It's been a very long farewell tour for outgoing President George W. Bush. I've gotten the feeling that he's been phoning it in for a while, but then I decided that's not such a bad thing, given his dismal record in the last eight years.
He's had his final news conference, where it became clear that maybe he really was out of touch for his two terms in the White House. And I have to agree with Campbell Brown on this one -- we both thought his comments about his presidency during that news conference were out of touch with reality and revisionist big time (to borrow a phrase from Dick Cheney).
Thursday night, George Bush got around to his final (really, really) talk to the nation in his official capacity. It wasn't much, barely 15 minutes to take another pass at instilling his version of his presidency on our collective memories. I hate to break it to him, but my even in my 'old age,' my memory is better than that.
The speech was spin at its most dangerous. It's easy to feel a pang of pity for a guy who was on top so long and is now heading out the door. But the more sympathy he evokes, the more susceptible we are to the lies he is telling. Before we know it, his revisionism becomes accepted as the truth.
So if there was any value in the speech it was this: it should remind us of the importance of refusing to allow this delusional revisionism to stand.
I was genuinely shocked by what he said in those few minutes, but I'm not sure why I continue to be. What would make me think that all of a sudden he would realize that maybe he ought to apologize to the nation? Maybe 'fess up that he made some mistakes? I suppose when you're a president whose world view is so narrow and simplistic, it's easy to think you've done a great job and nearly impossible to acknowledge that your actions were anything other than pure.
He told America that he made the hard decisions and always had our best interests at heart. He showed us the face of man who seems untroubled by the fact that on his watch we have become entangled in two foreign wars, have fallen into an economic pit so deep that many think it will be years, not months, before we find our way out, have seen our Constitutional protections diluted and have watched as his administration cavalierly trampled on women's rights, including equal pay and reproductive rights.
And those are only a handful of the things he's done to the nation that the Barack Obama administration is going to have to undo. If you believe that's how our nation should be, then I suppose a laurel and hearty handshake are in order.
Not surprisingly, Bush still claims we are safer than we were eight years ago, thanks to the efforts of his administration to keep terror at bay? Really? Mr. PunditMom reminded me of the story of a man standing on the corner, waving his arms and hands about his head. When asked what he was doing, he replied, "I'm keeping the elephants away." The questioner shockingly replied, "But there are no elephants." The hand-waving man responded, "See. It's working."
I hear the Bush's personal belongings are pretty much packed and ready to go at precisely 12:01 p.m. on January 20. President Bush, don't let the screen door hit you on the way out. And please don't spend any more time patting yourself on the back for the job you've done. I had hoped you would just be a place-holder president and not do much damage when you were (sort of) elected in 2000.
Maybe I'll wake up and it will all have been a bad dream. And, Mr. President, watch out for those elephants on the way out.
Joanne Bamberger is a BlogHer Contributing Editor for News & Politics. She also spends a lot of time writing about politics at her place, PunditMom, and a few other places around the blogosphere. While she isn't going to the inauguration in person, she will be letting out a big sigh of relief once when Barack Obama sets foot in the White House.
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