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Bush Unguarded

By Tony Campbell - Posted on 12 January 2009

Revealing, Introspective, Gracious. Three attributes that are not usually attached to President George W. Bush were on display this morning at his final press conference. Bush showed a humble side of himself when talking about the Presidency, his love of the job, and sharing with the White House press corps the “disappointments” that he endured during his eight years at the helm of the country.

There are three moments that resonated with me:

1) Bush, at one point, was asked by a Fox News Reporter whether he would disagree with potential policy of President-elect Obama. Bush refused to take the bait. Instead, Bush defended the President-elect and later in the press conference reflected on the historic moment of Obama’s swearing-in saying that he would be in a unique position to see history made on January 20th.

2) Bush revealed a rare picture of his self-image when he talked about self-pity and the loneliness of the presidency. Bush talked about the presidential bubble and how Obama will deal with it well because of the love of his family. He assured the press corps, his detractors and the American people that he has been paying attention to their disagreements with his policies. However, securing the homeland was more important to him than being popular. Once again, his thoughts shifted to the next administration when Bush asked for Obama’s future detractors, from his own political party, to disagree with Obama but to do it with respect.

3) The disappointments - Katrina (where to land AF1), Mission Accomplished, Social Security (post-2004 campaign), not finding Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, Bush acknowledged the missteps of his presidency with a level of frankness that is rarely seen while the President is still residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

The unguarded Bush is a President that America voted for in 2000. This press conference showed a man who loves his country, values his family, and was honored to serve as the 43rd President of the United States. On Wednesday January 21st, citizen George W. Bush may wake up in Crawford and make his wife Laura a cup of coffee (and deliver it to her)… today, I got the feeling that Bush loved being President but will be just fine once the kleeg lights shift their focus on Barack Obama.

Excellent blog, Tony.  Thank you so much for your take on the press conference.  I had to miss it (since I'm at work).

He has received a great deal of bashing these past 8 years -- some justified, some not justified.  I have no doubt he loves this country, and the way he and Laura have handled the transition has done more to restore my faith in him as a human being than anything else could do.

I believe we should do the best we can to separate Bush as a human -- with strengths and weaknesses -- from Bush as POTUS. 


Comment abuse for a reason (posted by jupitor):
were are my post going? If I am not welcome to post here, just tell me and I will go alse where.

It's not you, nor is there a block. The comment software stashes later discussions to subsequent pages (I think the limit is 50 comments per page), but cannot move the page to the most recent post if that post is not on page 1. The reason why you think your posts aren't being accepted is because you're getting redirected to page 1 every time you use the comment box on the bottom. By the same token, it's nearly impossible to know if a non-page 1 discussion has been updated, because once you move to another page, the software thinks you've read the entire thread, which is clearly false.

It's annoying, but you'll need to search the discussion for your comments...


And there's no sense crying over every mistake
You just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake.

Too bad that among his reflections he didn't express regret for the Iraq War----a war of choice not necessity----and a disaster he chose to pursue voluntarily.    That will go down as one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in American history and ruin his legacy permanently.



 Many of us US Army veterans and current servers in all armed forces disagree with your statement very much. If you knew what was involved, and the lives at stake, you might understand that it was a war of necessity. IT still is. It's a shame many people fell prey to a liberal media that candy coated pre-war Iraq. It's a shame most people dont know the story of Saddam Husseins hatred of America, and his intent to destroy us. It's a shame people are unaware that Saddam actually executed his own son-in-law for what he called Betrayal!

 The saddest thing is most of America has been so busy bashing Bush about the war on terror, that they fail to mention we have not been attacked on our soil since 9/11. Too busy claiming the war is unwarranted to realize that the Armed forces along with federal and local law enforcement, have thwarted many attacks, because of information gained during this silly, stupid war.

 I know lives were lost in this war, and more are soon to follow the path to Arlington. But we will never know just how many lives were saved because of Stupid, silly George W Bush's unwanted and unwarranted war!

 I dont know about anyone else here, and to be honest, when it comes to this, I DONT CARE! But I am damn happy GW Bush went after terror the way he did. I am damn glad to have served under his administration in this war on terror. And I know I speak loudly for many of my military friends when I say that!

 Now you can attack his policies! And attack his appearance of stupididty. Attack what you want. But while you do that, you might want to thank him for attacking terror where it lives, so you can attack George Bush where you live!

"That will go down as one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in American history and ruin his legacy permanently"

You are likely correct Nightwinger, but it is too soon to give the final historical verdict about Bush and Iraq.

If Iraq turns out to be a long term stable democratic ally of the United States, then that would have a huge positive historical impact on the Middle East.

Although Bush will never be able to live down his failures on the economy and his response to Katrina, it is way too soon to say how history will judge Bush on his foreign policy. 

 Well said Brandon. I may not agree with Bush on much. But I definitely stnd behind his war on terror. And I promise you, that will be his legacy.

 Once again, think about how many attacks we have had on American soil since the War on Terror began. NONE!

ReaganFan, 2 very well done post. And does any one realize how hard it is to be perfect when a threat can come from any direction. Its not make believe, it is real, and it can be taken away. Somebody doing everything in his power to prevent that is "stupid"??

I just watched a video of the press conference. 

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with Tony.  Dubya is still the same arrogant, stubborn, and senseless pr*ck that he has been for, at least, the last 3 1/2 years.  He may have been open with the press, but he still maintained his swagger and disdain for anyone who might question his ineffective policies. 

I'm so glad that he is leaving and I hope I won't hear the media mention his name until his death is announced, at which point, I will celebrate.    

Yes America Can!  Yes America Did!


I agree with Chance! If it weren't for this bastard and his f***ed up war Wolf would still be alive! DAMMIT!!!!!!!!

 Celebrating someones death?

 Your mother must be proud!

Chance, no matter how much you disapprove of someone, can you honestly say you will celebrate the news of their death?  I have trouble comprehending that.

Personally, I wouldn't celebrate his death. I would much rather he be convicted as a war criminal, kept in solitary confinement, and fed only bread and water for the rest of his life. But no punishment will bring back the thousands of lives this man spent.

 I expected more from you. Like a little respect for a man who started a war on terror to keep you and your family safe. But whatever!

 Ever wonder how many lives were saved because this "war criminal" fought terror where it sleep?

 Take care Ron

Well if you expect me to not be appalled and horrified when innocents are killed thanks to a President and Administration that's supposed to represent me than your expectations are way off track.

WAIT! You are talking about the Clinton administration. My bad. When Bill Clinton dropped the ball on terrorism, I was dissapointed. When over 3,000 people died as a result, I was also appalled! I cant believe he said "NO" to them when they tried to hand over Bin Laden. In his defense, he was spending a lot of time and energy on an impeachment trial. ITs too bad that attack came on the next administration. Bush wasn't ready. He kinda crapped his pants!

 P.S. There is nothing innocent about the people shooting at our troops in the middle east. Dont believe Mr Moore!

 Ron. I know you are intelligent. I meant everything I said to Suzi about you. I just think you need to verify more! I do like you, although you ruffle my feathers now and then. Just do some homework. Seriously. I'm not trying to be sarcastic, mean, or anything. I encourage all people to do their homework. Ask Suzi! (cant get her to do any though. Slacker)

"P.S. There is nothing innocent about the people shooting at our troops in the middle east."

I didn't say the people shooting at troops are innocent, they aren't th epeople I'm talking about.

"Dont believe Mr Moore!"

Why do you keep mentioning Moore? And RF, instead of just telling people to do their homework why don't you provide some sources?


I keep mentioning moore, because whether you know it or not, you are almost quoting him word for word. Im sorry I falsely accused you of being a But you have no idea how much of what you say is extreme lib stuff.

 Now, tell me who the innocent people are, that you were referring to. (can ya tell Im from the midwest? Ending my sentences that way) How about. "To whom were you referring when speaking of innocent people?" (see? Im edumacated)

"Extreme lib stuff?" Are you denying that non-violent civilians have been killed as a result of the war? It's not a liberal or conservative issue.

 Easy Ron. I just asked a question. Who are you referring to? I am trying to figure out exactly what you are getting at.

 So, who are you referring to when you say "innocent people"?

I could be mistaken, but I think he is referring to the "collateral damage" as in Iraqui civilians. Just a guess.
I thought that would be obvious....
Sometimes you have to S-P-E-L-L it out for some.LOL!!

 Its exactly what I assumed you meant. However, over the past couple days too many assumptions led to heated disagreements and sometimes namecalling. I am trying to avoid that. Just like I will avoid people and heir rude remarks regarding my lack of intelligence because I need things S-P-E-L-L-E-D out for me.

 To remind you once again, I hate war, and all it entails. There is a term you have heard, I'm sure, called "casualties of war". Now I do not condone the killing of innocents, and anyone guilty of intent to kill, will be and should be tried for that crime. However, sometimes innocents die in war. Its a tragedy. I wont go into detail, no need to paint ugly pictures. War is ugly enough. But to talk about the innocent Iraqi people shows that you care about them. Why is it that you only care if innocent Iraqis die when America is involved. Before we went there, innocent Iraqis were dying often, and sometimes by the thousands at the hand of the dictator Saddam. Where you crying about the innocent Iraqis then Ron? Or is it your hatred for Bush compelling you to point the finger, ANY finger at him now because you disapprove?

 If we are truly gonna care about innocent Iraqis, then you should be rejoicing over this war. We have successfully liberated Iraq (although the war is not over) and the innocent Iraqis can now walk many streets unafraid. Since you care so much about innocent Iraqis, you should be singing Bushs praises.

 Just a thought!

P.S. What about the innocent people of America who died on a september day in 2001?

Suzi, after watching this press conference, I'm convinced the George W. Bush is completely immoral and quite possibly evil.   Especially, his disgusting responses to the aftermath of Katrina. 

So, I won't toast a glass of champagne when he dies, but I won't shed a single tear.  (I wept when watching the funerals for Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford). Though, I hope that W. lives long enough to be brought before an international war crimes tribunal, even if In absentia.  

I respect your right to disagree with me, because I understand where you are coming from.

As to ReaganFan, you have proved on more than one occasion that you are nothing more than a Vile Troll and so 99.99% of the time I choose to ignore all to pointless things that you say.  You should count your lucky stars that RFO isn't one of the boards where I'm part of the mod team.  My co-mods and I would have banned you into non-existence by now.      

Yes America Can!  Yes America Did!


THE PRESIDENT: I've thought long and hard about Katrina -- you know, could I have done something differently, like land Air Force One either in New Orleans or Baton Rouge. The problem with that and -- is that law enforcement would have been pulled away from the mission. And then your questions, I suspect, would have been, how could you possibly have flown Air Force One into Baton Rouge, and police officers that were needed to expedite traffic out of New Orleans were taken off the task to look after you?

My reply:

Outliving the shame of Katrina caused by Bush will take decades! The response in the aftermath was prima facie inadequate and slow. How could George W Sh**-for-brains rationally or reasonably defend it when all he thought about at the time was where to land Air Force One? Oh, that's right, rationality and reason don't count for jack when it comes to Bush and Company.

I didn't see the whole press conference, but I did see this part and was angered by it.  Doesn't anyone recognize what Bush said?  And that this is the first time we have heard that reason come from him or his office?

When Gustav was coming in, McCain came rushing down...well kinda close...Jackson MS., "co-incidentaly" at the start of the GOP covention.   When asked if he was coming. Barack said he did not want to get in the way, and pull resources from the police etc that would be needed for the citizens of the state.  He instead put his grassroots organization to work raising money and enlisting manpower to come down and help in the aftermath.  He also personally called a TV station here, to offer his support and let us know that he was sending help.  Obama was sincere and made his actions clear at the time. 

So now, over three years after Katrina, Bush thinks that reasoning worked for Obama, so it sounds good for him to use the same as his excuse for Katrina.  We know the real reason was that he had a birthday party to attend.  AF1 could land very easily in AZ.

Sorry George, as a south LA resident during Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, that didn't sit too well with me.

But I don't think that Bush or anyone knew how bad it was gonna be, did they? I mean, how could you? Hurricanes come and go all the time along the Gulf Coast.

I personally had no idea about it. I was out of town and out of state visiting relatives when I got a phone call from my Guard unit calling me back because of the hurricane. I certainly hadn't been following any of the news coverage of it up to that point.

Not that ignorance before the fact makes up for incompetence after the fact, but still.

"For those who plan with audacity and execute with vigor,
progress is the magnificent by product." 

"Hurricanes come and go along the Gulf Coast"  That may be true Tin, but that makes them no less devastating.  What we DID know was that a minimum Cat 3 was making a bead on or near New Orleans.  It is the president's job to be aware of national disasters.  Our weather prediction centers are amazing, and give hourly updates. There is no excuse for ignorance before the fact.  And I don't think our president should come down before the fact, and be forced to ride out a hurricane.  It would be insane to suggest that.  No one knew how bad it would be, that's true.  But after the fact, we could have used his help and support, but he chose to go instead to AZ to help McCain celebrate his birthday  and have some cake.  When he finally did come down here, he and Gov Blanco got into a pis*ing contest over who should be in charge of the National Guard.  Bush's man Brownie, head of FEMA, was only worried about how he appeared on camera, and actually made things worse.  The relief effort, although late, was a total disaster in itself.  All the while, people were suffering and dying. 

The individuals of the national guard were our hero's.  They worked so hard, under the most horrid conditions.  We would not have survived without them. There are still guard units there, helping with law enforcement.

Heres the part I don't get. please explain why I'm wrong because I 'm not saying I am right. Katrina, a dangerous hurricane as many are. Some weaken and some strengthen. Some go left at the last moment some go right. Regardless of strength or direction they were evacuating. The day after the National Guard, Coast Gaurd, volunteers, red cross, etc people are sent there to help. He can't stop a hurricane, he didn't tmake a hurricane. Its a tragic disaster from mother nature. There is nothing you can do about it. Honestly was he suppose to get a superman cape and swoop over and blow the water back to sea. Things were being done. It was not going to be right in a godly amount of time. You can only do what is humanly possible.  Hurricanes are unpredictable beast, and I don't understand what everyone expected. was it possible for him to save lives, save homes, I don't know how.
  1. The levees were pretty weak, and very much neglected if I remember the Army Corps of Engineers right. Bush didn't do much to repair or strengthen them, but the same charge could probably be leveled at prior administrations as well.
  2. It generally isn't whether Bush could've stopped Hurricane Katrina that bothers many people-- it's how fast he and his administration was in responding to it. Having the Coast Guard step up and help out where FEMA seemingly twiddled their thumbs (and even held a fake press conference later) is one of the greatest embarrassments of the administration.
    Maybe some are being too hard on Bush for the Katrina response. But it did seem as though other things took priority over a flooded city.

And there's no sense crying over every mistake
You just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake.

As usual, Magus, you hit the nail on the head.

I remember watching the TV coverage.... news reporters were there, suffering with everyone else.  If Geraldo Rivera could get there, why the heck couldn't the National Guard or any other emergency response team?  We saw the amazing capabilities of our armed forces getting into Iraq... why couldn't they get to the people in our own country? 

Add to that exposing the "expertise" of Bush appointees.... Brownie was NOT doing a heck of a job, and it turns out he had no training or background whatsoever in emergency management. (He had been in the quarterhorse biz.)  For me, it brought to light the fact that to serve in the Bush administration, it didn't matter if you knew what you were doing -- what mattered was if you toe-d the party line; an ugly thought when thousands of lives are at stake. That doesn't set so well when the world is watching our own people suffering and dying on television. 

It wasn't the storm. It was the lack of leadership and the bad decisions made in the aftermath.

P.S. I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend a book by NPR correspondent John Burnett.  He wrote a book about some of the more high-profile stories he's covered in his career, and given the reader insight that he couldn't give in radio reports due to time constraints.  If you want to read an excerpt (this one happens to be about Katrina), click here.


Cambell Brown Rips Bush On Katrina: Cutting Through The Bull 

Do you remember reading about the "Hurricane Pam" simulation that FEMA conducted roughly a year before Hurricane Katrina?  If I remember correctly, they predicted pretty much exactly what happened with the levees during Katrina, though the death toll with "Pam" was significantly higher.

I also remember National Geographic doing a report about a devastating Cat. 4 hurricane destroying New Orleans in the mid 1990's.     

Yes America Can!  Yes America Did!


Don't get me wrong -- he certainly should have been more aware of it.  And I agree that Brownie was an ass (as have been other Bush appointees) and unqualified for the job.

And as one of those Guardsmen (although not really a hero, IMO) I did see the devestation and I was both bothered by the emptiness of the city as well as the conditions that people obviously lived in in those neighborhoods even before those disasters. I just couldn't believe it!

You're from Louisiana, right? I don't remember if you are from NOLA particularly. My unit was stationed at Frederick Douglass High School in the 9th Ward.

In some ways, my short time in New Orleans was more devastating and influential to me than was my deployments to the Middle East. 

"For those who plan with audacity and execute with vigor,
progress is the magnificent by product." 

I'm about 40 miles northeast of NOLA.  We had some damage, but nothing like NOLA.  No power for a week, and 14 people in my house for several weeks.

You were in the heart of the disaster, and in one of the poorest section of NOLA.  But most of the people in the 9th ward were good, honest people, who had struggled at low paying jobs for a couple of generations.  They loved their humble little homes, and their neighborhood.  

As an aside, did you know that Fats Domino was from the 9th Ward, and remained there even after becoming famous.  Of course, he built a beautiful home there, but the neighborhood was home, and he loved it.

As for the blame, I do NOT only blame Bush.  The Dem governor, and Dem mayor were equally inept, and there is plenty to go around.  The sad part is, the people payed the price, while the lives of those three haven't been altered.  Senator Mary Landrieu was the only one that really tried to do a lot to help.  She's a D, and I had never voted for her before this last election, but she earned my vote in that horrible time, and the three years since then.

My house was right beneath the flight path from the staging grounds outside of Baron Rouge to the disaster area.  I will never forget the sights and sounds of helicopters constantly overhead, their cargo swinging beneath them, as the flew back and forth.  To you and your unit, and all that helped, You will never know how much your help and kindness and hard work are appreciated.  I wish I could hug each and every one of you.  You served your nation well.  Thank you Tin.  That's not a routine "thank you for your service".  That's a personal thank you from one who lived it.

Well, as I'm trying to get across, I blame Bush and Co. for not handling the crisis once it had become clear to everyone how bad it really was. And that's certainly something that he should have been made aware of within a few hours.

You know, for some people I understand that memories of Iraq etc. tear them up, and for good reason. Well, for me, it's still New Orleans. I don't think that I'll ever get over that. I've never seen the like and I hope to never again to the end of my days.

My thoughts on the subject from a couple of years ago. 

"For those who plan with audacity and execute with vigor,
progress is the magnificent by product." 

In the year of a presidential election, Huricane Charley(Jeb's red state)the response of FEMA was considerabley differnet for Blue state LA a year later. The day before Charley hit, FEMA has mobilized 100 trucks of water, 900,000 MRE's, more than 7,000 cases of food and tens of thousands of tarps. Disaster medical asst.  teams, urban search & rescues teams & FEMA officials were already in place.41,000 troops were called waiting to aid flood victims and assist in distribution of supplies. In Short, the government did what they were supposed to do. The feds were mailing checks to vitims winthin a week of CHarley's passing, including thosse 500 miles away from the damage area. But when Katrina hit(with no election looming) and with death stalking a Dem state w/ A dem governor unrealated to the PRez, Bush response"send cash to the REd Cross" is what he told AMerican sto do.

double post

I wonder how much was due to the involvement of the Governor in disaster preparation as well as the number of elderly that reside in Florida?  I doubt the La governor had banked on the levees breaking or the storm surge.

Also does the geography (with Fla being a peninsula) play a role - where in Charley's case it hovered for days over Florida and Katrina move up the coast?

Regardless of everything, this was a natural horrible disaster. I think people wanted it to disapear and needed to put blame on their problems on someone. People were being rescued off roofs am I right? People were being evacuated, am I right? Supplies were being sent, I am right? What more could be done? Maybe the destruction caught people off gaurd and was not even realized to its fullest for days after. It could happn again and the exact same scenario could play out and the and there is no one to blame.
Suzi, I happen to agree with what Josh said. 

Got it:

Loud voices telling him what to do, didn't listen to the loud voices. He is so dumb, I honestly think he believes the nut crazy sh** he is spewing out. Does he live in a vacuum somewhere? 

Was Bush serious when he said Obama will be disappointed with harsh rhetoric? Was Bush even aware of the foolishness from the GOP during this past election? The racial comments and other bull crap from the McCain-Palin rallies and from Palin herself? Mr President (soon to be ex though not soon enough), sir, you could not possibly have a clue, EVER! This man needs to poof already. I've had enough.

REally? Palin made racial remarks? I would love to see video or audio on that. I never heard that during the election. When did she say this? Whats the source?

 As for racial remarks at rallies. Can we really hold the GOP responsible for what a few idiots shout at a rally? Thats almost as bad as holding Obama responsible for the lyrics of Ludacris song. Or Rev Wrights outrageous remarks. Or a dozen other things. Although the GOP has many faults, we cant blame them for a select few people who shout out ridiculous statements.

Palin's "real America" comments are thinly-disguised racial and ethnic innuendoes.  Her "real America" is the rural whites, what many refer to as "rednecks," like the West Virginia democrats who voted against Obama for the racial reasons.
"Real America" is far from a racist term. But when you start to narrow it down like you are doing with assumptions. Many are racist, not to flip completly off topic but there are racist of each color who voted on color. Its crazy to think otherwise. You know what if a Mexican guy was running there would have been Mexicans voting because of that, if a group of people from Mars came and one guy ran the others would have voted for him. {I know he not a U.S citizen} To assume that didn't happen on "each" side and you are dreaming.
Not to say you are wrong, Blakey (in fact I think you are correct) but you also missed the point. The point is, perception is reality. If it is perceived to be a racial slur, or a knock on a certain ethnic group because of their ethnicity, whether or not it is intended that way, it's all in how it is perceived.
That's not really what is meant by her comment. Sure black voted for Obama because he is part black. But some of her comments were what you would call race baiting. Syaing things that stir up fear in people and they start getting their own idea's. Poeple were calling him a terrorist, because of they way should started the Bill AYers thing. You had people calling to "kill him". She knew what she was doing, that's what the far right does, they use fear tactics.   
Hope, it still works both ways. Obama goes by himself to a redneck neighborhood at night. Sadly he probably does not walk out. McCain walks through Harlem by himself at night, sadly he probably does not walk out. Scare tactics work from both directions, and just as Obama was pumping up the black support so to peak not unlike a sports game, this was Palins way of pumping up "redneck" support also. Not that in either case it weren't alrewady there.
Hope, it still works both ways. Obama goes by himself to a redneck neighborhood at night. Sadly he probably does not walk out. McCain walks through Harlem by himself at night, sadly he probably does not walk out. Scare tactics work from both directions, and just as Obama was pumping up the black support so to peak not unlike a sports game, this was Palins way of pumping up "redneck" support also. Not that in either case it weren't already there.

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