Thursday, January 15, 2009

A president's farewell

I felt sorry for him as he approached the lectern with a sheepish smile.

As Kissinger reminded Nixon, I believe history will treat him better than his contemporaries. His policies precluded another attack since 9/11. To conclude otherwise is to posit that the other side simply stopped trying to harm us after 9/11. 

I'm reminded of another parallel with Nixon. Richard Nixon asked readers this question in one of his later books: if America does not lead in this world -- who will?

I repeated the question in one of my columns and a rebuttal came from a letter writer who declared that the correct answer to this question is -- the "leaders" of other countries.  I'm still wondering which 'leaders' she referred to.  Stalin?  Hitler?  Hussein? 

No, Mr. Bush's Middle East policy was not the detriment to America that some claimed. This President did not have the luxury of presiding over a peaceful world where "constructive engagement" with the enemy -- or recalcitrant allies -- would have been the wise course. The safety of American citizens has been this President's overriding concern and that will be a positive part of his legacy. 

George W. Bush
The biggest stain on the record of this administration was its failure to stem the profligate spending we have seen during the last eight years -- punctuated with a new drug program we can't afford.

That's a trend the new administration appears destined to continue.