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Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

Shameful Antics on Inauguration Day

January 21, 2009 2 comments

As I mentioned in my post yesterday on Obama’s inauguration, even though I am firmly on the other side of the aisle, I cannot deny the historic significance of the day and the solemnity of the occasion. That’s why it pained me to hear of the behavior of some of the attendees when President Bush took the dais for the final time. From Hank Bostwick at the Star City Harbringer:

 

Likewise, when the entire crowd in the Silver Ticket section in front of the Reflecting Pool and within earshot of the Capitol platform erupted into boos and heckling of former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, I knew I would be cringing the moment President George W. Bush stepped out of the halls of Congress into the frigid morning air.

“Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah, hey, hey, hey . . . goodbye,” the crowd began to sing after a series of boos that nearly shattered the frozen glaze on the Reflecting Pool behind us.

One African American lady from Ohio to my left in the crowd said, “That ain’t right . . . I don’t like the man, either, but that ain’t right.  His children are up there.”

Another onlooker, a woman in overalls from California,  who joined in the chant told the lady to my left that President Bush “deserved to know how we feel one last time.”

 

Equally shameful, though, are the (unfortunately) typical antics of the Westboro Baptist Church. These are the very same people who shamefully interrupt the funerals of our fallen soldiers, and they were up to the very same yesterday: 

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Shameful behavior from both sides. It is, however, their right to act in such a boorish and disrespectful manner. Such is the delicate balance between freedom and decency. To ban one form of speech because it is judged disrespectful by the community at large is to say that any other form of speech can be judged the same way when tastes and values change. Thus, they are free to conduct their protests without interference, and I am equally free to be disgusted.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

The First Draft is being Written

January 21, 2009 Leave a comment

The Right Wing Liberal, one my favorites, has put in his two cents on the early history already being written about the Bush Administration. First, he points out Bush’s resoluteness on tax policy:

As a reminder, this makes George W. Bush the first President since Jack Kennedy never to propose or enact a tax increase (Ford proposed a tax increase, but it was never enacted; even Ronald Reagan proposed tax increases in 1982, and agreed to them in later years).

George W. Bush will be criticized heavily for excess spending – and rightly so – but as bad as things are, they would have been much worse with a tax increase.  Bush refused to do that, and we all owe him a debt of gratitude.

Meanwhile, he gives his thoughts on Presidential evaluations throughout history. 

We tend to forget how much perceptions of presidents can change with time.  Andrew Jackson was largely beloved when he left office in 1837; today the verdict on his two terms is mixed at best.  In 1849, James Knox Polk would leave office having accomplished each of his major objectives in one term, yet he is largely remembered more for helping destroy the country (by forcing a discussion of slavery in the Mexican conquest) than by enlarging it (just about everything west of the Rockies was acquired during his presidency).  Calvin Coolidge went from formidable to forgotten.  Even FDR, for years untouchable among historians, is coming under harsher review from those with some economic training for New Deal policies that are increasingly looking useless and even counterproductive.

Other presidents have seen their stature rise over time.  John Adams has been on a two-century long rehabilitation; his son regained is hallowed reputation while he was still alive (albeit for actions after his Administration).  Harry Truman’s reputation grew with every year after he left office.  His successor (Eisenhower) saw his reputation rise until his death in 1969, after which it began a glide downward.

Check out the rest of the post for D.J’s early thoughts on how history will judge Former President Bush.

Fare thee Well, Mr. President; Welcome, Mr. President

January 21, 2009 1 comment

Regardless of your political affiliation, you cannot deny the historical gravity of today’s events. Very few places on earth have seen a non-violent transfer of power throughout its entire history (whether the secession of the southern states was a direct repudiation of Abraham Lincoln’s election or the formation of a new nation formed upon opposition to it), and inauguration day, regardless of the winner of the election, should be viewed with awe and respect. But let us remember that this is indeed a transfer of power, not a taking of it, so respect is due to both players.

Thank you, Former President Bush, for your eight years of service. I voted for you in 2004, and while I certainly have some major qualms about your presidency and fear that it will forever be tainted by some of your decisions, I thank you for your service and amazing sacrifice and for keeping our nation free of domestic threats. 

Congratulations to you, President Obama. Although I did not support you during the election and continue to have major disagreements with your proposed policies, this is your day. You are my commander-in-chief, and I pledge to discuss and oppose, and when warranted, support, your policies with respect for you and the high office which you hold. 

Bush Commutes Compean and Ramos Sentences

January 20, 2009 Leave a comment

At the 11th hour of his Presidency, George W. Bush has commuted the prison sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. While their story did get much attention in mainstream media circles, the fight for their freedom has become a rallying cry for conservatives over the last few years. The two men were sentenced to over 10 years for shooting a convicted drug smuggler as he fled from a van packed with marijuana. AP Reports:

Compean and Ramos were convicted of shooting admitted drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete Davila in the buttocks as he fled across the Rio Grande, away from an abandoned van load of marijuana. He remains in a low-security prison in Fort Worth, Texas.

The border agents claimed at their trials that they believed the smuggler was armed and that they shot him in self defense. The prosecutor in the case, a U.S. attorney who was appointed by Bush in 2001, said there was no evidence linking the smuggler to the van of marijuana. The prosecutor also said the border agents didn’t report the shooting and tampered with evidence by picking up several spent shell casings.

White House officials said Bush didn’t pardon the men for their crimes, but commuted their sentences because he believed they were excessive and that they had already suffered the loss of their jobs, freedom and reputations.

Bush’s legacy will be extremely mixed not only amongst the general public but amongst conservatives well, particularly on the issues of immigration and government growth. However, this final move is at least a small nod in the direction of the importance of law and order in keeping our borders secure.