at a baseball game is going to be my fondest memory of him (and perhaps worse, it's not going to be my most vivid or enduring memory of him). For our country, I sincerely wish he had more moments like that night at Yankee Stadium. But he just didn't have it in him. That wasn't who this guy was.

Part of it was in not really knowing what you can do with the presidency. And that's always a crucial thing. Because it's always a lot easier to do something if you know what to do. You would have thought that GWB would have had a slightly better handle on all of this, since he had a father who did the job! A father who also warned America about getting involved in Iraq. I think this likely reflects on the Bush family dynamic.

But another part of the presidency is in making full use of those opportunities and making things happen, and that's where most of the country has languished all this while. GWB wasn't a "make things happen" kinda guy. He was more of a "let things happen" kinda guy, with a couple of notable exceptions, like in the Middle East. When someone had an agenda for him, he would run with that. But that hardly ever happened.

I think you'll start noticing the difference right away.

So there it is. We laughed. We cried. We watched in disbelief. We shook our heads and watched in further disbelief. We slapped our foreheads with our palms in more disbelief and then held our heads. But that's ending now.

Oh, and goodbye GWB. You pull the door to open it, on your way out.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)

I think you'll start noticing the difference right away.

Oh I hope you are right.. IMO speed is of an essence right now.
Jan. 19th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
Just based on all of the pre-inaugural preparations, I think they'll be fully in gear on January 21.
Jan. 19th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
He has so much damage to repair. Poor man.
Jan. 20th, 2009 12:51 am (UTC)
But he has all of us! Lucky Guy!
Jan. 20th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)

You know what is so special about all of this for me? My daughter, who is 21, and still has hope for the world. She is SO excited to be a part of this election, it was her first and special in every way.
Jan. 19th, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
That was a beautiful tribute. I'd already forgotten about the perfect pitch.
Jan. 19th, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry, but I don't have any fond memories of George W. Bush. I pegged him for a toxic sociopath right from the start, and I'm sorry as hell that my first impressions turned out to be true. More so than in my wildest nightmares, actually.

As a new Orleanian, one of W.'s enduring legacies for me will be the nightmares I suffer, to this day, about drowning in confined spaces.

There's a special place in hell for this turd. Right next to Dick "go fuck yourself" Cheyney.
Jan. 19th, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
I could have raked him over the coals and really analyzed everything through a jaundiced eye, and I'm sure there will be plenty of that.

But really I do wonder about the psychology of his mind, the way his family works and what bearing all of that played on how he ran his presidency. I even hesitate to put it that way because it really never felt like *he* was running anything.

I have said this many times and I will always believe that GWB should have been charged with treason, or at minimum, impeached. All of the neglect, the slow response, the talking not doing, the misdirections... certainly he was more deserving of impeachment than Bill Clinton. And won't historians in the future question why that occurred?

GWB proved that he was a fine president... if there's nothing going on. The minute something happened, he just couldn't do anything right. He just couldn't do anything at all.
Jan. 19th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
If you view Bush in isolation, then the presidency becomes a multi-trillion dollar therapy session that involves all those issues: his conflicted relationship with his father, his failure to deal with his alcoholism in any meaningful way beyond drying out, his sense of himself as a failure coupled with an enourmous sense of entitlement and specialness (these last two, BTW, are the hallmarks of the addict/alcoholic personality).

But I don't think you can really view Bush-the-president in isolation. He's part of a package (admittedly the smallest part,really. Just an empty suit deemed "electable" by the powers that be) that includes old Nixon hands like Cheney and Rumsfeld. These guys had an agenda that included middle East Meddling and the Nixonian Unitary Executive, and they started moving on that right from day one. 9/11 just supercharged the process.

The perception, pre-9/11, of Bush as a basically harmless "propriety president," a bumbler like Gerald Ford who'd sleepwalk through his term and hopefully not break anything, was nonsense from the start. Bush is a type. I recognized him right away. I'm just sorry he turned out to be even worse than I feared. Aside from his disastrous policies, he and his cronies had a real knack for bringing out the absolute worst in the American psyche, and we'll be dealing with the repercussions of that for many years. His legacy may yet destroy this country.
Jan. 19th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
What you are saying is exactly right. GWB allowed himself to be manipulated by these people and he was an ideal candidate for that because of the reasons you cited.

What REALLY happened? That would be the story of the century.
Jan. 19th, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
You pull the door to open it, on your way out.
You mean it's not set up for emergency evacuations?!

I can't think of any other times when he was able to connect with people in that way at all during these eight years.
I wonder if Bush supporters see this differently. I know he didn't connect with me, or you, but if you asked paladin3 would there be a long list of connected moments?
Jan. 19th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
That's actually a very good question...

I think paladin3 removed me from his "bush commentary" filter so I never see any of his missives on the administration, and he even locked all his old posts so I can't go back into his archive to view them. And he never once commented on any of my posts about GWB.

And I'm sure he won't say a word here, again.
Jan. 20th, 2009 12:26 am (UTC)
i honestly can't help but think that someone who STILL supports bush is a little um ... lacking in the intelligence department, to be honest. i'm not saying you have to be a fan of obama, but still a fan of bush? REALLY?

Jan. 20th, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
I think if you were wildly successful under the Bush Administration, you would be sad to see him go. My question is that even if that were the case, and you see so many other people suffering, how can you in good conscience respond that way. But that's just another massive can of worms that involves why the "trickle down" concept really doesn't work in any way.

To paladin3's credit, his commentary is wait and see when it comes to Obama. He hasn't written him off just yet (and really, I hadn't written GWB off before he "took" office, so I think we're even.
Jan. 20th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
Basically, you'd be kind of an asshole if you're still a fan of GWB?
Jan. 20th, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
oh shit i forgot he threw that ball!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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