Monday, December 12, 2011
Well, it's been a while since I last put up a post here. You'll have to forgive me for not writing for a long time. This internet thingee looks like a graveyard where blogs go to die. 'Course, where else are they gonna go, right?
It's already been three years since I left office and Laura and I have been enjoying our time off, watching our kids grow up and having their own lives out of the proverbial spotlight. What have I done in the meantime, besides golfing, tending to the ranch and playing tickle-tag with Laura in the kitchen?
Well, I wrote a book. Called it Decision Points, talked about all the important milestones that got me to where I am today. Now, I have to admit something. I was quite taken aback by the mountain of criticism it received. Some reviewers went so far as to calling me out on my 'revisionist' ramblings, my willful disregard of the facts, my voluntary blindness in the face of overwhelming evidence that contradicted my views of the world at the time of my administration and how we handled Iraq and Afghanistan.
I have no idea what these folks have been rambling about. And frankly, I'm not interested in finding out.
I recorded a very frank and honest account of my thinking and the thinking of my advisers at the time and I can state with a clear conscience that I did what was right. Might not have been easy. Might not have been popular. Pretty much the opposite. But I sleep at night. History will vindicate me. You just wait and see.
As for my successor, President Obama, some of my closer acquaintances have asked me to evaluate the job he's done so far. However, it's not in the tradition of former presidents to speak out publicly about their successors. Presidenting's hard. I should know.
On the record, I like Barack. Our meetings over the course of the transition were amicable and actually pretty friendly. Out on the stump, he was tough on my administration, as expected. But off the field, we were chummy and got along. Even played a quick pick-up game of Scrabble with the First Ladies. Barack kept warning me not to make up words and spellings like 'nuculear'. He was kidding, of course. Everyone knows it's pronounced that way.
But it's hard running the country. I was a bit miffed when Jimmy Carter called me out during the Democrat–oops, Democratic–nominating convention. That just ain't kosher. But I'm not about to rake Barack over the coals. Every person who holds this office needs time to prove themselves over the long term.
Let me just say, though, that he's got his work cut out for him. My dad ultimately failed to win re-election because of the bad economy. President Obama's facing the same challenge, so he's caught between the eight ball and a hard rock. The American public gets to having a perception of what they think you as President can and cannot do, fairly or unfairly, and your fortunes are tied more to their mood than the facts. And again. I should know.
So my friend Barack's got some big shoes to climb and he needs to get his ducks counted before they're hatched because the fox will be there, in charge of the hen house when the cows come home to roost. You all know what I'm driving at.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I'm not ashamed of my faith. I believe it helps inform me when I make important decisions, but not in a way my critics say they do. I can certainly distinguish between basing my decisions on universal values and imposing my personal religious beliefs. I am careful not to do the latter. Of that, my conscience is clear.
This has been a remarkable year. It marks the closing of this administration and the dawning of a new era with the election of an African-American to the highest office in the land. I've made a great deal of criticisms of President-Elect Obama's policies, but that in no way means that I am not proud of the fact that we have come such a long way in our struggle as a nation to deal with the darkest parts of our past. On the contrary, I am filled with renewed hope for our country that we can move forward to seek justice and find the promise of freedom available to every one of our citizens. It is historic and it is a source of pride. I wish him, his wife Michelle and their daughters a pleasant sojourn in this great House as Barack Obama leads our nation.
In the meantime, I'm going to wish anyone reading this a very pleasant holiday season and a very Merry Christmas and to pray for peace in our lifetimes for the sake of our children.
Now it's time to do some serious scarfing down of Laura's Christmas cookies. I've already ordered several gallons of milk to the residence. Say goodbye to the belt.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
People have asked me about my reaction to the shoe-tossing incident. And I always answer basically in the same way: it ain't as bad as all that.
Now I'm not ignorant enough to deny the fact that exposing someone to the bottom of a shoe is an insult of the utmost hatred in middle eastern cultures. Think flipping the bird times ten. But I'll tell you what. I'd rather a person come at me, face to face, and express their beef with me than to go sneaking around anonymously denigrating my name and reputation undercover. Don't get me wrong. People are entitled to their opinions and that's their democratic right. I'd just prefer a person have the guts to face me when they want to cuss me out.
I didn't take that man's shoe toss personally. He doesn't know me and I don't know him. He obviously is upset about a lot of things that he believes I'm responsible for and I truly am sorry that he feels that way. I've only acted in what I believe to be in the best interest of democracy and freedom and progress for the people of Iraq. If he felt otherwise, there were other ways to show it. Assaulting the President is not a legitimate form of protest. But I harbor no ill will for that man.
The whole shoe thing's become a big deal, apparently, especially on the web. A little shocking for me, but I've been through worse. A whole lot worse. This was no biggie for me in the end.
It's gonna take a lot more than a couple of shoes to shake this guy down.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
I have a bad feeling about what will happen to my good friend and apparent Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, come November.
He’s received an endorsement from the Reverend John Hagee. With all due respect to our good friend and pastor, he is, right now, exactly the wrong guy we need. Despite all his good works and intentions, people see him as some apocalyptical fruitcake. Laura doesn’t think too much of him, to say the least (that’s what happens when you’re as literate as she is). And he does come off as anti-Catholic and a bit of a zealot when it comes to Israel. Well, let’s be honest and admit that he’s a distinct liability to the McCain campaign.
And now everyone is back-pedaling, refusing to comment on the endorsement. John’s people are saying nothing and even the Reverend has refused requests from the press to talk about it. There’s some embarrassing damage control going on here and it’s making the GOP look terrible (as if we really needed the help right now).
This whole Hagee debacle has made the Obama-Wright controversy look like a Sunday school picnic by comparison.
My only consolation is that I’m out of this whole campaigning racket and sticking to just running the country till I finish up my part in January. I’ve done what I could to rally our troops around John’s candidacy. Now it’s up to the American people to look past all this fracas and judge the man on his leadership and experience and not the yahoos he hangs around with.
Best of luck, John. You’re gonna need it.
Monday, April 7, 2008
I’ve just returned from my meetings with various European leaders and I must admit a vague sense of frustration as I’ve made our case for creating greater security in that part of the world, but it seems that there’s a great deal of reluctance on the part of the national leaders over there.
First, there’s the whole reticence over allowing the Ukraine entrance into NATO. I talked about that earlier.
Then there was my meeting with Mr. Putin.
Vladimir was a gracious host, and despite our differences, we were able to have a good time. I cut a rug as usual with the locals and I tell ya, I really don’t care anymore that people make fun of the way I dance. I’m doing it for the fun now. And it’s the only time the press lays off the cutting criticism which they so love to do these days.
Anyhoo, I’ve been trying as hard as possible to convince Vlad that the planned defense shield is not meant as an offense against Russia. Like I’ve said, we don’t have a bone to pick with them anymore. We won the Cold War. Our real target is Iran.
Try as I might, there didn’t seem to be any convincing Vlad that this is the real threat we are facing. That’s the thing about Europeans. They’re all still living like it’s 1945. Or 1963. Or 1985. Or whatever. We’re in a different world. It’s post-9/11. We have new threats on our doorstep and it’s time to act.
Right now, I’m just glad I can finally eat solid, American food. Those cabbage rolls just don’t know if they’re coming or going. Big Macs are on me.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
We’re enjoying our time here in the Ukraine. Viktor has been a gracious host. But I’m trying to politely stay away from the cabbage rolls because of the obvious side effects on my sensitive colon (if you know what I mean).
I’ve been forced to borrow someone else’s computer because of something that happened to my current laptop. I believe it’s a Dell Precision Mobile, something the guys in the White House IT gave me. Anyhoo, this thing is giving me major problems. I keep handing it to them to fix and they keep sending it back. I ain’t no technological wunderkind (that’s a fancy word for ‘expert’), so I’m leaving it up to the professionals. However, they keep getting stumped.
They keep apologizing and telling me they’ll get a new one, but I just use it mostly for blogging, so I don’t want them to sweat it too much.
Apparently, the last time I used my Dell, I got this blue screen. ‘Blue Screen of Death’, the IT guys call it. Sounds morbid, but I take it that’s a sure sign that my laptop is in bad shape. That may be a good excuse for me to drop this whole blogging thing, because it’s not easy to come up with something interesting to say everyday. I’m sure Chase will insist on me sticking with it. Being Commander-In-Chief just doesn’t mean what I’d like it to mean when deciding on what I feel like doing and what I ought to do. Just ask my wife. Commander-In-Chief don’t mean diddly at dinner time, I tell you. But God bless her, anyway.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Looks like I’m the lone wolf again.
My good friend, Viktor Yushchenko, wants Ukraine to join NATO and I’m all for it. We’re keeping our eyes on the Middle East, specifically Iran, and Europe is right next door. If we can get Ukraine into NATO, we’ll be building a bloc of military support in that region that will help us hold back any threat from the Middle East (I’m looking at you, Amahdinejad).
Problem now is that the rest of the NATO members are leery about accepting the Ukraine into the fold because Putin and the Russians are dead set against it. With all due respect to my comrades in the former (and I mean ‘former’) Soviet Union, memories of these antiquated cold war rivalries have got to fade from view. Our beef isn’t with Russia anymore. We’re trying to secure the Middle East. Western Europe doesn’t want to ruffle any feathers with the Russians to help in future negotiations over who-knows-what. This is some kind of twenty-first century detente that I don’t believe we need to revisit. These folks out here have to catch up with current events.
The cold war is over. We won. Let’s move on.
By the way, my computer’s getting all wonky on me. I need to speak to Chase, my techno guru, and see if he can help me out. I’m beginning to lose patience. here.
Anyhoo, it’s just another day at the office.