The New York Daily News reports:
President Obama dropped a bipartisan bombshell today, announcing he will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom next year to ex-President George H.W. Bush.
The magnanimous gesture of bestowing the nation’s highest civilian honor to the 41st U.S. President came a day after ex-President George W. Bush gave a respectful nod to Obama at the groundbreaking of his library in Dallas.
I think President Obama wants to work with the GOP, and this is a gesture indicating this desire. However, one must wonder at the justification President Obama is using for this award. It must also call into question Obama’s insistence (which I think is correct) that Bush’s policies hurt the nation and that the problems Obama faces come as a major result from Bush’s presidency. If Bush’s conduct hurt the nation so much, how can he be given an award indicating the reverse? What does this say about Obama’s criticism of Bush? We have seen Obama not only continuing most of the policies he once criticized, but strengthening them. Indeed, one can see his policies have, in many ways, become worse. For example, the current controversy around the TSA can only be understood if one remembers the progressive increase in TSA’s power under Bush’s reign. While Bush and his supporters used security as justification for dehumanizing invasions of privacy, it is now in Obama’s hands. That these invasions are getting worse, that human dignity is thrown aside for “safety” probably would have also happened under a McCain Presidency — but, it should not have happened under an Obama one. Obama knew better — he criticized this mentality before being elected. And if he knew better and acts against his better knowledge, he is more culpable and blameworthy than those who did not.
*Update* Yes, as per the comments, I did, in my quick reading of the news report early in the morning, confuse the two Presidents — and at first thought this was about GW Bush and not his father. I should have known better; I usually do not make this mistake between the two. But I do think the question as to why Obama would do this remains.