Jim Young, Reuters
Who says President Bush didn’t have an exit strategy planned out? It’s been there all along, since day one: 8 years to man the helm and steer this great country.
And now the man who is said to have ceased unprecedented presidential power, would declare marshal law, would repeal the 22nd Amendment, exits the stage exemplifying the workings of our system of government through the peaceful transition of power.
Mike’s America pieced together a couple of posts collecting some favorite photos of President Bush:
One commenter, struck by how wonderful these images are, wondered why he hasn’t seen much of these before.
Although we on the right have often found our suspicions about media bias well-confirmed, many of these beautiful photos were also taken by photographers working for these media organizations. And many of them are professional, even when they happen to capture an embarrassing image; it’s just the nature of the work and nothing partisan on their part.
Following are a few Reuters photographers and their remembrances…
Bush has faced many battles in his tenure. Record low approval ratings, a failing economy, the September 11 attacks, a war with no near end in sight, and for the last year, most of the world was looking more to his successor, than to the sitting President himself.
But when I look back over my three years here in Washington, I come away with two impressions of the man in the office.
One impression is that of a man carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders, an insurmountable burden. As from my first image of Bush, making the long, slow walk back to the Oval Office, head and hands hanging low.
In November 2007, Bush met with Lance Cpl. Isaac Gallegos during a visit to the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He met with many of the soldiers, visibly scarred and injured from the war under his presidency. Although he seemed very confident in his actions, you could not help but feel that it was a hard eight years as the 43rd President.
For more on President Bush and his time spent amongst wounded soldiers and their family members, see my post, All the Presidents Warriors.
Another image that I think defines the man as commander-in-chief is this simple composition of Bush looking very presidential among heavily-armed soldiers during his visit to Fort Irwin in the Californian desert in 2007.
U.S. President George W. Bush poses for a group picture with soldiers during his visit to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin in the Californian desert, April 4, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES)
Back to Jim Young’s Reuter’s blog:
The other impression is the playfulness of the man. Fun-loving silliness. The next two images come from the same day on a presidential trip to Africa in February 2008. It was probably the most fun I have seen the President have, and it gave me some of my favorite memories covering Bush. Joining a group of singing and dancing Massai Warriors during a stop at school in Arusha, Tanzania. He really seemed to be enjoying himself, surrounded by people who really were making every effort to make him feel loved and appreciated. He could have been anyone that day, just a guy wrapped up in the beautiful music, having a great time, and living in the moment.
The last photo came on a tour of a plant that manufactured mosquito netting. The girls were working underneath the mesh netting looking for holes and Bush surprised them by popping up underneath the netting to join them. The girls looked up to him in admiration and they appeared to sway in slow motion, like moving through water, calm, and for a brief moment he seemed happy and playful, like the kids themselves.
My post on President Bush’s commitment to Africa, President Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People
The next photo is going to drive the moonbats nuts…
President Bush could be very gracious. Like his father, Bush learned the names of every news photographer assigned to the White House early on. To document Bush’s graciousness, look at the picture of the elderly woman seated next to him. A perfect stranger, Ruth Harris was seated in a chair along a motorcade route, with a sign next to her stating it was her 91st birthday. Bush stopped the vehicles, got out, then posed with her. They look like lifetime friends.
One of the most touching moments I experienced during my travels with Bush was when he secretly sneaked out of the United States, flew undetected, and landed in Baghdad to visit with U.S. military personnel on Thanksgiving evening. I was honored to be included on that super-secret Air Force One travel pool and I watched as he stepped out from behind a curtain and immediately warmed the hearts of hundreds of American GI’s waiting for their Thanksgiving dinner.
When I asked a young GI seated at a table if he knew who was coming out to speak he replied, “They told us the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders are here.” God bless those innocent, young, GI’s stranded thousands of miles from home on perhaps their first BIG dinner away from mom and dad.
Bush walked out, and they went nuts.
I sat in their chair almost 40 years earlier as a young GI and It was the loneliest time of my life; I couldn’t help but tear up when Bush appeared.
It’s been a memorable 8 years. Tough years to be sure; but I believe what President Bush has mainly done, is institute long-term investments, planting seeds whose fruits will not be apparent until years down the road:
“You only get eight years,” Vice President Dick Cheney coolly remarked, conveying that part of a presidential legacy is a mature understanding that you cannot play to win just the matches in which you are captain.
President-Elect Obama will be the beneficiary of tools President Bush has implemented in place in dealing with “the long war” against international Islamic terror. Obama inherits success in Iraq, thanks to Bush’s green-lighting of the surge strategy which he opposed. He picks up the baton on improved relations and foreign policy strategies that the Bush Administration has been responsible for.
For the sake of my country, I wish Barack Obama a successful 4 year presidency, not in terms of carrying out liberal policies, but in terms of doing right by the country, in doing what is good for the country. While decent and indecent Americans celebrate Obama’s inauguration this morning, the indecent will celebrate Bush’s departure by throwing shoes in [sarcasm] “solidarity with the Iraqi people” [/sarcasm]
President Bush: Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for making me laugh by driving the moonbats batty; I thank you for what you were able to accomplish in 8 long years, and will not dwell on what you were unable to accomplish in 8 short years.
Not everything went right….
…but in the end, you done a hella good and accomplished the most important role of a U.S. President: Keeping America safe.
God bless you.
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.