Friday, January 16, 2009

Don't let the door hit ya....

Last night, George Bush reflected a bit on the Age of Duh:

Fellow citizens: For eight years, it has been my honor to serve as your president. The first decade of this new century has been a period of consequence – a time set apart. Well, yes it has, Georgie. I like to call it The Age Of Duh. But, uh, you do know that 8 years is not a decade, right?

Tonight, with a thankful heart, I have asked for a final opportunity to share some thoughts on the journey that we have traveled together and the future of our Nation.

Five days from now, the world will witness the vitality of American democracy. In a tradition dating back to our founding, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people. Not the Supreme Court? Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose story reflects the enduring promise of our land. This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole Nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-elect Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two beautiful girls. Good luck, sorry about the mess!

Tonight I am filled with gratitude – to Vice President Cheney The Puppetmaster! and members of the Administration; to Laura, who brought joy to this house and love to my life; to our wonderful daughters, Barbara and Jenna; to my parents, whose examples have provided strength for a lifetime. And above all, I thank the American people for the trust you have given me. Trust?

I thank you for....the prayers that have lifted my spirits. And I thank you for the countless acts of courage, generosity, and grace that I have witnessed these past eight years.

This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house – September 11, 2001. You had a real chance there, George. You could have been a hero, the man who pulled this country together, and helped heal this country. Instead, you USED this horrible tragedy to further your own political agenda. How do you sleep at night? That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor. I remember standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center three days later, surrounded by rescuers who had been working around the clock.

I remember talking to brave souls who charged through smoke-filled corridors at the Pentagon and to husbands and wives whose loved ones became heroes aboard Flight 93. I remember Arlene Howard, who gave me her fallen son’s police shield as a reminder of all that was lost. And I still carry his badge. You aren't even fit to touch it.

As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before Nine-Eleven. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our Nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe. Like alienating our allies and starting a war? Or by carving out vast chunks of our civil liberties in the name of fear?

Over the past seven years, a new Department of Homeland Security has been created. The military, the intelligence community, and the FBI have been transformed. Our Nation is equipped with new tools to monitor the terrorists’ movements, freeze their finances, and break up their plots. And if those tools can be used against innocent citizens as well, that's just gravy. And with strong allies at our side, we have taken the fight to the terrorists and those who support them. Um, yeah, about that...your friends said to tell you they were real sorry, but they had to go home.

Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al Qaeda and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school. "We have no strategic plan. We never had one," a senior U.S. military commander said of the (war in Afghanistan during the) Bush years. - The Washington Post

Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the United States.

There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results. So we agree that everything you've done has been a disaster then.

America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. You can't seriously be taking credit for this.

This is a tribute to those who toil night and day and night to keep us safe – law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. Yeah, those folks probably don't spend months out of every year on vacation.

Our Nation is blessed to have citizens who volunteer to defend us in this time of danger. I have cherished meeting these selfless patriots and their families. America owes you a debt of gratitude. And to all our men and women in uniform listening tonight: There has been no higher honor than serving as your Commander in Chief. I like playing Army man.

The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God and that liberty and justice light the path to peace. To clarify, we're the second one?

This is the belief that gave birth to our Nation. And in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens. When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror. They just have to suffer with them after Florida drops the ball...

When people have hope in the future, they will not cede their lives to violence and extremism. Cue the Patriot Act.

So around the world, America is promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity. Everywhere but here?

We are standing with dissidents and young democracies, providing AIDS medicine to bring dying patients back to life, and sparing mothers and babies from malaria. But no health care for the poor in our own country.

And this great republic born alone in liberty is leading the world toward a new age when freedom belongs to all nations. Freedom to be Christian Democracies, that is.

For eight years, we have also strived to expand opportunity and hope here at home.

Across our country, students are rising to meet higher standards in public schools. By spending more class time studying for more standardized tests, and less actually learning. A new Medicare prescription drug benefit is bringing peace of mind to seniors and the disabled. Nothing brings peace of mind like more confusing forms! Every taxpayer pays lower income taxes. Especially our struggling billionaire class.

The addicted and suffering are finding new hope through faith-based programs. Vulnerable human life is better protected. Funding for our veterans has nearly doubled. Does this mean they fixed the toilets at Walter Reed? America’s air, water, and lands are measurably cleaner. At least, that's what the industrial lobbyists tell me, and they wouldn't lie. And the Federal bench includes wise new members like Justice Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts. Because one opinion is better than 9 opinions.

When challenges to our prosperity emerged, we rose to meet them. Say it with me - D_E_R_E_G_U_L_A_T_I_O_N! The fox can guard the hen house! Facing the prospect of a financial collapse, we took decisive measures to safeguard our economy. We gave more money to to the Wall Street guys who got us into this mess! These are very tough times for hardworking families, but the toll would be far worse if we had not acted. All Americans are in this together. Like we were all in it together after Hurricane Katrina? And together, with determination and hard work, we will restore our economy to the path of growth. We will show the world once again the resilience of America’s free enterprise system. Maybe what we need is a new path. How's the idea "Pay as you go" grab ya?

Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Mastering basic English, being nice to foreigners, remembering reporter's names....Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. As they were made clear to me during my weekly briefing/puppet shows with Dick Cheney. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions. And you never let facts or scruples stand in your way.

The decades ahead will bring more hard choices for our country, and there are some guiding principles that should shape our course. Oh, please, do share your sage advice with us.

While our Nation is safer than it was seven years ago, the gravest threat to our people remains another terrorist attack. Maybe so, now that you're leaving...that does bump them up the list by one. Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again. America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. For once, I agree. We got complacent during the abundance of the Clinton administration and let you and your cronies slither into power. Can't make that mistake again. We must keep our resolve. Agreed! And we must never let down our guard. Thanks for the reminder!

At the same time, we must continue to engage the world with confidence and clear purpose. Did you mean Contempt and Philistinism? In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Tell that to the immigrants being jailed and deported. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. I hear empire-building. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led. Hear that, "strong allies"?

As we address these challenges – and others we cannot foresee tonight – America must maintain our moral clarity. No homos! I have often spoken to you about good and evil. I love that movie! John Cusack is a genius! This has made some uncomfortable. Right, I forgot there were homos in that movie. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere.

Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. Oppressed and despairing, that perfectly describes my feelings after the 2004 election. This Nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace. Are we fighting for peace again?

President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” He also said, "A Democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." As I leave the house he occupied two centuries ago, I share that optimism. America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead.
More Jeffersonian goodness - "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them. "

I have confidence in the promise of America because I know the character of our people. This is a Nation that inspires immigrants to risk everything for the dream of freedom. This is a Nation where citizens show calm in times of danger and compassion in the face of suffering. We see examples of America’s character all around us. And Laura and I have invited some of them to join us in the White House this evening.
Here occurs the funniest bit of the whole piece. He has about 5 black people in the room, and he has them all in one row. I'm serious. Look close, in front of him.

(omitted text. here, he talks about his new black friends)

In citizens like these, we see the best of our country – resilient and hopeful, caring and strong. These virtues give me an unshakable faith in America. We have faced danger and trial, and there is more ahead. But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great Nation will never tire … never falter … and never fail.

It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this Nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other: citizen of the United States of America.

And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God bless this house and our next President. And may God bless you and our wonderful country. Thank you."
Those are very stirring are these: "That public virtue which among the ancients was denominated patriotism, is derived from a strong sense of our own interest in the preservation and prosperity of the free government of which we are members. Such a sentiment, which had rendered the legions of the republic almost invincible, could make but a very feeble impression on the mercenary servants of a despotic prince; and it became necessary to supply that defect by other motives, of a different, but not less forcible nature; honour and religion." - Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire


  1. KP Love skeptical baby! I laugh everytime I look at the little guy. Perfect! ~Pip

  2. I believe you, but skeptical baby isn't so sure...