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So Long...

Boarding Executive One for his final aerial spin around the city he dominated for eight tumultuous years, George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, looked as relieved to leave Washington as those gathered on the Mall were to see him go. After coming into office with a budget surplus and peace in 2000, he's leaving office with an economy in free fall and two wars (one of necessity, one of choice); I found his impatience for this day to arrive to be off-putting and, dare I say, insulting to a nation enduring the consequences.

Despite all this, I have not been surprised by the extraordinary grace Bush showed the new president and first lady from the moment Barack Obama was elected to the moment he and Mrs. Bush waved goodbye one last time from the helicopter. Mr. Bush is a man of great warmth and humor, of kindness that most didn't get to see. Only history will judge whether the failures of his presidency will permanently obscure the affable man who did what he thought was in the best interests of the people he led.

Bush was enormously impressed with Obama. During the primary season, he understood the power of the man who would eventually succeed him. Since that November day when the nation signed the lease of the White House over to the Democratic candidate, Bush has been a gentleman. True to his patrician roots. And respectful of the office of the president and the man who now occupies it. That's the image of Bush I'll try to remember tomorrow as Obama starts to unravel the mess of problems he inherited today.

By Jonathan Capehart  | January 20, 2009; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

"After coming into office with a budget surplus and peace in 2000..."

He didn't come "in" until 2001.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | January 20, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Maybe its wonderful to you that Bush is kind and affable in private. That certainly was never the impression I got from his public persona. He has left no stone unturned in his effort to derail our democracy, our economy, our environment, our federal agencies, our world standing, etc., etc. He has destroyed too much to ever give him a pass because he likes fart jokes and gives out funny nicknames. I'm sure Mussilini and Franco were alot of fun, too.

Posted by: catsmom | January 20, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Posted by: leew261 | January 20, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The previous posts show the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans have grace, while Democrats continue to make abusive comments, comparing a past President with Mussolini(this is the correct spelling), Franco, and rubbish. In the past Presidents were treated with respect.
It's time for the children to pick up their toys and try to be adult.

Posted by: dlrdmd | January 20, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, many reporters and columnists of this publication and news service have shown far more eagerness in their columns, drilling questions, and articles to be rid of Bush shortly after he was re-elected to a second term. Dan Froomkin tossed up the ideas of Lame-duck presidency and impeachment in 2005 and early 2006 as one example. And the drumbeat just grew louder and louder from here and other media outlets ever since. And attached to that drumbeat was the buildup of the most vulgar, obnoxious, and beligerent internet commentary against the president and his staff that the world has ever seen. Through all of this negative wave of feelings, former President Bush tried so hard to stay above the fray, and not respond to personal political attacks.
And even on this day, I have seen so many comments across the internet that wishes ill of Cheney when he was seen in a wheel chair this morning.

I thought this was supposed to be about changing Washington for the better.... but instead I am seeing even today boorish juvenile behavior on display over and over again. If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all. Doesn't that phrase ring a bell to anyone???

Posted by: alutz08 | January 20, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Bush's remaining enablers seem to live in an alternate reality. He kept us safe? From what? He slept throughout his long vacation in August 2001 as the attacks that struck on 9/11 were hatched. While lounging in Crawford, he was given an intelligence report reading "Al Qaeda's Plans to attack Targets in the United States." He gave it back to the briefer, without reading it, saying "you covered your ass." So much for keeping us safe! A poorly trained chimp could have done a better job.

Posted by: osullivanc1 | January 20, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

This is a finely balanced op-ed. Bush is not simply evil nor simply idiotic. It's a shame that a person would even need to say that about a departing president, and the need was created by Mr. Bush's execution of his office. As Capehart points out, though, Bush was never better than in his gracefully showing the world how an out of favor USA politician turns over his office to the people's choice.

Posted by: officermancuso | January 20, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

How is Obama going to achive his goals when so many of his (so-called) supporters are consumed with hate and bitotry? Let it go and get with the program of fixing this country. It's going to take hard work people. No free rides.

Posted by: MarxBro | January 21, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Thank You for hitting the nail on the head. I have been a lonely minority voice in making the distinction of Bush that you have eloquently written here. I was offended yesterday on the mall as I stood with my 3 year old filled with great pride about the man about to be sworn in. It saddened me to have that moment marred by the crowd booing the outgoing president. I find the mess we are in frightening as a country, and Bush has much culpability for that. However, I think the message of our new president reinforced the need for us as a country to respect the office of the presidency, regardless of the opinions of the man who holds the office. Had people fell silent when Bush was announced that would have been fine, to boo him to me was an insult to the country.

Posted by: dpvny3411 | January 21, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The previous posts show the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans have grace, while Democrats continue to make abusive comments, comparing a past President with Mussolini(this is the correct spelling), Franco, and rubbish. In the past Presidents were treated with respect.
It's time for the children to pick up their toys and try to be adult.

Posted by: dlrdmd
********************
How hard did you hit your little head on the pavement? You have got to be absolutely fcuking kidding me....Republicans gracious... BWAHAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAAAA!!!!!!! You must have slept through most of the year based on that comment.

Posted by: LABC | January 21, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I, too, am taken aback by the ungraciousness of many commentors. It's a shame this country has come to this. The left need not worry: They will get their turn as the old Federalists are now in power. Have some class and allow the 43rd President to retire gracefully. And in the future, might I suggest some courses in history and economics before you cast stones...

Posted by: brigsy1 | January 22, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

The previous posts show the difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans have grace, while Democrats continue to make abusive comments, comparing a past President with Mussolini(this is the correct spelling), Franco, and rubbish. In the past Presidents were treated with respect.
It's time for the children to pick up their toys and try to be adult.

-------
I guess you slept through the Clinton administration. And you never listen to right-wing talk radio.

Posted by: baltimoremom | January 22, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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