The Prez & The Dude

Bush holding Stanley Debshaw before leaving the Peoria Airport (Xinhua/Reuters Photo) (H/T Fausta)

How great is that shot? How adorable is that kid? The picture is part of a 4-shot gallery of photos entitled Bush’s fun with kids at airport, and all four shots are excellent. I especially liked this one, of the president sharing a laugh with a primary school principal:

It is amazing to me that this president, who has a very full plate and carries the stigma of being “the most vilified and hated being in the entire world” – more hated than Mugabe, Chavez, Castro, A-jad, Kaddafi, Jong Il, or the rest – manages to keep his sense of humor and more importantly his humanity.

Obama could take a few lessons from Bush.

It is easy to be loved when you look good, give a great speech and do nothing, and it’s easy to be hated once you’re actually engaged in making decisions and standing by them. A real leader has to – like a parent – be willing to be hated. I’ve always thought Bill Clinton’s greatest weakness as a president was his need to be loved. It kept him beholden to polls instead of possibilities.

The thing is, one has to follow one’s own lights – do the best one can with whatever wisdom and sense the Holy Spirit has lain upon you – and not worry too much about polls and op-eds. Polls are both malleable and fickle, op-eds are designed to provoke. If you’re doing your honest best, you can sleep at night, and shake off the hate, day-by-day. If you’re not, and you know you’re not, the hate rankles.

Chesterton had a punny saying:

Angels can fly, because they take themselves lightly…Satan fell by the force of gravity.

Perhaps he should have said, “gravitas.”

Today, I offer a prayer for the president and the principal and Stanley the Little Dude, and for Obama and McCain – presuming one of them will be our next president – and for our nation.

Prayer is good. It humanizes us and those we pray for, and in this awful political season we are de-humanizing at a terrible pace. This president has managed for 8 difficult and contentious years, to keep his humanity, and to lead without the halo-assists. I think that’s pretty remarkable. George W. Bush? Rather a lot Atticus Finch.

I still like President Bush. And I don’t actually give a crap what anyone thinks about that.

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  • Pal2Pal

    “I still like President Bush. And I don’t actually give a crap what anyone thinks about that.”

    I’m with you, I still like him too.

  • Zorro

    I like and respect him as well. And I firmly believe that history will remember him with respect and affection as well.

  • MomsintheRight

    I still like him too. And I still respect him. It takes a special kind of person to make such difficult decisions and stand up for what he believes is right despite the negative critacism he knows he will receive. I believe in hindsight he will be considered one of our greatest presidents.

  • ViolaJ.

    He has kept his humanity and that is priceless. We all will look back and realize him as a good president as time goes on. He has made tough decisions and he stood by them. Not just anyone can do that.

  • kimpriestap

    You know, I really like President Bush, too. The man has everything a President of the United States should have (minus the communication skills, unfortunately): mental strength, courage, knowledge of himself, strong principles, backbone, honesty, faith in his convictions, a strong faith in God, compassion, humility, and a strong love of the United States and the freedom it represents in the world.

  • dmd25

    “I still like I still like President Bush. And I don’t actually give a crap what anyone thinks about that.”

    You are not alone.

    Among other things, President Bush has provided a wonderful example to our children of what it means to have core values that guide one’s decisions—and to stick to those values when decisions are made. I appreciate so much that he seems to have a spine of steel–in great contrast to many dems we know about–Kerry, Clinton(s), Obama, etc. President Bush is a fine, fine man.

  • Maggie45

    Ditto from me. It’s just too bad that he didn’t have more people like Bob Geldof to announce to the world all the good for which Bush is responsible. Geldof told him on the way to Africa the reason why he was accompanying him as press was that “somebody” had to do it, as Bush sure wasn’t.

  • blueteapot

    Hear, Hear!!

    I’d vote for him again, if I could. A great man, whose worth will probably not be (widely) recognized in his own lifetime.

  • LibraryLady

    I love and respect President Bush. I haven’t always agreed with his decisions but I believe he made them from his heart and conscience.

    I honestly don’t know how he makes himself get up in the morning and face the hatred from the left. I pray that he will someday get the recognition he deserves.

  • Lee V

    I love this president and pray for him often. I hope he lives long enough to get the full measure of history’s judgment. I think it will be kind to him. Anchoress, thanks for the post and pictures.

  • rcareaga

    As Yogi Berra is alleged to have said, “it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Actually, predictions are easy: the tricky part is having them borne out by events. I am inclined to believe that whether posterity remembers 43 with “respect and affection” will depend in large part on how posterity feels about the Fourth Amendment and about “verschärfte Vernehmung.” If it is the judgment of history that the former was a superannuated impediment to orderly rule and that suspected enemies of the state had the latter coming to them, then the designation of “greatness” would seem all but assured.

    And as W himself has reminded us, these rankings can remain fluid for quite some time after a president leaves office, so even should he be held in but slight regard in the near-term, the longer view might be subtly different. For example, people used to say that Warren G. Harding was the worst president in the last hundred years. We don’t hear that much anymore.

    [Quite correct, Rand. As long as we can remember Jimmy Carter's "malaise," his citizens held hostage for 444 days, his 17% mortgages and double-digit inflation and the 8.4% unemployment rate - as well has his rabbit-killin' - Harding will not rank at the bottom. Bush will someday get some credit for keeping the economy stable through a terror attack and two wars, and if the fourth amendment has been 'damaged' at all - which is debatable - there are a couple of hundred Democrats (including the Dem nominee-presumptive) who can claim joint credit for that.- admin]

  • irascibleChef

    Leaders lead. Great leaders lead even when faced with unpopular discourse. GW leads!
    Leaders have resolve. Great Leaders have resolve when the majority tells them to give up. GW has resolve!
    Leaders have to have past what is unpopular at the time for the good of the future. Well, you know.

    I just saw the new Batman movie—The Dark Knight. There was a line towards the end of the movie, “…the hero we deserve” versus “the hero we need.”
    I couldn’t help but make the comparison of what Batman had to do for the good of the people by sacrificing himself as the villain, but will someday be revealed as the hero. GW and his Admin will be revealed someday as heroes. He did what had to be done in the face of harsh criticism, resistance, and adversity—not popular… Good men and woman who voluntarily serve in our military have died for this cause, but so have many more of the enemy…

    Imagine what would have happened if we left Iraq as the majority of this country wanted. Can you?
    Leaders lead! Sheep graze…

    He might not have known in the very beginning that he’d be faced with as much hatred toward him that has come, but he certainly knew what he had to sacrifice by being unwavering and committed each step of the way there after, because of his vision of the future.

    I’m proud that GW is our President and I can make as many arguments for him as anyone can make arguments against him —TIME will tell all!


    [nicely done, chef but fyi - comments are always moderated, so if you don't see it up right away, it just means it's waiting - admin]

  • fporretto

    “more hated than Mugabe, Chavez, Castro, A-jad, Kaddafi, Jong Il, or the rest”

    Hey, you left out Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz!

  • Piano Girl

    I don’t think we’ll really begin to know just how much we will miss this man until he is no longer the POTUS. He doesn’t lick his finger and raise it to see which way the wind is blowing. He makes a principled decision based on the best information possible and then follows through with what needs to be done to keep us safe and to bring freedom to millions throughout the world. Each day I thank God for the gift of this man and his love of our great Country.

  • megthered

    He has had the most difficult presidency and still has good humor and a belief that mankind is basically good. Sometimes he seems almost naive, but he believes what he believes and doesn’t care what anyone says. And does what is necessary no matter what they think of him. He is a man of honor.

  • Terrye

    I am with you Anchoress. I still like the man too, and respect him. I hope he knows there are millions of people like us.

  • Jeanette

    I will love this president until the day I die. He has tried his hardest to do what is right for this country and I, for one, appreciate everything he has done.

  • lsheldon

    I think history will be a whole more kind that current events “reporters” are, history has a shot at seeing the facts, while the “reporters” only see what they are told to see.

  • texasps

    What a great article!

    I’m with you on this too, Anchoress! President Bush is a good Christian Man and a fantastic President. God bless him.

    I agree with most of the sentiment posted here, “I love this President” and I am proud of G W Bush.

  • saveliberty


    I will miss President George Walker Bush when he leaves office.

  • Xixi

    I love George and Laura.

  • julie

    I’m so happy to read all of these comments, because I feel exactly the same way. But it seems that in everyday life, no one dare speak well of the President lest they be devoured by the left. I know I am guilty of being afraid.

    But I do respect and appreciate him so — and I’d vote for him again in a heartbeat.

  • Fr. Steve Leake

    I agree with this post so much! I think President Bush is a real hero and a real person. Despite all the years in politics he still says what he means and means what he says. God bless him and God bless our nation!

  • Barbara

    Me, too.

    Love them both.

    Thank God for them.

  • Juliana

    Our President is a man of principles and strong, moral character. He’s going to be missed on the national and international stage.

    I would very much like to meet President and Mrs. Bush some day, and thank them for their service to our country.

  • BlackRedneck

    Not only do I love this man, he is the first politician that I respect and admire. He’s my guy! He says what he means and does what he says. Only in Bizarro world could such a good man be trashed for doing the right thing and standing up to evil.

  • ChantLaura

    I’d vote for him again, if we didn’t have term limits. In a heartbeat!

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  • waltj

    Agree that President Bush is a man whose word can be relied upon, that he has strength of character, and that he follows his convictions rather than the polls. Being human, Bush has not been the perfect president, especially in the area of public communications (he’s supposed to be much better in private settings) but I believe that history will vindicate him in large measure. History has largely redeemed the once-abysmal reputation of Harry Truman, because it now sees him for what he was: a president who meant what he said, made decisions (especially unpopular ones) and got the big things right, like the atomic bombing of Japan, recognition of Israel, the Berlin Airlift, the Marshall Plan, Korea (including the relief of MacArthur), and the decision to contain the Soviets. I see President Bush in the same light.

  • Donna

    Bravo, Anchoress!

    Unfortunately, I am afraid too many Americans are more impressed by silver-tongued phoneys who look good on TV and bend with every new poll result than by the quiet steadfastness of Dubya. We endlessly deride politicians for their lack of principles. Then, when we actually do get a president with a backbone – man, is he hated.

    Truman’s approval ratings were in the 20′s when he left office. He is looked upon far more favorably today. I believe the same will happen with Bush.

  • on a journey

    God Bless President and Mrs. Bush! Some friends of ours were stationed at Camp David. They are very much anti-Bush administration but admitted that after that assignment they respected President Bush and his wife more than they ever thought they would or could. Of course, they don’t share the sentiment with their similar-minded friends but did indeed made it a point to share with us. I believe that the George and Laura are REAL people. As the photos show, he knows how to hold a baby, give a true hug, share a laugh, help an elderly person. Those things did not come from “politics 101″ in college. He was raised well and it shows.

    God Bless our President for being who he is AND bringing the respect due the office BACK to the office.

  • nora

    I, too, love my president and I respect him for not caring what the idiots have to say. I wish what he is and what he has done was better publicized. Someday, he will seen by most, as the lovely and moral and generous man he is.

  • Lorie Byrd

    You know how I feel about the President, Anchoress. We are of like mind. What always strikes me about the attacks on him are how they are so one-sided. In spite of all the vitriol he has been subjected to, he does not return fire. Bill Clinton whined constantly about all his enemies out to get him. What an incredible contrast. Bill Clinton was vain, but still had huge self esteem issues that kept him constantly trying to please others. That kept him from doing anything big or great while in office. Bush is the polar opposite and I think that is why he has been able to do big things — he is more concerned with the good of the country than he is how many people like him.

    If conditions continue to progress in Iraq (and the next president does not undo everything done there) I think history will see Bush as a great man who was not afraid to do great things. If all of Bush’s enemies had not been so much more concerned with political posturing than they were with the good of the nation he would have been able to accomplish even more. Hatred is poison and many of those on the left have let it completely destroy them. The only people Bush seems to hate are those who are trying to kill us. As I said before, what an incredible contrast.

  • Peter

    Add me to the list of the ones who love this man. A few days ago I was at an ice cream shop I often frequent where Bush made a surprise stop a few years ago. (If I remember right he was in town for some fundraising for a Minnesota congressman up for election.) I hunted around the shop for I figured there must be some pictures of the event. Sure enough, I spotted them above one of the exit doors. Like the pictures here, the pictures in the shop illuminated his humanity. They showed him enjoying his ice cream and posing with the highschoolers running the shop that summer. Everybody was having a good time. The pictures brought tears to my eyes, as do these.

  • gs

    Bush will someday get some credit for keeping the economy stable through a terror attack and two wars…

    (I continue to suspect that the Iraq invasion and “self-financing” occupation was the wrong war at the wrong time in the wrong place with the wrong enemy. That said, once we’re committed it’s better to win than lose.)

    I don’t know how developed economies cope with terrorism. My impression is that the UK and Spain had reasonably good economic performance, but I could be wrong.

    The Europeans are looking down their economic noses at America. The Europeans!

    When Bush was inaugurated in 2001, the S&P 500 Index was at 1343; on Friday it closed at 1258. The index is denominated in dollars. When Bush was inaugurated in 2001, the dollar was worth 1.068 euros; today it’s worth .637 euros.

    That’s not keeping the economy stable (btw, successful economies grow). That’s devaluing the economic future–the economic future of this last best hope of man on earth–and pushing the consequences off onto future administrations and future generations.

    But who gives a crap? Bush is a good guy–and he likes children! No worries.

  • Foxfier

    Amen, amen and amen.

    I’m proud to have served under him.

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  • TheAnchoress

    Granny, I’m surprised and disappointed in your comment, here – you’re usually a much more careful reader. While the economy was mentioned as a throwaway, this piece was about managing to maintain ones humanity through unprecedented slings and arrows, and I think the pictures themselves tell more than “he likes kids, yay!” There he is leading elderly Sen. Robert Byrd, who has had nothing but nasty to say about him since 1999, gently to his seat. There he is getting a hug from a woman in Africa who knows – as his own citizens do not, because his trip to Africa got almost no coverage – that Bush has saved hundreds of thousands of lives there, with things as sophisticated as AIDS drugs and as simple as mosquito nets. There is a kid in Iran holding up a placard and saying, “we want freedom, too,” and the face of that freedom is one of the most reviled men in the world.

    Politics is not worth the loss of our own humanity, that’s what this post, and the one about the McCains, and the one about Obama are ALL saying. I must be a bad writer, if that can’t be seen.

  • Mutnodjmet

    I make up my opinions from facts and reasoning, and not to suit any body but myself. If people don’t like my opinions, it makes little difference as I don’t solicit their opinions or votes. (William Tecumseh Sherman)

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  • myers134

    I enjoyed reading this post, the comments and seeing the pictures. It gives me a moment to stop and feel thankful for President Bush. I greatly admire his character and his service to this country.

    My family and friends all have BDS, and I have to suppress good feelings about him. It’s good to know that I’m not alone (even though it feels that way sometimes) in liking and caring about him and his family.

  • gs

    Politics is not worth the loss of our own humanity, that’s what this post, and the one about the McCains, and the one about Obama are ALL saying.

    Thanks for the clarification and sorry I misunderstood.

    You’ll grant, I trust, that conflating personal virtue with political virtue is a common tactic in politics. Your piece started by showing President Bush holding a baby and ended–in a comment, true–by defending his performance in office. I took the post and comment as being linked, but my primary concern is with the latter. In my previous comment, only the concluding paragraph referred to the body of your post. I withdraw those statements and have no objection whether you retain or delete the paragraph.

    Although IMO personal worth does not necessarily imply political worth and vice versa, there’s a simple imaginary test I conduct. Would I be willing to give my life savings to Politician X for short-term safekeeping if there were no record of the transfer? George Bush unquestionably passes that test.

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