12 January 2009

Bush's last press conference

I haven't actually watched or listened to a Bush press conference all the way through for some time, but I did catch almost all of his last one this morning.

James Fallows, quoted by David Kurtz in TPM, wrote of it:

I think even people who oppose the Bush Administration's policies would find it somewhat harder to dislike him viscerally after this performance -- rather than getting angrier the more they see him, as with most of his appearances over these last eight years.

Kurtz said he didn't agree with this, and I don't entirely either, but there was something valedictory, or perhaps better to say elegiac, in Bush's last gasp. Like Cheney, he was more clueless and incapable of comprehension of the whole picture than truly malicious, perhaps. And, as Fallows said just before this concluding remark, he does seem to grasp on some level that he has been a failure. (Not that he says so in so many words, but there are signs). Hatred towards Bush has always been just wasted energy, but now even righteous anger seems spent: it's more a sense of very deep disappointment and resignation at the damage he's done.

And with the news that the Bush administration last year did deflect an Israeli request for refueling planes and bunker buster bombs so they could launch an attack on Iran, we can breathe a small sigh of relief, and give some slight credit, that it could indeed have been worse.

Of course, all this is also colored by the hope for, and sense that we simply must give the benefit of all doubt to, the incoming administration. Our country's problems, internal and external, are so serious that any feeling of anger towards Bush seems irrelevant and inappropriate. Personally, I wish him well in retirement. I don't really care if in reflection he comes to see his role in history differently; it's unlikely he will. I am very, very glad to see him go, but I also take him at his word that he wishes Obama well, because we do need to pull together as a nation and try our very hardest to deal positively with the challenges that face us. It appears to me that even George Bush appreciates this.

Update: Both Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow had very much more negative takes on Bush's presser than I did. I think this may be because I was listening to, not watching, most of it. When I saw all those smirks and moues in the clips, it was pretty annoying.

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