The time between Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s is called by some “President’s Week.” It’s the perfect time to reflect on the character of our nation’s top leaders.
George W. Bush left the office with grace and dignity. As this comparison shows, he and his whole first family was most gracious to his, and their, successors in the White House.
Our last President made decisions that earned some hatred, but decisions that also earned respect in some surprising quarters, as seen below, in the comments. Being the grandson of Arab-Americans who immigrated to this country more than 110 years ago doesn’t make me an expert on contemporary Arabic culture or anything, but it does give me a little better handle on such things than your average brie-and-chablis Yuppie. Arabs respect strength and have contempt for weakness, and they prize that subjective thing called “character” very highly. George W. Bush showed them that he had both strength and character.
He showed it to his own countrymen, too. In two elections, Democrats assailed him as a fat cat who would leave a gigantic carbon footprint on the world, and urged us to vote for them instead to preserve “green values.” Yet this gives us an idea who among the contenders actually put his lifestyle where his mouth was in terms of energy conservation.
No general can keep secrets from his valet, it is said, and no President can keep secrets from his bodyguards. When I met George Bush in the picture shown here, he had not yet been elected, or even nominated, and did not have Secret Service protection yet. His bodyguards, since he was Governor of Texas, were Texas Rangers. I spoke with them at length. They told me he was a sincere guy who respected cops and all the people who worked under him, and to a man they would have been honored to take a bullet for him. (Secret Service agents assigned later to the First Family detail seemed unanimous in saying the same thing about Bush.) In speaking with the then-candidate, I found that Bush actually listened, and solicited opinions. When I asked him about certain police issues and, yes, gun owners’ civil rights, he was on top of the issues and answered knowledgeably.
This is the corner of Backwoods Home where we talk about gun stuff. Yes, some gun owners never forgave him when he said he’d sign a renewal of the “Assault Weapons Ban” after its sunset, if it passed. They didn’t know that Bush already knew that it wasn’t going to pass. No harm, no foul, no hurt to us in eight years of his Presidency.
The recent 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln reminded me of my favorite quote from that great President: “We cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.”
It was something that George W. Bush understood, lived by, and led by for eight years.
I have to respect that.