Profile of a Frustrating Presidency

As one who voted for George W. Bush twice (the first time was an accident — I was aiming for Buchanan) I often sit back and conduct a performance evaluation of sorts — which is the primary right of every voter — and the results are frustratingly perplexing.

It’s not that I regret voting for Bush, taking into account the alternatives at the time. Gore would have been an enormous disaster, especially considering the events that unfolded shortly after the 2000 election.

We can only imagine how America would have reacted had it been Al Gore to take the bullhorn shortly after 9/11, climb atop a pile of WTC rubble, and excoriate Osama bin Laden for the tragic inferno that played hell with the polar ice caps. And Kerry? No thanks. If I want to see Thurston and Lovie on a daily basis, I’ll turn on TV Land. The thought of a first lady who sounds like Eva Gabor with Tourette’s Syndrome was a big turn off as well.

That said, the Bush presidency has given me moments of nervousness — the kind of unease you would experience if you were flying with Amelia Earhart and, 10,000 feet over the Pacific, she turned to you and said “Oh, I thought you brought the compass.”

Barely a week goes by when there hasn’t been an occasion that I’ve listened to George W. Bush and thought, “what are you thinking?”

The most recent example was the president’s appearance on 60 Minutes, the show with the stopwatch that reminds viewers either how much time is left in the program, or how long some of the pre-Mesozoic hosts have to live.

Frankly, Bush agreeing to go on a CBS News program for an interview is a little like Ehud Olmert picking up Mahmoud Ahmadinead’s lunch tab. But I’m sure CBS has come around since allowing Dan Rather to run with the fake National Guard document story. Yep, no agenda there anymore. Nuh uh.

In the interview, Bush admitted to mistakes in the war in Iraq. Sure it’s true, but telling that to CBS can make us do nothing but question his judgment. Where’s the old Dubya? The cowboy whose life credo was “never give ’em the satisfaction”? Did that particular cowboy ever exist in the first place?

The frustrations of the Bush presidency are compounded by the constant passing of huge spending bills, much of it doing nothing more than helping other countries and interests. Bush has rubber-stamped more foreign paper than an overcaffeinated Ellis Island clerk on “two-for-one coupon day.” The nickname for Bush’s veto pen should be “unemployed squid,” because it’s full of ink and doesn’t do nearly enough work.

Then there’s the Bush who takes a brave stand against foreign and domestic terrorism on one hand, and on the other hand seems to have little concern for illegals who are spilling across the border so much that it looks like Mexico left the faucet running. Whenever you announce a plan for amnesty for illegals, don’t be surprised if everybody begins to clamor for position.

Speaking of Bush and fighting terrorism, how about this story that managed to stay, with some exceptions, mostly under the radar during the holiday season:

In the wake of the revelation that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, the number of new students arriving in the United States plummeted from more than 4,000 in 2001 to 1,008 in 2005, according to the U.S. State Department.

But a program initiated by President Bush and Saudi King Abdullah has brought about 10,000 new students to U.S. colleges during the current academic year, bringing the number of Saudi students for the fall semester of 2006 to 10,936.

You can only wonder how much of our tax dollars are going to pay for their flight school. I don’t know about you, but I sleep better at night knowing that the chance that somebody who has a degree from an American university will kill us all is now much higher.

We send our brave soldiers to fight terrorists overseas “so we don’t have to do it here later on” and then invite their neighbors over by the thousands? In that case, we might as well bring the troops home, because if you’re going to have people setting rat traps in the basement but put the bait in your shorts, a rude awakening is on the way and the rest is futile.

These things, and many more, comprise the paradox that is the Bush presidency. It’s so confusing that Bush even confuses himself on many occasions.

Is Bush better than Gore would have been? Absolutely. Better than Kerry? For sure. But still, I can’t help but view the Bush presidency as a series of squandered opportunities punctuated by some successes that were ultimately pasteurized with consent in the name of “bipartisanship” and counterproductive conciliation. George W. Bush has guts and the willingness to do what might be necessary but nonetheless unpopular, but he also seems to have compassion and a humanitarian streak to a naive fault, which all too often trumps the nobility of the former admirable trait.

George W. Bush will not, as many like to believe, go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever, but he will most certainly be remembered as an “if only he’d have…” type of leader — which is often the difference between “great” and “eh, whatever.”

Just for the record, I couldn’t have done that job any better. Heck, I’d still be in an “undisclosed location” — which is where most politicians should stay.


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Author: Doug Powers

Doug Powers is a writer, editor and commentator covering news of the day from a conservative viewpoint with an occasional shot of irreverence and a chaser of snark. Townhall Media writer/editor. alum. Bowling novice. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan. Contact: