Friday, December 12, 2008

His burnished chariot

George Bush delivered the commencement address at Texas A&M university today. On what might seem like a busy day with the stalled car manufacturer bailout and the aftermath of bedlam in Iraq, he didn't seem that busy. He used the flight to do another Bush Legacy Project interview, this one with Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal.

But anyway, to the graduation speech itself. His first word was "Howdy". Back in 2000 or 2004, that alone would have been a worth a reporter profile noting how much of a real American he was compared to Al Gore or John Kerry.

On to substance, where he reviewed his presidency --

These days, I'm asked a lot about my time as President. Some days have been happy, some days not so happy -- every day joyous. It's been a tremendous privilege. I have traveled across our nation, and to 74 countries around the world. I have slept in Buckingham Palace; I have feasted in the desert of Abu Dhabi; I've watched the sunrise in Jerusalem. I have spoken to campaign rallies in packed stadiums, and to hundreds of thousands in Romania's Revolution Square. I've taken Marine One into America's biggest cities, and visited many of our smallest towns. Through it all, nothing has inspired me more than the character of the American people -- the acts of courage and service that sustain our free society, and make this the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)

So there you have it. He's been a VIP. He's led the high life. He's seen a million faces and he's rocked them all. That's what his presidency was about, in his mind. Wasn't there some other stuff that happened too?

One other thing. He closed with some advice for the graduates after empathizing with their uncertain job prospects ("I know how you feel") --

If you go home at night, look in the mirror and be satisfied that you have done what is right, you will pass the only test that matters. (Applause.)

Hasn't the world had some pretty bad people who would have passed this test?

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