Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A little Texas Two-step

As I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor's office today, I was surprised to see President Bush on the screen.  Not just waving after a speech or coming down from Air Force One, but actually interacting with the press corps.  CNN has a decent transcript.
Before I get into deconstructing the rather sophisticated way our President handled himself today, I'm going to say that I'm impressed.  I didn't think I'd see him at a microphone more than once a month or so for the rest of the Presidency, and now, twice within a week I've seen him.  I guess he's having to resort to personal appeal, with his numbers nearly bottoming out.
Anyway, one quick comment on a statement in response to questions about the possibility for staff changes:
BUSH: I've got a staff of people that have, first of all, placed their country above their self-interests. These are good, hardworking, decent people. And we've dealt with a lot, we've dealt with a lot. We've dealt with war. We've dealt with recession. We've dealt with scandal. We've dealt with Katrina.
Take a second and think about that paragraph.  It's all in the past-tense.  As if the war, the scandal, the rebuilding of Katrina have all come and gone, and we're moving on to other things.  We've finished them.  At least that's the sense I draw from the paragraph. 
Hearing occasional updates on the state of Louisiana from friends down there; reading accounts of Iraq; breathing the fearful perspiration in the air around 17th and E in D.C.  To me these all point to the fact that none of the 'challenges' this administration has thrown the American people into has passed. 
What concerns me most from all this is that nothing bad will happen before Bush leaves office.  Not because of conspiracy, but because the structures that hold the country, our politics, and our economy together are strong enough to withstand the next 22 months.  But not much longer.  And the next President, whomever it is, will be a good person.  I have this hunch that it'll happen--a good person as President.  Regardless of party, he (or she) will begin working with Congress to implement reforms: in our tax system; in the federal budget; in our foreign policy; in Social Security and Medicare.  But once those reforms start, the 'challenges' Bush's administration have given America will bring many angles crashing down--and the next President will be left holding the pieces--not only of Bush's disaster, but the could-have-beens of the next administration.

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