HISTORY WILL VINDICATE PRESIDENT BUSH
By a coincidence of history, Americans will pause to honor our most revered president just a matter of days after one of our most reviled president’s leaves office. George W. Bush leaves the White House on Jan. 20. On Feb. 12, we’ll mark the bicentenary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.
When removed from the presidency by assassination in 1865, Lincoln was extremely unpopular. Hated in the South for his war policies, he was also hated in the North for his openness towards reconciliation with the nearly defeated confederacy. Most Americans blamed him for the war and economic ruin America would face in its aftermath. His death to some of his critics was good riddance. He was a war-time president, ungainly in looks and speech. He was routinely mocked in the media of that time for his steadfastness and convictions. If today’s media and their presidential polls existed in the 19th century, Lincoln’s approval ratings would have mirrored George W. Bush numbers.
George Bush lacks sizzle and style points. If he was a college football coach, his team would never set foot in the BCS (bowl championship series) title game. Frankly, he is boring to most 21st century Americans. He sleeps with the same woman every night. He is not an eloquent extemporaneous communicator. He holds to a conservative faith. And he believes in the antiquated notion that America is still the best beacon of hope and freedom in the world. To our liberal friends, he is a failure. Liberals have made the slogan “Bush failed” into a cottage industry. Almost with unanimity, liberal Americans (and those who agree with this ideology) have used the “hate Bush” mantra as their marching order, denigrating the successes of this President and catapulting one of their own, Barack Obama into the White House. Their hatred of Bush’s policies has blinded them to what has truly been achieved.
But 50 years from now, when a new generation of historians measure the presidency of George W. Bush, a different summary may well be written. For those Americans who have forgotten the good things about Bush, here is a quick refresher: the American homeland has not been attacked again since 9/11. George Bush has kept our soil safe. You may disagree with how it’s been accomplished (Gitmo and water boarding or national surveillance) but, our terrorist enemies have been foiled to date. Second, this President’s policies have planted the seed of democracy in the heart of the Arab world. Whether Iraq or Afghanistan become Muslim democracies like Turkey remains to be seen. But, the prospect of legitimate freedom is inspiring to millions of Muslims. Finally, this president’s innovative faith-based initiatives have formed new partnerships throughout our nation, serving many needy Americans. While style and sizzle may permeate our celebrity culture, genuine substance and conviction still matters most when it comes to true lasting presidential leadership.
Today, nearly 150 years later, most Americans tout the conviction and leadership of Abraham Lincoln. What they may not know is that Lincoln was hotly despised and demised by most of his generation. Yet that criticism has melted away with time leaving a monument of admiration to his conviction of beliefs. History may well judge George Bush in a similar fashion.