Farewell to George W. Bush

No one is perfect. That is true for your spouse, your children, your mom, and (look in the mirror) even yourself.

While we readily recognize and accept the flaws and frailties of those closest to us, somehow we expect that the person we elect to be president of the United States will live up to all our grandiose expectations and we are shocked when we discover that he is a mere mortal.

That said, I say goodbye to President George W. Bush with a lot of mixed emotions.

To be honest, I didn’t expect a lot from this man. He had run two companies into the ground and rode his father’s coattails to become governor of the state of Texas. Surely, the country could do better!

I was pleasantly surprised on many levels.

The 2000 election was so close that Bush literally backed into office without the usual amount of time one needs to assume the office of president with a team in place. Nevertheless, he was tested on 9-11-2001, as no other American president has been, and he met that test, head-on, with strength and resolve.

Nineteen days later, one day after Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that new terrorist attacks may be planned for the country in the coming week, President Bush showed unusual courage when he made good on his promise to throw out the first pitch of Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium in New York.

The country was gripped with fear. We had battened down the hatches. Travel plans were canceled and shopping trips minimized.

I will never forget the night of October 30, 2001, when Mr. Bush, wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with “FDNY,” in honor of the New York City Fire Department, strolled resolutely to the pitcher’s mound. Yes, security was tight, but he was alone under the glaring lights, before a sellout crowd of more than 57,000 people, an easy target. How many presidents would have done that? Most would have stayed behind layers of security in the bunker.

Bush, looking small and vulnerable scanned the upper decks. He paused and smiled and gave a big “thumbs-up” sign to reassure the crowd, before throwing a strike. Then, he walked off the mound to chants of “USA, USA” and the country slowly got back to normal.

At that time, no one could foresee that we would get through the next seven years without another major terrorist attack on our soil. At that time, the only question was “where” and “when.”

Bush deserves a lot of credit for keeping us safe. Could he have done more? Of course. One can always do more, but no one outside of his inner circle knows the extent of what he did do for this country.

In this case, no news was good news! How soon we forget.

Osama bin Laden and his radical followers see a world ruled by the defenders of Islam and they are willing to die to make that happen. They see the “final phase” of their struggle with “the infidels” with the two superpowers: Russia and the United States.

After the Russians were driven out of Afghanistan, bin Laden boldly proclaimed, “Now we have defeated and destroyed the more difficult and the more dangerous of the two. Dealing with the pampered and effeminate Americans will be easy.”

In the 1990s, bin Laden proceeded to prove his theory. His attacks on our embassies, ships and barracks produced nothing more than angry rhetoric from the Clinton Administration and a few misdirected missiles to uninhabited places.

Not surprising, on 9-1l, bin Laden took his jihad into the enemy camp and prepared for a final victory. The resolve of George W. Bush was a shocking surprise.

Historians will debate whether we should have gone into Iraq and the level of Saddam Hussein’s involvement. Let us not forget that, based on the intelligence we had at the time, it was the right thing to do. Also, bear in mind, it was the Clinton Administration that weakened our intelligence gathering capabilities.

We can only hope that those lessons are not lost on the president-elect and the people that he has chosen to protect us for the next four years.

Was I pleased with everything George W. Bush did in his eight years in office? Not at all. His spending, his immigration policy and his expansion of the federal bureaucracy hurt the Republican Party and the effects will be felt for years to come.

Nevertheless, as I say goodbye to this president, I can only hope that Barack Obama will do as well.

Certainly, he can do a lot worse than George W. Bush.

11 thoughts on “Farewell to George W. Bush

  1. Hi Jane,

    I’ve been listening to/reading your thoughts for years. I remember you on ESPN. I was sad when you left Los Angeles radio.

    I watch Gov. Huckabee on Fox on Sunday nights. I almost voted for him in the California primary. He seems so CHRISTian, conservative, likable and down to earth.

    Is this the same Governor who ignored Charlene Wilson. And if it is the same man, why do you think he ignored Charlene. I’ve always wanted to ask you that. I admired you for reaching out to Charlene.

    I enjoy everyone of your articles. I know this post has nothing to do with your current article but I do hope you answer my question. Keep up the good work !!!

    GOD BLESS YOU,
    Frank

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  2. Frank,

    Yes, same man. In fact, I booked him for an interview when his book came out during that time and it was abruptly canceled. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed.

    However, you must remember that the press in Arkansas had portrayed Charlene and her husband as “Bonnie and Clyde.”

    Nevertheless, he finally allowed the parole board to release her.

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  3. Jane,
    I remember you from your sports reporting days in south FL. In one of your reports you made some type of comment that really caught my attention and seemed very conservative. Then you were gone.

    Concerning the current article, President Bush has been one of my greater Republican disappointments, even greater than President Nixon. I agree he kept us safe and I thank him for that. However, he is no conservative.

    Larry Dorazio
    Pembroke Pines, FL

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  4. Larry,

    I agree with your comments about Bush. However, if voters had carefully listened to his comments during the primary, they would have known that.

    Frankly, I was surprised that he put the brakes on the Kyoto treaty and he did make some great Supreme Court picks. Reagan gave us Sandra Day O’Connor, remember?

    Bottom line: He did do some good and the number one job of a president is keeping the country safe.

    I spent almost 10 years with WTVJ-TV and have many friends there. I had a long segment on WTVJ’s 50th Anniversary special with Tony Segretto and the man we consider to be our father in broadcasting, Bernie Rosen. In fact, my husband and I will be going back for a reunion in March.

    I have always been conservative and the comments you heard had nothing to do with my leaving. I left because my husband moved his business to southern California.

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  5. Dear Jane,

    Only time will tell how grateful we should be to President Bush and his administration for not being hit since 9-11. I also supported his position on Embryonic Stem Cell Research and his slant towards Pro Life, issues that will most likely be dismissed by the incoming administration.

    I do agree with the crux of your article. Mr. Bush, unfortunately, was a ‘big government’ president with his outlandish spending, huge debt and the enlarging of the federal government. Though I feel we were justified going into Iraq, the follow-up and processing of the conflict there was an abysmal failure, until the surge. But the surge, like many other good and productive things going on in Iraq, was covered up by the Media circus.

    The ‘pebble in my shoe,’ as to President Bush was his stiffnecked stance on Immigration. His obdurate position on Border Agents Ramos and Campeon as he refuses to talk about pardons and he rues the fact that his Amnesty plan never got past the resistance of we the people. The whole irony there is that the Obama administration will probably be able to steamroll amnesty through in the upcoming term, to our nation’s severe detriment. This is all a travesty as the Clinton and Bush presidencies have put us in a precarious state of being as to the survival of our sovereignty and our identity.

    My sense, however, is that most of the normalcy that we took for granted at the Bush White House will be sorely missed.

    Greg Schneider
    Tucson, AZ

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  6. Jane, I truely enjoyed your article on “Farewell to George W. Bush.” Yes, he made some mistakes but over all he did protect us nation wide. There is a lot of blame to go around in his administration. I so hope history will be kinder.

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  7. Jane,

    There are some critical things to remember about George W. Bush. He did indeed run his oil companies into the ground, and he owed literally everything (even his personal salvation) to Ronald Reagan selecting his dad to be his running mate in 1980. Bush then proceeded as president to run the Reagan Movement, the Republican Party, and ultimately the nation into the ground just like he did his oil businesses.

    Conservatives like Ann Coulter, however, have said that Bush should possibly even be considered a great president because there haven’t been any more terrorist attacks upon the nation since 9-11. What she and other conservatives who are advocating this are missing, however, is that the same spiritual forces that got Bush elected to begin with and then re-elected, have protected the United States far more than Bush’s policies. Unfortunately, Bush then turned out to be such a poor president that those same spiritual forces were overwhelmed in the 2008 elections.

    What many conservatives have apparently already forgotten or never noted at the outset, was that Barack Obama virtually gained no traction from his European trip as a candidate or from the Democratic Convention, and that John McCain was slightly ahead in the polls in mid- to- late September. Obama only gained traction when Bush re-emerged in the national picture with talk of the bailouts and many crisis. What Bush did to McCain and the Republican Party in mid-to-late September was unprecedented for a president during an election year as he literally handed the election to Obama. Why couldn’t Bush have waited until at least after the elections about the bailouts or better yet, just let things work themselves out on their own such as Ronald Reagan did following the Stock Market problems in 1987? We know of course now that 10,000 George W. Bushes as president is not worth one Ronald Reagan as president. Using a sports comparison, Bush’s choke in mid-to-late September was like Bill Buckner’s error in the 1986 World Series that greatly helped the New York Mets win the World Series except that Bush’s choke magnified Buckner’s error a thousand times since the stakes were so high during the 2008 elections.

    Clay

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  8. Jane,
    Thanks for a wonderful “goodbye” to George W. Bush.

    I wish I could thank George personally for all he did to protect us. He is a good, decent man as you pointed out. We hope history will treat him a lot better than the people who ran him down and hated him.

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