20 January 2009

The Bush Era: 2001-2009

Today, George W. Bush exited the White House for the final time. Although I have been deeply disappointed with many of his missteps -- both at home and abroad -- and count myself among his many disapprovers -- he was a genuinely good man who I believe did the best he could. 

But when you're the leader of the free world, sometimes -- and perhaps in Bush's case, often -- that simply isn't good enough.

Two days ago, I picked up Bob Woodward's most recent offering, "The War Within." Sad to say, this is actually the first Woodward book I've actually sat down to read (although I am an avid reader of any of his reporting and, although I'm sure it doesn't count, I watched the cinematic version of "All the President's Men"). Published in August, the book is much less a searing critique of individual actors within the Bush administration as it is an illustration of the decision-making apparatus that took us through the darkest days of the Iraq War.  

The Iraq War is undoubtedly the landmark issue of the Bush presidency. Thus, I will hold off on any major evaluations of the Bush years until I'm finished with Woodward's book. I'm only a third of the way through, but it's highly recommended reading.

Barack Obama was sworn in today as the 44th president of the United States. I watched a few minutes of coverage on CNN this morning, and watched people my age on the Mall jumping around and gleefully screaming, "Yes we can!" I love politics and I love the game. But I simply can't connect with such delusional clinging to a political figure or to an idea. Last night, Wolf Blitzer literally choked back the smiles as he spoke of how exciting the next day would undoubtedly be. I accuse him of nothing, but I doubt Blitzer said the same thing on January 19, 2001. 

I watched Obama's historic acceptance speech on election night and quietly turned off the TV. I don't plan on tuning in tonight when I return home. I've offered my congratulations to Obama and pledged my support and well wishes. He's my president, too, and perhaps the Republican Party would be better off if there were more people like me. 

I'm not excited in the least for the dawn of the Barack Obama Era, but I would prefer not to return to the Bush years, either. The Republican Party is in tatters and we appear to be headed into one of the most ambitious periods of government expansion since the Great Depression.

I believe we have George W. Bush to thank for both.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bush certainly shares in the blame, but the people ultimately responsible are those cheering masses. They were the ones that voted for Obama. They're the ones that apparently have no understanding about how a free people should be governed. Bush and Obama are both a product of a society in moral and intellectual decline.