Tuesday, January 13, 2009




I have nothing against the outgoing President beginning to engage in some deep reflection about the full picture of his record in office, and even to share it in televised interviews (although it is far too soon to be of maximum value). But to engage in confessional examinations before a roomful of hostile bloodsuckers who have, for the most part, consistently savaged him, lied about him, and betrayed the interests of the American people in the name of an inside scoop (with the added bonus of making Bush look incompetent and perhaps criminal), was a needless and inappropriate act of public penance, and served as an example of one the personal flaws which has plagued his ability to govern effectively.

I wish he hadn't done it, or at least had made his personal assessment brief, cool, and perfunctory, with the clear implication that he would reserve his deeper reflections for people who (a) read books, and (b) are open to learning from them -- qualities not evident in most of the members of the Washington press corpse.

That having been said, more thoughtful people are now pressed into hasty revision of the president's prematurely confessional swan song, among them Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, who crams quite a bit of wisdom into his Top Ten List here. Additionally, David Warren reflects on the fundamentals of the Bush years with considerable warmth -- available online tomorrow here, though I will take the liberty of sneak-previewing his typically bon mot, where he anticipates a week hence by raising "a quick toast to old Bush, and good luck to the new Obama (there seems to be a new one every day)." Heh.

Mr. Bush is who he is, and who he was, and that is often not a good thing for the rest of us, insofar as he is irrationally loyal to the undeserving or underqualified who are close at his side, and strangely myopic to the larger loyalty owed to the 350 million of his countrymen who stand at a distance and whose fate rides disproportionately on his solitary judgement; as he is loyal to principles arrived at instinctively and expressed simplistically, where events have called for lengthier exercise of more cool intelligence than heart, to arrive at complex principles far less founded (unfortunately) in faith in one's fellow man. (What better example could there be of misplaced faith than for Mr. Bush to bare his soul to a roomful of Washington reporters -- I almost said 'journalists! Ha! -- in hopes that they might gain a higher opinion of his legacy.)

Nevertheless, some salient facts keep hanging around: Islamist terrorism has been rocked back on its heels (though BY NO MEANS eradicated) around the world, its infrastructure hobbled and its image bruised, as it is increasingly responsible for more savagery against Muslims than against infidels of every stripe.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch,


That will be 2685 by inauguration day, assuming our luck holds out for another week (not that "luck" has much to do with it -- some of it, at least, is owed to warrantless wiretaps and waterboarding, but mostly to the strength projected by the American military, which kicks ass with its left foot while building brotherhood with its right hand).



Yes, friends, those of us who, out of curiosity or for whatever other reason, signed up for emails from the campaign of the new techno-savvy candidate on the block, are still receiving a stream of solicitations signed by David Plouffe, Michelle Obama, and the President-elect himself, advertising inaugural tee-shirts, mugs, and a lottery of sorts for seats at the inaugural table, all couched in pleas for additional money in the customary easy-fraud amount of $5. Only in the fine print at the bottom of the page does one discover that the "be our guest" contest does not, in fact, depend upon coughing up some moolah, but merely requires a small essay on "What the inauguration means to me."

So I did it, my friends (as somebody recently famous used to say every couple of minutes) -- I made my second $5 contribution to the Obama campaign, once again using my Canadian-based credit card with my Canadian address, and then entering into the online form a completely different set of completely bogus personal information -- fake name, address, phone number, email, employment info -- and hit the "contribute" button. And -- VOILA!-- to no one's great surprise, it is still possible to make a fraudulent online donation to Obama Corp. I'll check back after St. Agnes' Eve and let you know whether this practice perseveres into the Dawn of the New Administration, "when the rise of the oceans begins to slow and our planet begins to heal". (At least I thought I saw the oceans moving -- maybe I was just so wasted, man.....)

I had an Irish grandfather (he died in 1945) who had a few favourite sayings, one of which was "If a man asks to borrow $10, always give it to him: if he returns it, you've made a friend; if he doesn't, you've bought $10 worth of information." In the public interest, I have expended $10, and gotten $10 worth of juicy information. What with inflation in the past 60 years, I'm willing to shell out a few more five-dollarses to see just how long this Obama fraud farce goes on. Will keep you posted. And when they come to take me away, presumably one of you will post more than $5 for my bail.


(and I often am)

He is the happy and well-deserving recipient of one of this year's Presidential Citizen's Medals, as well as an AARP Inspire Award for his work onm Operation Iraqi Children, which he co-founded in 2004 to put much-needed school supplies and other basics (shoes, blankets) into the hands of American troops (an important part of the process) to distribute to children in the war-zone.

Good for Gary. Similar kudos should have long since been heaped upon Jim Hake of Spirit of America, who has spent the last five years doing the same thing on a much wider scale, giving everything you can possibly think of to people of all ages in Iraq and Aghanistan, with the support of thousands of donors, via the hands of American troops. Perhaps if he were a movie star and USO rock band regular, instead of a mere businessman, his efforts would have come to greater notice in the Oval Office.

This is not to take anything away from Sinise, who is definitely the Bob Hope of his generation (though much quieter and humbler, and therefore a lot less funny!). But the work of Spirit of America has been simply staggering, and, although Hake has once been introduced to Bush, his work has not received the attention it should have, both from the president and from the national media.

If I were writing Rich Lowry's column, I would have put this omission at the top of the Top Ten Failures list for Mr. Bush -- he could not have prevented September 11th [no, troofers, he could NOT], but he could have rallied the nation together to do something other than "go shopping", and Spirit of America is exactly what the nation needed.

Had this kind of charitable work received timely attention from the president -- had he gotten behind the effort publicly and persistently -- I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Bush's position in the nation's eyes might be higher today, and that his road might have been a bit less lonely and bumpy. Even regarding Gary Sinise, it is telling that his medal has been awarded in Mr. Bush's final month, when Gary has been the public face of OIC, and probably the biggest draw for the USO, for almost five years. Better late than never, but LATE it is.

A gentle snow has stopped here in the Great White North, where a couple of inches of Global Warming lie on the ground around us. We begin a new era, sailing into the wind without Bill Buckley at the helm and Fr. Neuhaus as chaplain, and much of the world seemingly gone mad (or "Koo Koo for Cocoa-Puff"). Fortunately, both Bill and the good Father are now in a better place, where they are assuredly trying to convince the Boss that there are enough Righteous Men down here on the big blue marble to keep it safe for another generation. Let's hope so.

'Cause there's gators out there.