President Bush is making the rounds to promote his book Decision Points. I am about half way through with the book and I have watched several of the interviews he has done this week. Surprisingly, I have found the Oprah interview to be one of the best. I suppose the reason for that is the fact that while she isn't a fan of his politics, or one would think since she is a fan of Obama; the Anti-Bush, yet she was very fair in her questioning of him. I am no fan of Oprah so this came as quite the surprise to me. She seemed to go out of her way to point out that she didn't understand many of the decisions that he made surrounding Katrina. She admits that she lacked the knowledge that he didn't have the constitutional authority to do anything until the governor of Louisiana gave it to him; many days after the levees overflowed. This is something that is widely misunderstood by the American public. I have yet to reach this part of the book as of yet, but I am interested in hearing his account of the story.
Bush has continued with his very classy act of keeping his mouth shut regarding how his successor has handled the presidency. Something that I wish President Carter would learn. The job of president is a very difficult one. The decisions that you make quite literally affect the daily lives of millions of people in some cases. Since there is no way to make that many people happy you will always face criticism. The country has become more and more polarized, so that criticism can overly harsh at times, something that Bush learned all too well.
The book is very interesting and gives insight to his decision process. It also will give an open-minded reader the realization that he wasn't as stupid as the press and people on the left portrayed him to be. It will also further the belief that many had that he was just a regular guy who would be interesting dinner companion. For those who read the book with the pre-conceived notion that he is some sort of evil idiot, this book will do nothing to change that, with the possible exception of his inability to go into New Orleans immediately. Another thing that comes through with his press blitz is the humanity of the man. You can disagree with his policies, but he is a man who has deep humanity. There are many things that I didn't like about President Bush's administration and many decisions that he made that I would have done differently, but I still admire the man. The pictures of him dealing with the families of 9/11 are real. He connected with the American experience in a way that is necessary to be an effective president. Sadly, something that I don't see in President Obama. Obama may not be cold in person, but comes across as detached to what the average American feels.
I am looking forward to finishing up the book over the next week to read about his decisions on TARP. I think that even this has soften a bit since it was first administered. At the end of the day, TARP will not cost the taxpayers anything; as the interest paid has made up for those that may never pay it back. The problem of the precedent that it set is a different issue altogether and how the money has been used in ways it was never supposed to be by an over zealous congress will also cause many to never accept this policy. Sadly, I was unable to find any embedable clips of the Oprah interview, but below is the interview he gave to Bill O'Reilly. It is rather long, but interesting. O'Reilly went after his decisions about TARP much more so than many other of the interviews that I have seen.