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on Bush & general respect for authority

The following are not my own words. I retrieved them from the November 5, 2008 Wall Street Journal (which my family is subscribed to). So don’t quote me on this as if I said it: whatever you think, feel free to comment here, just place the credit where it belongs. 😉

All the following emphases are mine: Mr. Shapiro didn’t italicize or underline anything. Etc, etc. 🙂 Enjoy reading, and let me know what you think!

The treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace

By Jeffrey Scott Shapiro

Earlier this year, 12,000 people in San Francisco signed a petition in support of a proposition on a local ballot to rename an Oceanside sewage plant after George W. Bush. The proposition is only one example of the classless disrespect many Americans have shown the president.

According to recent Gallup polls, the president’s average approval rating is below 30% – down from his 90% in the wake of 9/11. Mr. Bush has endured relentless attacks from the left while facing abandonment from the right.

This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans. During this 2004 victory speech, the president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and said, “Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust.”

Those bipartisan efforts have been met with crushing resistance from both political parties.

The president’s original Supreme Court choice of Harriet Miers alarmed Republicans, while his final nomination of Samuel Alito angered Democrats. His solutions to reform the immigration system alienated traditional conservatives, while his refusal to retreat in Iraq has enraged liberals who have unrealistic expectations about the challenges we face there.

It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously disappointing the right.

Yet it should seem obvious that many of our country’s current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on some of these problems, he would actually have had a chance of solving them.

Like the president said in his 204 victory speech, “We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us. And when we come together and work together, there is no limit to the greatness of America.”

To be sure, Mr. Bush is not completely alone. His low approval ratings put him in the company of former democratic President Harry S. Truman, whose own approval rating sank to 22% shortly before he left office. Despite Mr. Truman’s low numbers, a 2005 Wall Street Journal poll found that he was ranked the seventh most popular president in history.

Just as Americans have gained perspective on how challenging Truman’s presidency was in the wake of World War II, our country will recognize the hardship President Bush faced these past eight years – and how extraordinary it was that he accomplished what he did in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.

Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty – a shameful weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.

Mr. Shapiro is an investigative reporter and lawyer who previously interned with John F. Kennedy’s legal team during the presidential election in 2004.

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13 Responses to “on Bush & general respect for authority”

  1. Totally read that article in the journal. It’s pretty interesting. I think it’s almost sad that some of the rhetoric around certain people in washington has become pretty much “Bush sucks, we need to get our country out of Bush’s hold”.

    At the same time, during the Clinton administration I know of a lot people who would say the same exact thing about him. So, I mean the street runs both ways, and politics will be politics. People will say what they are thinking about presidents, it’s not about respecting authority, it’s just a part of the job.

  2. Few presidents are ever popular when in office. The most popular, Lincoln, was shot in office for goodness sake. Just as in your bias piece, this is a polarizing subject. Like parenting, politics always allows people to show just how much more they know than the man (or one day woman) doing the job.
    Mark is very right, it’s just part of the job. One literally makes oneself a target by running for president. Makes me wonder, who would want it? And if you do want it, you should probably be automatically disqualified…

  3. Yes…what is that quote – anyone who wants to run for president is obviously not fit for the job? 🙂

    Politics is probably the hardest and most paradoxical job on earth. I hope never to run for any office myself, but I think it’s the obligation of every citizen to take an active role in who gets elected. Otherwise you can’t – or shouldn’t! – complain. 😉

  4. Hmmm… interesting.

    What do you think about The PATRIOT Act? I think we may have talked about that a very long time ago, but I don’t really remember.

  5. The act itself sounds familiar, but I don’t think we ever discussed it….

    Lots of people hated the fact that Bush signed it (for very obvious reasons: there is a lot of potential for abuse/confusion), but Bush did face the possibility of very serious security problems. His decision to sign this into law actually reminds me a little of President Lincoln saying and doing things that some people really disliked, but he knew would ultimately help.

    However, taking into account that it’s impossible to know every motivation (and even the extent of his knowledge about the bill itself…) that inspired Bush as he signed it, it’s probably best to assume that a repeal or alternatives would be a good idea until all the possible repercussionsare considered.

    I’m done speaking lawyer. 😉 You ask that question pretty tightly: What do ::you:: think of it?

  6. I don’t like it (for very obvious reasons).

  7. Hm. Would you contend that the act means Bush deserves his approval ratings and the venom the media has lavished on him? (If you’ll pardon me, I’m interested in uncovering the purpose of the original question… 😉 )

  8. No, I didn’t say that. I was just wondering.

  9. Ok…sure. That works, too. The PATRIOT act is probably another (pretty good) reason Bush isn’t as popular as he could be. But still. All the vitriol we’ve seen against him really isn’t based on reality…it couldn’t possibly be. A lot of it is conflicting…it’s just opinion, which everyone is obviously entitled to. But respect should be higher than just airing your opinions, IMHO.

  10. Ah, but people now put up a lot of trash and claim “Freedom of Speech” – people want freedom, but not the price it comes by: Sacrifice and Responsibility. They agree nowadays, largely, if it is to be the responsibility and sacrifice of someone else. The Patriot Act isn’t necessarily a good thing, No. But it may be a temporarily necessary thing in order to secure long term safety. (They alluded to this in the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight) People have taken too much advantage and no longer hold each other to a moral standard, simply a substandard, politically correct one.

    Politics is a difficult subject because you make yourself a target for people who have no idea of half the facts out there, and the politician only having a small percentage more, likely. It is a difficult job to do the right thing for so many people and nations, present and future, enemies as well as allies.
    Respect the person in office whether you like them or not.

  11. Sacrifice and responsibility? Today it looks more like sacrificing responsibility for the freedom to say anything.
    The Patriot Act was a hard decision because it may have been necessary at one point, but those in government realize that the “temporary” necessary things become permanent once they’re put into place… (but words fail me here…if you’re confused, please ask for clarification…)

    Knowledge is power. The old saying is that you don’t have to run faster than the bear – you just have to run faster than your friend. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case in politics, as well. If someone can sound and seem really smart, then chances are good that people will admire them and choose to listen to what they have to say – even if they only know 1/2 a percentage point more than the average Joe.

  12. Sacrificing responsibility. I like that. Can I use it? (I’ll give you credit)
    No, I understand, and agree.
    I said something about the Batman movie; in the movie they refer to a Roman practice of appointing one man to replace the senate and act as a protector in times of war – it insured one decision maker which made things faster and less confused, as well as allowing one fall guy when things went wrong. The last man to be appointed was named Caesar and never gave up his power. Sometimes things do become permanent. It is not just things decided by the Legislation though now a days. Judicial also seems confused with what is a “case” judgment and a legislative decision. Rowe vs Wade, etc.
    As far as outrunning the bear goes… we come straight back to sacrifice. A real hero doesn’t run, he stops – not to fight, but sometimes to take the fall in stead of someone else. That is point of the “one in place of all.”
    You might like Rene Gerard’s book, “I See Satan Fall Like Lightning.” One of my top 5 favorite books.


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