Monday, December 12, 2011

Evaluating Obama


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.