Ed Morrissey notes that many who spent 8+ years detesting Bush as the worst moron-nazi-terrorist ever born of woman are now looking for him to break his post-presidential silence in the cause of aiding President Obama and the unpopular dont-call-it-a-Ground-Zero-mosque construction planned in New York City.
It’s certainly a delicious irony to savor. Of course all of those pundits clamoring for Bush’s assistance are careful to point out that he is still an idiotchimp on every other issue but this one, but I have heard similar “I miss Bush” musings from others–those who always hated Bush, those who grew to hate him, those who piled on because the pile was a safe place to be.
One of my husband’s friends–hated Bush, loved Obama and defended him vociferously for the first year, less passionately the second–told him over lunch this week that he’s done with Obama and “I never thought I’d say this but I miss Bush. We knew that he said what he meant, even if we didn’t want to hear it. We knew who he was, even if we didn’t like him. And we never had to wonder whether he liked us. He always did.”
And that is it, in a nutshell. Bush is missable, because we miss having a president whose affection for his country and its people–even the ones who hated him–was never in doubt.
We miss Bush because he never lectured us or harangued us, and when people disagreed with him, they were not immediately called names in an attempt to simply shut up debate.
Were President Bush faced with this precise Cordoba Group situation during his presidency, I have no idea what his response to it would have been. It is conceivable that he would have made a point of encouraging his citizenry to look at the proposed construction as a great reflection of America’s steadfast commitment to liberty. Had he done so, he likely would have faced opposition from his base, and from the center, and quite possibly from the very folks on the left who are now pining for him – because recall that during his presidency, nothing coming form the mouth of Bush was permitted to be deemed credible, reasonable or intelligent.
I am absolutely certain however that in the face of angry, hurt opposition President Bush would not have permitted or encouraged his party to charge 60% of the nation with bigotry and xenophobia, because Bush never hated his opponents, and he never believed the worst of his countrymen; he believed the best.
Believing the worst of his countrymen sometimes seems to be President Obama’s default mode.
We miss Bush because he believed that Americans are inherently decent and heroic people who would–even in strained situations–bring thoroughly decent and heroic responses to bear.
It is a much better message for a president to send to his people than, “Don’t be evil. Like you usually are.”
Rick at Brutally Honest has more
UPDATE: And then there’s this