By Jedediah Bila
I have to admit that back in February, when I first saw the Minnesota Miss Me Yet? billboard featuring an image of President George W. Bush, I wished that the creative minds behind it had chosen a photo of Ronald Reagan instead. I guess that Bush’s expansion of the federal government’s role in our educational system and the manner in which his TARP and bailouts paved the way for Obama’s government overhaul, just don’t sit right with me.
However, this week our 43rd President reminded me what’s worth missing.
During a question-and-answer session at the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, President Bush said this of the terrorist mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 attacks: “Yeah, we water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed . . . I’d do it again to save lives.” Upon reading that, I felt like an athlete who finally crossed the finish line and snatched that bottle of water I’d been craving. After roughly seventeen months of Obama’s bowing, apologizing, and isolated extremist (don’t forget his buddy Janet’s man-caused disasters), Bush’s unapologetic commitment to protecting Americans was music to my ears. Here are a handful of quotes worth revisiting from Bush’s address to Congress on September 20, 2001:
–“These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion . . . They will hand over the terrorists or they will share in their fate.”
–“These terrorists kill not merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life. With every atrocity, they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking our friends. They stand against us because we stand in their way.”
–“We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism . . . From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”
George W. Bush certainly wasn’t perfect. Like the rest of us, he sometimes didn’t word things as well as he could have. Let’s face it — he was no full-blooded conservative. And I found myself wishing time and again that he’d boldly stand up to the media’s lies and persistent, often-unnecessary attacks against him.
Regardless, Bush understood that his primary job as President of the United States was to protect and defend this country. And if that meant making tough national security decisions that would make him unpopular in certain circles — and with the leaders of certain countries — so be it. That is a priceless presidential trait.
While performing at the White House on June 2, Paul McCartney said this: “And in fact, after the last eight years, it’s great to have a President who knows what a library is.” You’re right, Paul. Obama knows what a library is. (I guess that’s where he learned that we have fifty-seven states and that Europe is a country. But I digress.) Nonetheless, I’d much prefer that my President have a record of spending less time in libraries and more time running a business, balancing budgets, and governing a state. P.S. — Before President Obama hits up the local library, he might want to curl up on the sofa with Arizona’s new immigration law.
Thank you to President Bush for proudly standing up for America at one of the most trying times in our country’s history. Thank you for informing our enemies that the buck stops here. And for letting us know this week that the security of Americans still takes precedence in your mind over the comfort of the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Of course, a special thanks to President Obama for reminding me what I’m missing by being its complete and utter opposite.