Archive for the ‘grace’ Category

Bush handing over power to Obama with grace

November 11, 2008

No matter how people remember President Bush’s time in office, let there be no doubt about how he wants to end it: gracefully.

By BEN FELLER, Associated Press Writer

Never mind that Democrat Barack Obama spent all that time deriding Bush for “failed policies,” or mocking him for hiding in an “undisclosed location” because he was too unpopular to show up with his party’s own candidate, John McCain. This is transition time. Outgoing presidents support the new guy.

And on that front, Bush is going well beyond the minimum. He has embraced the role of statesman with such gusto that it has been hard to miss.

The result is that Bush’s last image at the White House will be one of a magnanimous leader. Whether it will improve his legacy is another matter.

“This has been a very good moment late in his presidency, and, I think it’s fair to say, much appreciated by the nation,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University, the home of Bush’s planned presidential library.

On Monday at the White House, Bush warmly welcomed Obama, whose dominant win last week was largely seen as a referendum on the Bush years.

The two leaders spent more than an hour discussing domestic and foreign policy in the Oval Office. And then Bush gave Obama a personal tour all around.

The world saw video images that were replayed all day and night: Bush and first lady Laura Bush greeting Obama and his wife, Michelle, as if they were old friends; Bush strolling with the president-elect along the famous Colonnade adjacent to the Rose Garden, both men waving and smiling.

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President Elect Obama and “Survivor” McCain: A Personal Reflection

November 5, 2008

I needed a taxi in Virgina’s election night darkness and rain, and was delighted to meet an Ethiopian-American driver.  He told me his name, translated from Amarigna, meant “Strength.”  His Christian or baptismal name is John — the same as my name.

I told the driver that I had been in meetings all afternoon and well past dark and that I didn’t know anything about the election returns.  He said his car radio was dead — and then fished an old transister radio from his pocket and gleefully showed me how he was keeping involved in the historic election.

“Strength” said he had voted for the first time yesterday and that “America is such a wonderful place….”  He said in Ethiopia, Russia, China and many other lands there are all sorts of elections but that “ruling leaders know the outcome before the vote….”

I also heard from many John McCain supporters, including my friends who lived with him inside the Hanoi Hilton and some of McCain’s Naval Academy classmates.  One congratulated me and said, “John has always served with grace and aplomb and courage — and conducted himself as a gentleman.  You saw this and reported it when all other media treated him badly….”

I call McCain “Survivor” because of his near-death experience during the great fire that killed 134 aboard USS Forrestal and for his strength and determination inside the Hanoi Hilton.  My own wife suffered some of the same torture that McCain endured so we count him as a brother and fellow “Survivor.”

The campaign was exciting and now the real work begins.  We wish President Elect Obama and all who will assit him the best….We seek now unity and the national good….

John McCain's capture

Above: This Oct. 26, 1967, photo from the Library of Congress shows Navy fighter pilot John McCain, center, being captured by Vietnamese civilians in Truc Bach Lake near Hanoi.

Hey, liberals, chill out….The Republic will survive

November 3, 2008

My liberal friends have been hard to live with for years: calling George W. Bush things like “the chimp.”  We conservatives are a little more restrained and sane.  My father used to say, “The Republic will survive.”  And so it is with me and my friend William Kristol…

Barack Obama will probably win the 2008 presidential election. If he does, we conservatives will greet the news with our usual resolute stoicism or cheerful fatalism. Being conservative means never being too surprised by disappointment.

But what if John McCain pulls off an upset?

I’m worried about my compatriots on the left. Michael Powell reports in The New York Times that even the possibility of an Obama defeat has driven many liberals into in a state of high anxiety.

And then there’s a young woman from Denver who “told her boyfriend that their love life was on hold while she sweated out Mr. Obama’s performance in Colorado.” Well, what if Obama loses Colorado? Or the presidency?

As a compassionate conservative, I’m concerned about the well-being of that boyfriend – and of others who might be similarly situated. I feel an obligation to help.

So let me tell liberals why they should be cheerful if McCain happens to win.

1. It would be a victory for an underdog. Liberals are supposed to like underdogs. McCain is a lonely guy standing up against an unprecedentedly well-financed, superorganized, ExxonMobil-like Obama juggernaut. A McCain upset victory would be a classic liberal happy ending.

2. It would be a defeat for the establishment. Obama’s most recent high-profile Republican endorser was Washington insider Kenneth Duberstein. Liberals should be on the side of hard-working plumbers, not big-shot lobbyists – oops, sorry, big-shot strategic advisers and consultants. And Duberstein said that Colin Powell’s endorsement was “the Good Housekeeping seal of approval on Barack Obama.” Doesn’t that comment embody everything that liberals (and many conservatives, including me) find creepy about smug establishment back-scratching and gatekeeping in America?

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