Goodbye George

Created on 19/1/2009

I am taking this opportunity to say goodbye to President George W. Bush. Sure, like you I have seen him lampooned a million times in every conceivable way. It wasn’t always like this, it’s strange how short our memories are, like the incoming President Barack Obama, George W. had a popularity rating of over 80%.

The perception of the outgoing President is that he was a total idiot who couldn’t walk and talk. Interesting that those who know him paint a totally different and contradictory picture. I don’t have personal knowledge of the man, a great many of whose policies I don’t like or simply abhor. But I don’t think he is a fool and I don’t believe he had been foolish, any more than most of his predecessors.

Moreover I am prepared to take bets that long-term history is going to be a great deal kinder to his stint in office than predecessors like Clinton, Carter or many others.

Obviously speaking in public was painful to George W. and any of us listening to his tortured syntax and garbled grammar, but that didn’t mean he was stupid any more than Barack being a brilliant orator will make him a great President.

I instinctively hate big business being in any way involved in government at any level, whatever the rationale, and I especially find some of the big American corporations genuinely terrifying harbingers of some dreadful corporate world and these people appeared to have their hooks into George, but I don’t think these same corporations are strangers to anyone who has previously inhabited the White House. I would love to see Barack create some distance between himself and those insider interests.

Bush didn’t seem to handle emergencies well but then again, do you remember Clinton or Nixon facing emergencies, they tried to lie their way out of their problems. Carter, probably the President with the highest IQ of the lot didn’t have a clue how to handle the Iranian hostage situation and is still making lame excuses for his lamentable choices. Perhaps no one forgives Bush for the War on Terror, which I believe was and still is necessary, even if it has been disastrously handled in many ways.

The truth is that President Clinton is fondly remembered for his time in office because people felt prosperous whereas they despise President Clinton because the economy is collapsing around their ears, the people are terrified for their future, and they’re looking for someone to blame and Wall St is just too alien and anonymous to understand let alone attack. We’re left with the outgoing President to despise and blame and although we’re all culpable to a lesser or greater extent the real culprits live in the City of London and New York’s Wall St.

Like the comedians who found Bush ideal lampoon material I will miss this misunderstood President for his apparent humanity and despite his frailties. I hope President Obama will be nothing like him as times have certainly moved on, and we need a very different type of man for the uncertain future we all face.

In the meantime I thank the outgoing President for trying his best, which at times was good enough, and for his very obvious attempts to do the right thing. I hope he has a long and healthy retirement and gains satisfaction from his successor’s achievements. I hope and believe he will.