George Bush and his legacy as President of the United States? What do you think? Is it too early to tell since the war on terror will mark the legacy of his presidency?
When he was sworn in eight years ago, who would have thunk things would have turned out in this manner. Even folks in his own party have dismissed him, opposed his leadership and pleas, and he was clearly ignored at his own party’s convention. Now, I know that 9/11 changed everything but who would have thunk? So much convoluted thoughts in my head bit let me share four random things including the news of the shoe-throwin’ journalist:
1. He’s always seemed like a likable guy which is probably why many voted for him… That and he’s a member of one of the most powerful families in the country. But he should have never been the President. Why? He simply wasn’t qualified and competent. Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, or Anarchist – I think many will now agree he simply wasn’t ‘presidential material’ The lesson I’ve learned is that we don’t need likable folks. We need sharp, brilliant, intelligent, and articulate leaders who seek to serve, protect, and lead the entire country. Clearly, a tall order for anyone. In his own words, President Bush referred to himself as a “simple man.” But perhaps that’s the problem since his job is to lead in a very complex world.
2. His future memoir will be the highest selling memoir in the history of this country. Why? He’s going to share what he couldn’t share during his administration including an apology.
3. For those that care, I wrote two posts a year ago [?] about George Bush: Best President and Worst President. Check them out. He’s done some good things and I want to credit him – as others have – for his substantive work and commitment to issues of global poverty [particularly in Africa] but his legacy is going to be marked by the failed war in Iraq that many around the world view as illegal and irresponsible.
4. And lastly, I was disheartened to read the news and see the video of an Iraqi journalist who hurled his shoes at President Bush at yesterday’s news conference in Baghdad. Honestly, despite my not so positive reviews of President Bush’s presidency, he’s still the leader of my country and I just don’t enjoy the sight of someone hurling shoes at their President – and considering WHY he felt the conviction to do so.
And I know the adage of leadership all too well – “You’re not going to please everyone” and I agree with President Bush that the incident doesn’t represent all Iraqi people but I hope he and the next President, Barack Obama, will NOT ignore the significant meaning behind the incident. The work of building trust in the larger world will be more difficult that any rebuilding project in Iraq.
The brother of the journalist now famous for hurling his shoes at President Bush said his sibling’s actions were “spontaneous” and represented millions of Iraqis who want to “humiliate the tyrant.”
Dhirgham al-Zaidi, who sometimes worked as his brother’s cameraman, described the reporter’s hatred for the “material American occupation” and the “moral Iranian occupation.”
Muntadhar al-Zaidi’s feelings were influenced by watching the agony suffered by everyday Iraqis. Most of the reporter’s stories focused on Iraqi widows, orphans, and children, said the brother.
Sometimes the 29-year-old journalist would cry. Moved by the tales he reported of poor families, he sometimes asked his colleagues to give money to them. On most nights, he returned to his home in central Baghdad after reporting from Sadr City, one of the country’s most violent slums and the epicenter of several of the war’s pitched battles.
Muntadhar al-Zaidi’s reporting for Egypt-based independent television Al-Baghdadia was “against the occupation,” his brother said. The journalist would occasionally sign off his stories “from occupied Baghdad.” [full CNN article]
But here’s another perspective to convey that change is taking place. Let’s be honest here: those shoes would never have had the freedom to be thrown under the regime of Saddam Hussein.
I know the video below isn’t the most flattering video of President Bush but I share this to caution others about the eloquence of President-Elect Barack Obama. I remember watching this debate live in 2000 and was so impressed with Bush. Had I had access to such things like Facebook Status and Twitter, I would have written:
Wow. Governor George Bush is so genuine, authentic, and humble. Not stiff like that Al Gore dude.
We can all talk the good talk… Let’s hold Obama and his administration accountable to his words and promises. The people should never abdicate the totality of their voice and power to a government. Never.
Here’s the article about the show throwing journalist from CNN: