Friends, Americans, conservatives; lend me your ears. I come to praise George W. Bush, not to bury him; I'll leave that to our famously unbiased media. Now that the eight years of his presidency have come to an end, there will surely be endless shovels of dirt dumped on the legacy of our 43rd president, some even heaved by our brethren on the right; but not here. I come instead not to speak specifically of his accomplishments or his errors, but of the man himself.
One can be reasonably sure that his exit, like his controversial entrance, will be marked by a graciousness usually absent in political circles. We can also be pretty certain that his departure will not feature the ransacking of the Oval Office and Air Force One, or the sophomoric removal of the "O's" from White House keyboards. If, as has been the case for his entire presidency, he is true to his word, he will be as magnanimous to his successor as he was to his predecessor; notwithstanding the disrespect he received at the hands of both.
In his last press conference on Monday he said that when he leaves Washington he'll be "getting off the stage," because there should only be "one person in the klieg lights at a time." Would that all former presidents had made and kept this same pledge; especially those of the Democratic stripe. Love him or hate him, you can't help but think that despite a rambunctious youth, this man was raised right.
Although some of his actions upset conservatives, as he departs the Beltway for his beloved Texas ranch, we can and should admire the aspects of his character that not only saw the nation through the dark days after 9/11, but restored a measure of dignity to what had been an Office marred Impeachment and irresponsibility.
The foremost of his virtues and the one that evokes the most hatred from those on the left is that he remains true to the courage of his convictions; not an easy task in these days of moral relativism. When he stated that there is good and evil in the world, and that Americans have always given their lives in defense of the good, he reopened a page of Americanism not seen since the days of Ronald Reagan.
Of course, some saw this dogged determination as hubris and decried his unwillingness to "admit mistakes." But this only pointed to his gift of good judgment. George W. Bush is one of the few powerful men in the world to recognize that homicidal brutes like those in Al Qaeda must be met not only with force of arms, but a steadfast resolve equal to or greater than their own. All the spinning in the world by his enemies cannot change the fact that this is what has kept our country safe from attack these last seven years.
And yes, he truly is a compassionate conservative. Unlike politicians who can turn on the tears on cue, George W. Bush could truly get misty at a T-Ball game on the White House lawn or at a press conference with "Snowflake" babies; those born from embryos that would otherwise have been destroyed or used for research. And who can forget one of the most emotional of all the scenes immediately following the carnage of 9/11, when President Bush returned to his seat after delivering his beautiful remarks in the National Cathedral, and embraced his visibly-shaken father.
This is a man who endured countless savage attacks on himself and those of his administration, and spoke not one bitter word in return. A man who, in stark contrast to his predecessor, cared not a whit about public opinion when it came to our national defense, trusting instead that future historians will do what their current counterparts refuse; to treat him fairly.
So this is the message to our liberal friends in the media: you didn't beat this president, he beat you. You and your allies in Washington failed time and again to take this good man down. Indeed, he was elected and re-elected despite your historic efforts to the contrary.
And this is his legacy: that this man did precisely what the President of the United States is sworn to do. He and the troops who fought so bravely under him for eight long years have defended this still-great country of ours against one of the most pernicious enemies mankind has ever seen, and equally important, he kept alive the idea that America is and can still be, a force for good in the world.
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