George W. Bush was hated by the American media with a pathology seldom seen outside 1800s insane asylums. When he was photographed in a flight suit onboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in May of 2003, where he delivered a speech announcing the end of major combat in Iraq, the media—and leftists (but I repeat myself)—went absolutely berserk with indignation and rage. How dare he proclaim “mission accomplished?” How dare he dress up like a jet pilot? It mattered not, of course, that the “mission accomplished” banner hanging on the island of the carrier was hung by the crew, who, having finished a cruise—accomplished their mission–were nearly home. it also mattered nothing that Mr. Bush actually was a jet pilot. He took the controls of the jet that flew him to the carrier and flew for some distance. The fact that he so looked the part in a flight suit only served to inflame the tender sensibilities of the left.
And when he made a surprise Thanksgiving visit to the troops in Baghdad in 2003, the media and left were again berserk with rage. Mr. Bush loved the troops, and they loved him. Their genuine surprise and outpouring of joy and respect burned the left who can never command such devotion. Some even accused him of posing with a fake turkey! Unlike Mr. Obama’s standard operating procedure, there was nothing pre-arranged or posed about that day.
One can disagree with some of Mr. Bush’s decisions—I certainly do—but his love for America, our troops, and Americans can never be disparaged. Consider this excerpt from Dana Perino’s new book:
He regularly visited patients at Walter Reed military hospital near the White House. These stops were unannounced because of security concerns and hassles for the hospital staff that come with a full blown presidential visit.
One morning in 2005, Scott McClellan sent me in his place to visit the wounded warriors. It was my first time for that particular assignment, and I was nervous about how the visits would go.
The president was scheduled to see 25 patients at Walter Reed. Many of them had traumatic brain injuries and were in very serious, sometimes critical, condition. Despite getting the best treatment available in the world, we knew that some would not survive.
We started in the intensive care unit. The chief of naval operations (CNO) briefed the president on our way into the hospital about the first patient we’d see. He was a young Marine who had been injured when his Humvee was hit by a roadside bomb. After his rescue, he was flown to Landstuhl U.S. Air Force Base in Kaiserslautern, Germany. At his bedside were his parents, wife, and five-year-old son.
‘What’s his prognosis?’ the president asked.
‘Well, we don’t know sir, because he’s not opened his eyes since he arrived, so we haven’t been able to communicate with him. But no matter what, Mr. President, he has a long road ahead of him,”’ said the CNO.
We had to wear masks because of the risk of infection to the patient. I watched carefully to see how the family would react to President Bush, and I was worried that they might be mad at him and blame him for their loved one’s situation. But I was wrong.
The family was so excited the president had come. They gave him big hugs and thanked him over and over. Then they wanted to get a photo. So he gathered them all in front of Eric Draper, the White House photographer.
President Bush asked, “Is everybody smiling?” But they all had ICU masks on. A light chuckle ran through the room as everyone got the joke.
The Marine was intubated. The president talked quietly with the family at the foot of the patient’s bed. I looked up at the ceiling so that I could hold back tears.
After he visited with them for a bit, the president turned to the military aide and said, ‘Okay, let’s do the presentation.’ The wounded warrior was being awarded the Purple Heart, given to troops that suffer wounds in combat.
Everyone stood silently while the military aide in a low and steady voice presented the award. At the end of it, the Marine’s young child tugged on the president’s jacket and asked, ‘What’s a Purple Heart?’
The president got down on one knee and pulled the little boy closer to him. He said, ‘It’s an award for your dad, because he is very brave and courageous, and because he loves his country so much. And I hope you know how much he loves you and your mom, too.
As they hugged, there was a commotion from the medical staff as they moved toward the bed.
The Marine had just opened his eyes. I could see him from where I stood.
The CNO held the medical team back and said, ‘Hold on, guys. I think he wants the president.’
The president jumped up and rushed over to the side of the bed. He cupped the Marine’s face in his hands. They locked eyes, and after a couple of moments the president, without breaking eye contact, said to the military aide, ‘Read it again.’
So we stood silently as the military aide presented the Marine with the award for a second time. The president had tears dripping from his eyes onto the Marine’s face. As the presentation ended, the president rested his forehead on the wounded warrior’s for a moment.
Now everyone was crying, and for so many reasons: the sacrifice; the pain and suffering; the love of country; the belief in the mission; and the witnessing of a relationship between a soldier and his Commander in Chief that the rest of us could never fully grasp. (In writing this book, I contacted several military aides who helped me track down the name of the Marine. I hoped for news that he had survived. He did not. He died during surgery six days after the president’s visit. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery and is survived by his wife and their three children.)
It’s easy for a Commander-in-Chief to bask in the emotion and attention of positive moments, particularly when, like Barack Obama, his PR flacks surround him with human props—including service members who have no choice but to be polite–at every opportunity. The true measure of a leader is how he behaves at times when the unexpected, even the uncomfortable, occurs.
And that was just the first patient we saw. For the rest of the visit to the hospital that day, almost every family had the same reaction of joy when they saw the president.
But there were exceptions. One mom and dad of a dying soldier from the Caribbean were devastated, the mom beside herself with grief. She yelled at the president, wanting to know why it was her child and not his who lay in that hospital bed.
Her husband tried to calm her and I noticed the president wasn’t in a hurry to leave—he tried offering comfort but then just stood and took it, like he expected and needed to hear the anguish, to try to soak up some of her suffering if he could.
Later as we rode back on Marine One to the White House, no one spoke.
But as the helicopter took off, the president looked at me and said, ‘That mama sure was mad at me.’ Then he turned to look out the window of the helicopter. ‘And I don’t blame her a bit.’
One tear slipped out the side of his eye and down his face. He didn’t wipe it away, and we flew back to the White House.
This is humanity. This is empathy. This is altruism. This is leadership.
Perhaps one day we’ll have it again.
Excellent post, Mike. Unfortunately, it appears the days of true leadership are only visible in our rear view mirror.
Reblogged this on Brittius.
First and foremost: I like and truly respect Mike McDaniel. HIs is the only blog I regularly follow.
Beyond that, I don’t agree with everything he says. Like myself, I keep in mind that he’s human and sometimes is influenced by things he shouldn’t be. Primarily, I think he’s too influenced by the faux patriotism of Conservative Ideology (which can be as noxious at Liberal Ideology).
My bad: I’m an independent and no longer fooled by any ideology. Ideologies are not true philosophies but convenient substitutes suited primarily to convincing otherwise decent, intelligent people of “The Way.”
In that way: I disagree with the idea that G. W. Bush was anything but another convenient figurehead for Conservatism. Barack Obama is slightly worse in that he’s a self-styled figurehead for Liberalism.
I’m fine with crediting “Dubya” with defeating Saddam but on his watch and by Conservative “policy” criminals were allowed free reign to wreck the U.S. economy on a scale not seen since the 1930s. I say that as one who actually met Alan Greenspan was was a student of his economic thinking.
Mr. Izz said:
At least it seemed like he cared. At least it seemed like he wanted this country to succeed and be better. At least he took responsibility for his actions and did what he said he would do. At least he worked with the other side to come up with solutions to problems.
I think Bush did a lot of great things for this country that are squashed and trampled on by the media and liberals. He gets blamed for things he didn’t do and his legacy means nothing to those who are tarnishing his name (Obama is being protected, Bush is not, that much is evident).
No president is perfect, but it’s very clear that some are much better than others.
I’m not focusing on ideology. Ideology doesn’t mean squat. I’m looking at actions and the way the country responded to those actions. Overall, the response was positive. A president can stand there all day and spout of “ideology” and nothing changes. Sure, he sounds great, he’s put up on a pedestal of triumph, but if nothing happens, then he is nothing more than a liar and a cheat.
Oh, and just to throw this out there, no President should have to deal with the kind of terrorist attack this country sustained. I’m willing to let some economic policies slide (whether good or bad) considering what was going on in this world and what we were dealing with as a nation.
“I’m not focusing on ideology. Ideology doesn’t mean squat. I’m looking at actions and the way the country responded to those actions.” – You’re wrong about that, competing ideologies is what it’s all about. You yourself just excused the use of right wing ideology by Bush, Greenspan and others by (typically) sticking to just Bush’s accomplishments. We all do right things and we all do wrong things at times. There are priests who’ve repeatedly raped little boys – the sons of people in their own congregations. But nooo, we can’t just give them the death sentence they deserve for that because they “did so much good stuff” at the same time they were doing kiddie rapes.
Bush & the associated ideological doctrines (“deregulation” and “hands off commerce”) were KEY in allowing criminals to sell fraudulent investments worldwide. Give credit where credit is due, sure, but be damned sure we don’t wait around for his wrongdoings to be punished in Heaven.
Obama has an army of apologist/excuser fanboys and fangirls. You’re defending Bush just like the apologist / excuser fanboys talk about Obama. You may not be a fanboy but your statement overall makes it seem so. Hitler still has his followers even in here in our United States and Stalin still has his supporters over in Russia. There’re still statues in tribute to Mao in Red China. For that reason and others: I say we should at least stop defending the indefensible and start exercising some individual thought and judgement. Drop out of the parade, please.
Having been in the military during the Bush era, and having met him personally (outside of the military setting) once, I believe you are wrong about GW Bush.
I personally disagreed with his domestic policies quite stridently. His “compassionate conservatism” in my mind had no bearing on conservatism at all. During the debates prior to his first election, his answer to virtually every domestic question was to create another government program, spend more government money or commission another government study of the issue. Not very conservative in my mind.
But on a personal level, I truly believe that he was doing what he thought was best for the country.
Although any politician must, to some degree, conform to the “party line”, I do not believe GW Bush was a “conservative figurehead” by any stretch. He didn’t bow to the wishes of the conservative establishment nearly as often as he convinced the conservative establishment to bend to his purpose.
He was (and probably still is), in my opinion, a sincere, honest person who genuinely was trying to do what was right for the country. Of course sometimes doing what’s right requires compromise, sometimes it requires standing firm in the face of opposition. He did both from time to time during his presidency.
Although I don’t think he always did the right thing, I think he was truly trying to do so and I can say unequivocally that the vast majority of the military saw him as a true leader and were proud to serve under him…I know that I did and I was, even though I disagreed with his policies quite regularly.
I appreciate your response to my post. However, there’s a May 26th article in Scientific American magazine titled, “How Smart Should a President Be?” and it’s said that GWB and most other presidents score around IQ 120 (a big surprise to me). That’s in the 91st percentile nationally. The article and some linked references in it suggest that Obama is about the same (and everyone’s smarter than John Kerry, by the way – lol).
Anyway, I don’t have to tell you, I’m sure, that there are other abilities which are of at least equal value when thinking about what presidents are supposed to do. My error – was to spot the poor level of Bush’s normal speech (his many verbal blunders are famous) and think that reflected his intelligence. It was a reasonable supposition on my part. I think a lot of people are “defeated” by their own poor communications ability.
But the actual measure I refer to in my original post was Bush’s mistakenly allowing “laissez faire deregulation” doctrine to create what turned out to be his hallmark blunder: the near collapse of the U.S. economy. What’s lacking in that doctrine is that it ASSUMES HONESTY in all the participants. That’s not real world thinking -it’s theoretical thinking.
Just proves the SciAm article has merit: you can be a genius and still make the mistake of trusting crooks to do the right thing.
I took another IQ test at age 62 – scored better than I ever have. I’m at least in the 97th percentile – but I’ve been fooled by crooked people a few times. People can laud Bush’s accomplishments all they want – but they always omit that he was a dupe of an ideological doctrine and his blunder cost the country dearly.
Father Paul Lemmen said:
Reblogged this on A Conservative Christian Man.
Pingback: If it Weren’t for My TV, I Wouldn’t Know What is Real | Talk Wisdom
Pingback: Who Are You? Who Who, Who Who? | Stately McDaniel Manor
James crawford said:
Well done Mike. Bush spent to much money and he allowed the liberal hate mongers to deter him from reigning in the unholy alliance between poverty pimps such as a young Barack Hussein Obama and Wall Street Bankers who conspired to issue $4 Trillion in NINJA loans to Oboma’s constituents.
The tragedy is that even conservative Republicans have accepted the “Bush Lied, People Died,” meme regarding Iraq. When Bush gave his famous Axis of Evil speech, he identified three countries who historically supported terrorism and were at risk of developing nuclear weapons which would enable terrorist attacks on a genocidal scale. The three countries that formed Bush’s Axis of Evil were Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Of these three countries, only Iraq which was only months away from having a nuke after the first gulf war is certain to not develop nukes anytime soon. North Korea already has nukes (far more advanced than most people would presume) and Oboma is negotiating a treaty that will legitimize the nukes that Iran can build in only a few brief months.
After the 9-11 attacks, Bush was confronted with a tragic choice. He could either capitulate to Islamic terrorism or wage a war of extermination. Bush sought and found a third path of attempting to defuse Islamic militancy by attempting to spread democracy at the point of a bayonet as an alternative to supporting brutal dictators. Unfortunately; the advocates of this liberation strategy failed to understand the need to make a long term commitment to nurture democracy as we did in Europe. (does no one remember the skirmishes and war between NATO members Greece and Turkey or the tense hostilities between France and Germany. Bush redressed this error by ordering the surge which stabilized Iraq. Oboma squandered this Hell fought victory, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, by refusing to negotiate a status of forces agreement that would have allowed the US to maintain a stabilizing presence.
“Unfortunately; the advocates of this liberation strategy failed to understand the need to make a long term commitment to nurture democracy as we did in Europe.” – You have spoken the truth here.
And that makes three times in a row now that the U.S. strategists have failed.
Korea, Viet Nam and now all the Moslem / Arab countries. Only – Iran and Afghanistan insurgents don’t enjoy the massive support of allies like North Vietnam had with the USSR and Red China backing their play. So we should by now (9 years after invading Iraq) pretty much have things settled in the Middle East. Instead, we have Obama openly sabotaging every previous U.S. effort to “defeat the terrorists.”
The pipsqueak ex-state senator from Illinois is in way over his head.
James crawford said:
It is unreasonable to equate “US strategists” under Bush with the Oboma/Clinton axis of imbecility. Clinton and Oboma went out of their way to undermine and destroy everything that Bush had accomplished not because they had different ideas but to discredit Republicans. The imbecilic incitement of the Arab Spring lunacy (which Republican, senior Senators McCain and Graham supported but an alleged neophyte Governor Palin questioned) was executed without any thought about managing the aftermath to a peaceful conclusion.
I am a conservative heretic that is so angry about the United States degenerating to the point where Oboma could be elected that I oppose any effort to intervene against ISIS. I am perfectly content to passively observe as ISIS runs amok, destroying everyone and everything in their path. I eagerly await the satisfaction of enjoying the spectacle of ISIS beheading infidels in downtown Paris and London, or even tossing homosexuals from the top floor of the Empire State building. Perhaps a few million such casualties inflicted on America will inspire a return to sanity. If not, then this country should no longer exist.