Sunday, January 18, 2009

Don't misunderestimate Bush, or misoverestimate Obama

If I were a US citizen, I would have voted for Obama - even though I believe John McCain would have made a better President. I would also have voted Obama if his opponent had been George Bush. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the sheer wonder of the United States electing a black President, and what this tells the world about the American people is just so 'awesome' (as many of them might say) as to be irresistible. And secondly, the election of Obama will create a much more positive attitude towards the US from outside her borders.

But the aspect of this handover of power that really grates is the arrogant dismissal of the achievements of George Bush. Oh how we laugh at his verbal gaffes. Most people's favourite is "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking of new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we". This is nothing new. The British 'intelligentsia' also laughed at Ronald Reagan - dismissed him as a B movie actor. And they positively howled with derision at the lack of political hinterland carried by Sarah Palin. Personally, I care not how academically 'clever' a leader is. What matters is the ability to employ the right advice, and good judgement about when to take it. That's why Reagan was such a brilliant President.

Let's look at Bush's record. The attack on the US on September 11th 2001 was the defining event of his Presidency. Most of us would have expected another attack of some sort during the last eight years, but it hasn't happened. I believe that history will record this as a great achievement. Irrespective of opinion about the wisdom of invading Iraq, and post invasion failures, the current reality is that a brutal dictator, who murdered his own people and others in huge numbers has been eliminated and Iraq seems to be heading towards becoming a modern democracy. And all that mockery about knowing and caring so little about the world outside of the US. Even his political enemies concede that he has done more to tackle African poverty than any previous President. All I'm saying is that there's an upside to George W Bush as well. So we should spit into the eye of Britain's Foreign Secretary, David Miliband as he rubbishes George Bush during his last few days in office - waiting until he was certain that he wouldn't have to meet him again.

So its over to Barak Obama. In my opinion he's given himself too much to live up to by presenting himself as the new Abraham Lincoln. This is what he is supposed to have said when he won the Democratic nomination "I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs for the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last best hope on earth". Even Blair at his most hubristic would have hesitated before going so far. But never has a President taken office with greater goodwill and a desire that he should be successful. I bought one of those yellow 'Yes we can' T-shirts in an an auction, and I intend to wear on Tuesday.


Alison said...

Glyn - you mean September 11th, 2001.

Glyn Davies said...

Alison - Sooo grateful. I've edited it. My very own Bush-ism.

Jim said...

Obama is the man for challenge. I like him. I believe if he doesnt come with the solutions world need, no one can!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn> It's going to be a BIG BUST!

My office staff were trying to figure out on Friday if they can make it into work today (Monday, Jan 19, 2009) even though the Inauguration isn't until Tuesday).

We are worried that the parking lot will be choked with abandoned cars - people might have to get out and walk to a metro stop. Some of the metro stops will be shut down - the Smithsonian stop in the middle of the National Mall will probably be sealed off.

I live in the "DC fall-out-zone" off Columbia Pike (the road that the "911" airliner-hijacker followed to crash into the Pentagon building) ... the Secret Service are closing the area down. Columbia Pike, Route 50, 395 Interstate (the bit that goes over the river into DC) and zillions of other roads will be shut down.

The tail backs from people driving in from other states will likely be wild. There's going to be people stuck on the freeways watching the show on their mobiles/wireless devices. It's going to be a BUST!

But the millions that make it will be able to tell their grandkids - I was there! I was there! I saw the first African American President sworn in!

It's GOING TO BE A BUST! And I mean that in a nice way!


Obama for President!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Sorry Glyn, I think I just posted to the wrong thread/story ... oh well, BUT IT'S GOING TO BE A BIG BUST - BUST AHOY! (Re: Obama's Inauguration).

And it doesn't matter how one voted - grateful Americans all recognize and respect the people's choice for their next President. Both sides fully support and hope for Obama. And I mean those words: "Hope for Obama". We all, me included as I am a Welsh-American (dual citizen), Hope Obama! We need our new President to be successful, to pull out all the stops to put the American economy (and the rest of the world with it) back on track. The alternative is too grizzly to contemplate.

Glyn Davies said...

Jim - You and most of the world.

Christopher - And all I've got is a T-shirt to wear! Neevr has a President taken office with so much goodwill. Next week, there's Gaza, Afghanistan, Iran and the economy to deal with.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

I should clarify - the roads leading into DC will be closed to general traffic - hence the bridges across the river between Arlington and DC will be sealed except for the obvious exceptions (emergency vehicles, Secret Service, politicians (in Limos), bus-taxis, etc.). I guess Route 66 at the DC end will be closed to general traffic (yes, the famous Route 66 starts in Arlington/DC).