Inauguration is fantasy time!
Over at Inside Catholic, Zoe Romanowsky has asked a great question:
As a fun Monday exercise, let’s pretend for a moment you were becoming First Lady tomorrow (or First Gentleman because you know that’s going to happen one of these days.) What would you choose as your cause? (And you’re not allowed to say “abortion” because (a) that’s too easy, and (b) it’s “controversial” so it wouldn’t be considered an acceptable First Lady cause.)
My issues would be Music Education in the public and private schools (some private schools have deplorable music programs or none at all, for lack of funding) and highlighting the truly effective faith-based programs that help their communities in so many ways (my fuller answer is over at Zoe’s thread
How about you? What would be your cause(s) – and you can answer whether you’re a male or female; it’s a fantasy so you needn’t get hung up on gender! Blogger Free Will says Thank you and farewell to Laura Bush.
While at Inside Catholic, scroll down. Deal Hudson (who has a wonderful piece on going to Romania to adopt his adorable son, here) fantasizes about what sort of Inaugural Blessing he would give if – by some freak – he were given the chance.
Speaking of Inaugural Blessings, Deacon Greg reads the not-widely seen blessing invoked by Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson and compares it, a little, to Henri Nouwen’s Dangerous Prayer of Blessing. Shrug. Deacon Greg is always very generous and upbeat, which is why I need him as a friend. And probably why he puts up with me.
How about two quick round-ups – the first in praise of, and not burying George W. Bush – and the second looking at the inaugural in all its splendor and excess? Yeah, I knew you’d want one.
Bush at the Stone Table: The Sacrificial Presidency of George W. Bush Yes, he consented to be the most hated and lied about man in the world – more hated than the real villains and tyrants of the world, who some call “heroes” – to be the living thing that goes against the stream instead of the dead thing that flows with it, in the cause of liberty and safety. What a terrible man.
CNN’s Tara Wall: Bush Bush will be vindicated. Brave woman. Alive and swimming against the stream.
Spectator UK: Don’t Misunderestimate Bush’s Record. Too late, for some.
Trashing Bush: Got you the easiest way to fit in. Got Bush-hate? You’re so cool!
Rick Moran: Says he will miss all the Bush Derangement. He’s quite wrong if he thinks it is gone.
The Habit of Hate: Calling for the pound of flesh: The frenzy will not abate until they find something else, outside of themselves, that they can hate this much. It’s an addiction. A self-consuming one.
“Brutally, viciously, unfairly treated”: Yes, but he was good for media – all those newspapers that made record profits bashing him, spilling state secrets and otherwise undermining his presidency, all those sold-out movie theaters hating on Bush or “his” war, all those long-running plays, those best-selling novels. Newspapers, newsmagazines, Bigtime Hollywood, they’ve never been so hot! Oh…wait. Nevermind.
Jay Ambrose: Bush’s Humanitarian Legacy.
Thomas Sowell: Bush’s Legacy will be much different than the talking heads are gassing about. I agree. A pal who is a high school Social Studies teacher took the time to actually put the invasion of Iraq into context for her students, reminding them of all the WMD talk that began in 1998, from Bill Clinton and Maddy Albright and all of the Dems, and the intel agencies of pretty much every nation. Her students were surprised to think in terms of context. They’d heard “war of aggression, war for oil, Bush lied, people died” for so long, they’d never considered how remiss any president would have been to have ignored all of that intel after 9/11, when we were all waiting for the next attack, which we were all sure would come. Lots of thoughtful kids in class, that day. Not all teachers are this profoundly short-sighted. Take To Kill A Mockingbird out of schools? Egad, take the teacher’s license to teach away!
Dalai Lama: He “loves” George W. Bush. Not a surprise. He knows what it is like to be hounded by real aggressors bent on your destruction. And he knows that terrorism can’t be fought with pacifism. Imagine that. Can’t help but think, “Thanks, sir, and those words might have been helpful three years ago…”
The cost of the war in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, has been great. Last Wednesday afternoon, in the midst of all the other activities of the final week of an administration, Bush had 40 or so families of fallen soldiers to the White House. The staff had set aside up to two hours. Bush, a man who normally keeps to schedule, spent over four hours meeting in small groups with the family members of those who had fallen in battle.
Obi’s Sister: Goodbye and Godspeed
Bush years: in pictures
Thanks to Bush from: Jerusalem Post
Afghans: flying kites?
From the UK: History will show that Bush was right
Chronical: Bush did The moral thing in Africa
Bush: Not my President.
I’m convinced that for some, the Obama-love is simply a proportionate response to their Bush-hate. “I hate Bush ‘this much’ so I must love Obama at least that much.” Silly.
Praying for the War Presidents: Both Bush and Obama. I do it. Yes, I do. Obama was not my choice and I am appalled and a bit creeped out by the near-worship of him I’m seeing, but I do pray for him, and want the best, not the worst, for him, and for my country. That this strikes some – who invested 8 years into spiteful hate that longed for a president’s failure – as strange says a great deal about them. To this day I cannot forget Ellen Ratner saying to Linda Vestor “we’ll just have to hope Iraq goes wrong so we can get back into the White House”. The mindset still stuns me.
The Coronation of King Obama: A lady in the UK is getting a little creeped out by the adulation.
Obama Fact check. A term-long feature? Doubt it.
Recession: Most intense period behind us? I’d like to believe it, but like Glenn Reynolds, I think the thing is just getting started. Remember, they’ve been telling us for three years we were “in a recession” when we were not. The thing has actually just landed since September. It’s not going to be over for a while.
Animal Farm: “We are one, but some are more One than others. Hey, $170 Million spent on an Inaugural during “the greatest economic crisis (bad Bush) since
the Great Depression Jimmy Carter – you have to make sure the elites feel elite. I was a little sorry to see Bono glow quite so prettily at Obama. Of course it’s an honor for “four guys from Ireland” to be invited to perform at an Inaugural, but Africa-obsessed Bono’s gushing was a bit excessive when you consider that Obama – aside from being elected – hasn’t actually done anything in his political career, while the president who has done more for Africa than any leader, worldwide, has been roundly kicked to the curb. Bono has never been one to shut his mouth before – why didn’t he speak a little truth to power and throw in a line to Obama about following Bush’s lead in Africa? Oh, wait, there is no speaking truth to power, anymore…there is only quasi-worship. Actually, Jackie Mason says it ain’t quasi.
That $170 Million: Partially funded by…those poor guys who needed a bailout!
Lowering expectations: Now that Obama is President “It’s time to stop grading president’s on their first 100 days”. Gone are the demands that everything be done “now or yesterday.” For Obama, hey, even if it takes more than 8 years…or we can bring back Clinton. Or Bush. Heh.
Charm Offensive: The Obama Way. His daughters certainly charm the dickens out of me. What cuties!
Obama Vs The First Black President: Interesting reading
The Permanent Campaign: Already done by the first Black President, Clinton, but Obama can learn from his failures.
Yeah, we really need this: A US Minister of Culture? Someone will have to schedule the Two Minutes Hate each week. But really, how can Obama concern himself with a Ministry of Culture when he only has four years to save the planet!
The beauty of all pulling together. Works on small scales, as we have seen before. On large scales? Well…we’ll likely find out soon. The voluntary component always seems to be key. You can’t compel it without changing the thing from something productive to something repressive.
Obama: On Everything.
Emperor Titus: 2000 years on. Some predict Obama is going to be everything the left swore Bush was. Projection, you know. I doubt anyone could actually be as bad as the left has painted Bush all this time.
Final Note: Another blogger has a small, pettiness about what Bush reads, but that’s not what I’m linking to, because it’s stupid. I’m linking instead to Ann Althouse, whose commenters, again, manage to put things in perspective – read it all, but here’s my favorite, by “Prosecutorial Indiscretion”:
This inauguration is not, for some, the transfer of power from one president to another. It’s not even the transfer of power to our first black president, marking major progress toward a brighter future and away from America’s tragic racist past. It’s a religious event, a coronation of the One, the dawn of a new spiritual age where our man-god travels the world on a unicorn while ejaculating roses and making everything all right.
I am quite happy with most of Obama’s transition thus far (apart from the constant Lincoln comparisons), but I do fear this breakdown of the separation of church and state. Obama’s tried to play down the religious stuff some since it really started getting out of hand during the campaign, but he still feeds it more than he should (again, the constant Lincoln comparisons, and his whole Organizing for America deal). Some of the same people who bitch when a Christian president says “God bless you” after someone sneezes seem, at least subconsciously, raring to establish the Universal Church of Barack as the one true religion of the United States. That’s just not healthy for a democracy.
More Althouse here, with some people saying a great deal more about themselves than about Bush.
Blessing the river. I love.
Christopher Hitchens: He cuts the floor out from under the ongoing Bushhatefest: “I’m not sorry that Bush beat Gore and Kerry“:
We are never invited to ask ourselves what would have happened if the Democrats had been in power that fall. But it might be worth speculating for a second. The Effective Death Penalty and Anti-Terrorism Act, rushed through both Houses by Bill Clinton after the relative pin prick of the Oklahoma City bombing, was correctly described by the American Civil Liberties Union as the worst possible setback for the cause of citizens’ rights. Given that precedent and multiplying it for the sake of proportion, I think we can be pretty sure that wiretapping and water-boarding would have become household words, perhaps even more quickly than they did, and that we might even have heard a few more liberal defenses of the practice. I don’t know if Gore-Lieberman would have thought of using Guantanamo Bay, but that, of course, raises the interesting question—now to be faced by a new administration—of where exactly you do keep such actually or potentially dangerous customers, especially since you are not supposed to “rendition” them. There would have been a nasty prison somewhere or a lot of prisoners un-taken on the battlefield, you can depend on that.
We might have avoided the Iraq war, even though both Bill Clinton and Al Gore had repeatedly and publicly said that another and conclusive round with Saddam Hussein was, given his flagrant defiance of all the relevant U.N. resolutions, unavoidably in our future. And the inconvenient downside to avoiding the Iraq intervention is that a choke point of the world economy would still be controlled by a psychopathic crime family that kept a staff of WMD experts on hand and that paid for jihadist suicide bombers around the region. In his farewell interviews, President Bush hasn’t been able to find much to say for himself on this point, but I think it’s a certainty that historians will not conclude that the removal of Saddam Hussein was something that the international community ought to have postponed any further. (Indeed, if there is a disgrace, it is that previous administrations left the responsibility undischarged.)
…And the collapse of our financial system has its roots in a long-ago attempt, not disgraceful in and of itself, to put home ownership within reach even of the least affluent. So the old question “compared to what?” does not allow too much glibness.
Inescapable as it is, “compared to what?” isn’t much of a defense. And nor has this column been intended exactly as a defense, either. It’s just that there’s an element of hubris in all this current hope-mongering and that I am beginning to be a little bit afraid to think of what Wednesday morning will feel like.