Now this is what I call class in a former President:
Former President George W. Bush is hosting a 100-kilometer mountain bike ride in the Panhandle’s Palo Duro Canyon State Park for military members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The three-day ride begins Thursday. This is the second year for Bush to host the Warrior 100K. Last year, the ride was held in the Big Bend region of West Texas.
In a statement, Bush says the ride is a reminder of the “unbelievable courage, skill and sacrifice of those who wear the uniform of the United States.”
If a 64-year-old former U.S. president rode 100 kilometers in the desert with more than a dozen wounded military veterans to raise awareness of and money for veterans charities, would it make headlines?
The answer is–with the notable exception of ABC News–not if the former president’s last name is Bush.
From April 25-27th, President George W. Bush will host the Warrior 100 (W100), a 100-kilmometer mountain bike ride in the Big Bend with fourteen United States servicemen and women who were seriously wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I’ll be riding across the deserts of Texas with wounded warriors to show the unbelievable character of our men and women in uniform,” said President Bush. “It’s a 100-kilometer ride in the desert, and it’s not a leisurely ride; it’s a ride to herald people who were dealt a severe blow and said, ‘I’m not going to let it tear me down.’”
Imagine if the former president’s name had been, say, Carter, or Clinton, or Obama.
Congrats to President Bush for doing this… and to all those who rode along with him!
H/T Roman Words
It’s as simple as this (emphasis added):
To turn wood chips into ethanol fuel, George W. Bush’s Department of Energy in February 2007 announced a $76 million grant to Range Fuels for a cutting-edge refinery. A few months later, the refinery opened in the piney woods of Treutlen County, Ga., as the taxpayers of Georgia piled on another $6 million. In 2008, the ethanol plant was the first beneficiary of the Biorefinery Assistance Program, pocketing a loan for $80 million guaranteed by the U.S. taxpayers.
Last month, the refinery closed down, having failed to squeeze even a drop of ethanol out of its pine chips.
Ethanol is basically one huge boondoggle. Not only does it have less energy for the same quantity as gasoline, but it also uses food crops, thereby driving up the cost of food, as reported by sources as diverse as the Washington Times and NPR.
But the Obama Administration seems bound and determined to follow this bad Bush policy. I don’t mind it when Obama follows good Bush policies, but he’s got enough bad policies of his own without borrowing Dubya’s (and, yes, Dubya did have some really boneheaded policies… like subsidizing ethanol).
President Obama has “learned from experience” that some of the Bush administration’s decisions on terrorism issues were necessary, according to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“I think he’s learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate. So I think he’s learned from experience. And part of that experience was the Democrats having a terrible showing last election.”
Cheney also asserted that Obama has learned that the prison at Guantanamo Bay simply cannot be closed, despite the promises he made while campaigning for the White House.
“I think he’s learned that he’s not going to be able to close Guantanamo,” Cheney said. “That it’s — if you didn’t have it, you’d have to create one like that. You’ve got to have some place to put terrorists who are combatants who are bound and determined to try to kill Americans.”
The former vice president cited the Obama administration’s expanded use of drones in Pakistan as more evidence of continuity from the policies of the Bush White House.
“As I say, I think he’s found it necessary to be more sympathetic to the kinds of things we did,” Cheney said. “They’ve gotten active, for example, with the drone program, using Predator and the Reaper to launch strikes against identified terrorist targets in the various places in the world.”
As in so many things in the past, Mr. Cheney is absolutely right. President Obama has indeed followed many of the Bush policies that Senator Obama and Candidate Obama denounced.
Things look a lot different once you start getting the presidential briefings, don’t they, Mr. Obama?
Giving credit where credit is due, Obama is perfectly correct to continue these Bush-era policies, because while they may not be perfect, they’re the best we’re going to get in the imperfect world we live in. Two cheers to Obama for realizing this and not messing things up.
Of course, the conservative in me also relishes the fact that following these Bush-era policies might just drive a wedge between Obama and the lefties, especially if Obama continues to move to the right in an attempt to follow the Clinton-Morris “triangulation” strategy. That wedge, if it happens–and there have been some hints, tho nothing really solid yet–would make it much easier for the GOP to unseat Obama in 2012.
Byron York has a piece up about Mark Halperin of Time wishing for a catastrophe to help boost Obama’s popularity:
What Obama really needs, Halperin says, is a stroke of good luck. “Busy as he’s been, he has not yet experienced a single major moment that has benefited him politically,” Halperin writes. Events like the Gulf oil spill have been harmful, rather than helpful. So what would brighten Obama’s political prospects? Here’s Halperin:
“No one wants the country to suffer another catastrophe. But when a struggling Bill Clinton was faced with the Oklahoma City bombing and a floundering George W. Bush was confronted by 9/11, they found their voices and a route to political revival.”
Of course, the Oklahoma City attack killed 168 people, and September 11 nearly 3,000. So Halperin quickly adds: “Perhaps Obama’s crucible can be positive — the capture of Osama bin Laden, the fall of the Iranian regime, a dramatic technological innovation that revitalizes American manufacturing — something to reintroduce him to the American people and show the strengths he demonstrated as a presidential candidate.”
Maybe a bin Laden capture or Iranian revolution would help, although it seems highly unlikely that a dramatic technological innovation would revitalize American manufacturing in time for Obama to be re-elected in 2012. But the fact is, presidents have often shown their true mettle in the face of tragic circumstances. And Obama’s partisans appear to be coming very close to hoping for a tragedy to revive the president’s political fortunes.
I think Halperin has it wrong. Clinton and Bush gained the support of the people because they were the kind of men who could really connect with the American people after a tragedy, in an emotional way. Say what you will about Bill Clinton, he did have that capability, in spades.
However, Obama is definitely cut from a different cloth… even his supporters admit that his demeanor is more cool and detached.
The way Obama connects to people is the opposite of a Clinton, a Bush, or a Ronald Reagan. Those presidents were all relaters. They bonded with people based on common feelings, experiences, and interests. Reagan did this best through the medium of television. Bush did it best in person and not so well through television. Clinton could do it blindfolded and hanging upside down. But for all three, connecting emotionally was part and parcel of their political skill. As a result, people tended to love them or hate them, sometimes in succession, but without much neutral ground in between.
Obama’s coolness and detachment put him in a different category of president that includes Lincoln (on the positive side) and Jimmy Carter (on the negative). His relationship with the world is primarily rational and analytical rather than intuitive or emotional. As he acknowledged in his interview with George Stephanopoulos the day after Scott Brown’s victory, his tendency to focus on substance can make him seem remote and technocratic. So while many people continue to deeply admire him, few come away from any encounter feeling closer to him. He is not warm, he is not loyal, he is not deeply involved with others. His most fervent enthusiasts tend to express love for the ideas he embodies and represents—America transcending its racial history, a fairer and more unified society, rationality, wise decision-making, and so forth—as opposed to for the man himself.
Most of us over a certain age can remember Carter’s “catastrophe,” and the aftermath thereof… Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days (that’s over a year for the mathematically challenged). Carter’s response to it, specifically “Operation Eagle Claw” which led to the loss of two American aircraft, eight American servicemen, and one Iranian civilian, is not quite so memorable, but undoubtedly was remembered when people went to the polls about 7 months later in November, 1980. It’s quite possible that had Carter handled the hostage crisis better, he might have fared better against Reagan and been granted a second term. As it was, however, it certainly seems that the failures that led to the hostage crisis and the inability to pull off a rescue helped doom Carter’s reelection bid.
So, Halperin’s error is in focusing on the catastrophe, and not the response to it. Both Clinton and Bush approached the problems in a presidential manner, and yes, they received a political benefit to it, as crass as that sounds. Obama, however, faced with a catastrophe, would probably react much more in the Carter mold, and therefore wouldn’t necessarily gain any benefit, and might even hurt his standing.
Mr. Halperin should be very careful what he wishes for.
A British teenager who sent an e-mail to the White House calling President Obama a “pr*ck” was banned from the U.S. for life, The Sun reported Monday.
The FBI asked local cops to tell college student Luke Angel, 17, that his drunken insult was “unacceptable.”
Angel claims he fired off a single e-mail criticizing the U.S. government after seeing a television program about the 9/11 attacks.
He said, “I don’t remember exactly what I wrote as I was drunk. But I think I called Barack Obama a pr*ck. It was silly — the sort of thing you do when you’re a teenager and have had a few.”
Angel, of Bedford, in central England, said it was “a bit extreme” for the FBI to act.
“The police came and took my picture and told me I was banned from America forever. I don’t really care but my parents aren’t very happy,” he said.
In the first place, while I have no problem with keeping the President (regardless of party) safe from threats, I doubt that calling him a “pr*ck” ranks up there on the danger scale.
For comparison, imagine if Dubya had banned everyone who called him a name… first, how many would have to be banned, and second, how would the lefties have reacted?
I guess Dubya has a thicker skin than Obama… but then, we knew that already, didn’t we?