Bush's Farewell Speech

[ Posted Thursday, January 15th, 2009 – 19:02 UTC ]

I waited to write today's column until President Bush had given his final primetime address to the American people. You know what? It wasn't worth the wait.

I had planned on writing a critical analysis of his speech, but I have to admit I just can't do it. I've been writing about Bush for two and a half years now, and I simply cannot bring myself to do it one last time. Because it is a largely pointless exercise. Bush's view of reality is so far removed from what an average person sees that it is useless to point it out one last time. Everybody, by this point, either believes the man is deluded, or still agrees with him 100%. Think about it -- no matter how low his poll numbers got, Bush kept a core of about one person in four who approved of the job the man was doing. They're not going to change their minds, in other words, and the rest of us are simply tired of trying.

That's my excuse, anyways. I sat listening to Bush while (as always) resisting the urge to hurl blunt objects at the television screen. So did many others out there, I suspect. Listening to Bush expound on how wonderful freedom and justice are, while ignoring his record to the contrary was just too much for me. Listening to Bush talk about good and evil with a smirk on his face, and then having to analyze his thought processes was just a bridge too far. Screaming "Here's a clue: torture is evil!" at the television may make me feel better, but Bush is not listening, and never has. Meaning it's an exercise in futility.

Seeing Bush attempt one last time to make the Republican Party acceptible to black Americans by putting a bunch of them up front for his speech struck me as a desperate move. But then the whole thing smacked of desperation -- the last message from inside the Bush bubble -- since (unlike most exiting presidents who make such speeches from the Oval Office) he had to surround himself with people who could be counted on to applaud when the speech was done. That right there summed up a lot of the Bush presidency for me -- the fact that he absolutely refused to ever put himself in a position where he would have to hear any other viewpoint than adulation.

So I apologize for the short column. And I apologize for not giving Bush the attention he craves, one last time.

I do have to point out one thing, though. I know these speeches aren't written by Bush himself, but I did find it interesting that one logical slip got through whoever proofs these things. Here is Bush on what he so obviously sees as the defining moment of his presidency:

As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. 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.

Bush is admitting that he blew it here. It's subtle, but he is saying to America that 9/11 happened on his watch, he was not paying the attention he should have before it happened, and he will forever be remembered for the worst attack on American soil happening while he ignored every possible warning that it was about to happen.

By his own words, life is divided into "before 9/11," and "after 9/11." Bush says that after 9/11 he could never return to how life had been before 9/11, because he always remained vigilant and always did everything in his power to protect the American people. He paid attention to the briefings he received.

The logical inference from this incredible statement is that before 9/11, Bush was not doing those things. He could never return there, because he woke up and started taking his job seriously, I guess. Meaning he was not doing everything in his power to protect the American people from terrorism before this point. He did not pay attention to the warnings about Al Qaeda he was receiving. And 9/11 happened. On his watch.

Facts have proven this to be true. Just ask Richard Clarke. Or check out the memo Bush got while on vacation about Al Qaeda being determined to attack America. At the time, he told the briefer "now you've covered your ass," and went out to play golf. And Bush continued his month-long vacation without lifting a finger to protect America.

Mr. Bush, history doesn't record just seven years of your presidency. It records what happened before 9/11 as well. You were determined to do everything in your presidency differently than Bill Clinton. And because the Clinton people were so alarmed about Al Qaeda, that meant that you could safely ignore it, since getting alarmed about it was doubtlessly the wrong thing to do.

These facts are not in question. Bush failed miserably. No matter what came after 9/11 -- no matter how vigilant Bush was or whether he did everything in his power to keep us safe after that -- the fact remains that he did not do so before it happened.

I just never thought he'd actually admit it to America, that's all.


-- Chris Weigant


3 Comments on “Bush's Farewell Speech”

  1. [1] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    In a hundred years, all Americans will need to know about Bush is the photograph of his face in that Florida classroom with the sign over his shoulder:


  2. [2] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Amazing. It's just hard to believe the denial he lives in. He kept us safe?

    Seems more like the terrorists didn't have to lift a finger since he and the neo-cons were so busy destroying the country.

    Just reminds me of one of my favorite Onion articles: "Bush Tours America to Survey Damage Caused by Bush Presidency"

    - David

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    It hurts too much to talk about Bush anymore...

    But, on a more enlightening note...did anyone catch yesterday's OTHER farewell speech? know, the one from the floor of the US Senate?

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