Saying Goodbye

No, I don’t necessarily agree with every thing that President Bush did or said, but overall I like him. I think as history gets written he will be seen as a good president, one with principles and character. He showed integrity and grit even in the presence of his accusers. I think we as American citizens owe him a huge debt of gratitude for not allowing anymore attacks on our home soil since the devastation of 9/11. I think many people have already chosen to forget just how terrible that was….some years pass and people forget….they take our safety for granted. We need to be forever vigilant because that is the sort of world we live in now. I agree with President Bush that politics goes in cycles… we conservatives just need to hang on for the next four years. It won’t last forever.
I read the following article this morning on Drudge:

President George W. Bush speaking to U.S. troops in Baghdad last Sunday. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Bush reflects on White House days
By David Stout
Published: December 19, 2008

WASHINGTON: President George W. Bush shared some bittersweet reflections as he looked back fondly on his White House days but regretted his inability to win passage of immigration legislation and to change the tone of debate in the capital.

“Reflections by a guy who’s headed out of town,” Bush called his musings in a question-and-answer session Thursday at the American Enterprise Institute.

“An old sage at 62,” he said, “headed to retirement.”

The president, who has described himself as uncomfortable with introspection, loosened up considerably before a friendly audience of conservatives. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all was a theme he embraced several times.

“One such problem was immigration reform,” Bush said. “And in this case, I chose to put the spotlight directly on the issue by giving an Oval Office address. Obviously, we weren’t successful about getting comprehensive immigration reform. Nevertheless, I feel good about having tried.”

While he will miss many things about Washington, he won’t miss “the petty name-calling,” Bush said.

“I came with the idea of changing the tone in Washington, and frankly didn’t do a very good job of it,” he said. “You know, war brings out a lot of heated rhetoric and a lot of emotion. I fully understand that.”

Bush reiterated his faith in freedom and in free markets, the current financial crisis notwithstanding. While he voiced his continued optimism about the American people, he said one of his “great fears” was that troubles overseas might tempt the country to revert to isolationism.

“The world needs America’s involvement,” he said. “We’re a compassionate, decent, strong nation.”

The president spoke about big issues (Iraq and tax policy, for instance) and not so big ones, like his relationship with the White House press corps.

“I don’t like some of the things they say,” Bush said. “Of course, they don’t like some of the things I say. But we’ve had a good relationship.”

A lot of spirited intramural debate preceded the 2007 increase of U.S. troops in Iraq, Bush said, observing that “creating tension is good for decision-making, so long as it doesn’t become destructive.”

When asked about President-elect Barack Obama’s assertions that “Bush deregulation” had led to a culture of recklessness and greed on Wall Street, Bush said he was looking forward “to the true history of this financial crisis being written.”

“Just some thoughts on this,” Bush said. “The markets sometimes create excesses. We’re living through the consequences of the excess.

“I quipped in Texas that Wall Street got drunk, and we got a hangover,” he said.

But this, too, shall pass, Bush said of the current storm. When it does, he said, elected officials should remember that “markets and free enterprise is what made the country great,” and that government’s proper role is promoting entrepreneurship and prosperity, not getting deeply involved in the mortgage business or managing car companies. And, yes, he retains his faith in low taxes as the best economic stimulus of all.

Bush said the country “needs to overcome its fear about nuclear power” if Americans want to have all the electricity they will need and still protect the environment.

Bush implied that the harsh words of the presidential campaign were all but forgotten when he and Obama met in the Oval Office recently.

The departing president refused to say what advice he had given his successor but said they had chatted about something in common: “He’s a dad who will have two daughters in the White House.”

Bush, one of the least popular presidents in recent history, if public opinion polls are accurate, said the individual in the Oval Office is not that important: “Presidents will come and go with their strengths and weaknesses, but the ship of state sails on because of the institution being greater than the person.”

Political conservatives who fear that the November elections banished them to the wilderness should take heart, Bush said.

“My point is that things go in cycles in politics,” he said.

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