Saturday, September 13, 2008

Two Views of President Bush

I received the following from an email list of which I am a member, and have received permission to post it here:

Last week I had the good fortune to hear GEN (R) Colin Powell speak at a conference I was attending. I've searched the web for his speech and unfortunately it is not available. But, never fear, I took good notes throughout. He is a fantastic speaker, mixing self-deprication and humor in with crystal clear, easily understood, analysis based conclusions...

Since he worked directly for four presidents (Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton and Bush 43) he was asked if "anybody is ever ready to be President and which of the four was his favorite?"

He said that, "Nobody is every ready to take the Presidency. Some are more prepared than others, for example Bush 41's long service across the government helped. Those who had been Governors were better prepared. . .Carter, Bush 43." "Any leader who just talks but doesn't give people the tools they need to get things done will always fail." But he didn't give any specific endorsement.

On his favorite President to work for, he declined to answer but talked about each:

He described Bush 41 as "a details guy, very much into getting and doing a full analysis before making a decision." He described Clinton as "a details guy also; but much more into talking. Often I thought,'are we ever going to stop talking and do something?'" He described Bush 43 as "a more intuitive decision maker, someone who likes to take the measure of someone himself by looking them in the eye" and as (are you paying attention BDS victims?) "extremely smart".

Even though he refused to pick a favorite, his choice was pretty clear when he described Reagan glowingly as "in a class by himself" and told a story to show how President Reagan chose people for jobs, gave them the tools they needed, empowered them to deal with the job, stayed out of their way while they worked while staying abreast of the issue and was prepared when the problem needed to be elevated to his level. "Deal with your big problems; stay in touch with your little problems; empower your subordinates to deal with their problems; be prepared when a problem becomes your own. Great leaders recognize when reality hits."

In case you missed it above, let me emphasize here what our correspondent says about General Colin Powell and his thoughts about the current President Bush:

He described Bush 43 as "a more intuitive decision maker, someone who likes to take the measure of someone himself by looking them in the eye" and as..."extremely smart".
In a follow-up email, the author above had this to say:

I'll take Colin Powell's assessment formed from multiple years of interactions with President Bush on his great intelligence (specially when I heard it with my own ears) over {someone else's} assessment formed from watching the main stream media and lack of personal interaction.

I may not agree with his policy recommendations all the time; but I do not think that a retired General has such poor assessment skills to be unable to identify how smart someone is when interacting with them on a daily basis over the period of several years.

So who has said in the media that President Bush is an idiot who has worked as closely with him as GEN (R) Powell? All I've ever seen is partisan attacks. Is GEN(R) Powell a partisan shill running around telling everybody how smart President Bush is? If he is the press isn't covering it. Isn't the point of him disagreeing with the administration on several things proof that he isn't? So why shouldn't we take his assessment over those who continue to insert their feet in their mouths over the issue here?

General Powell is no shill for the Republicans.

I myself once asked former Secretary of Education Dr. Rod Paige about President Bush (the full post is here). I wrote the following about that meeting:

Before his talk I introduced myself to Dr. Paige and asked him two questions: first, does he regret calling the NEA a "terrorist organization", and second, what kind of man is the President. This was my first time talking to someone who had spent any significant time with a President, and I wanted a firsthand view...

To answer the second question, Dr. Paige told me the President is a "great man", and if he has any fault, it's that he's too loyal to people.

So we have two firsthand accounts, coincidentally from two African-Americans, both of whom have worked for the President, who are rather complimentary in their descriptions of the President.

I'm not surprised.

Update, 9/21/08: While I don't know this author personally, his account of meeting the President is just as positive as the commentary above.


Law and Order Teacher said...

Isn't it amazing that the MSM has continually described the president as stupid. The people who work with, and more importantly no longer do, have described as smart. Maybe someday the MSM will be revealed for what it is, a partisan hit group who is ideologically driven. What a shame they have abrogated their duties.

Ellen K said...

There's an op/ed piece in Sunday's Dallas Morning News discussing how history will judge George Bush. The article points out how wrong many people were in their judgments, especially the mainstream media. Part of the reason Bush 43 was so disdained is that he truly was from outside the Beltway. He's a cowboy in the best light of the term. He is too loyal-Scott McClellan being a prime example. But the New York/Celebrity crowd always liked to make him into some sort of failed eldest scion of a wealthy family. Frankly, I doubt even legacies graduate from Yale. They may get in, but they don't graduate. And they surely don't get Master's degrees. He's run companies and I think in the beginning he had visions of trying to streamline government into a model of an efficient machine. When you consider the body blows of 9/11 and Katrina within a very short span of time, the fact that we aren't on the brink of civil war is absolutely amazing. I think he will go down in history as someone similar to Truman-his own man, true to himself, and someone who honestly tried to do the right thing. I would just wonder down the line if the next president will really be able to do much better.

Donalbain said...

I would say that anyone who thinks you can "take the measure of someone himself by looking them in the eye", is, by definition not very smart at all. After all, look how well it worked when he looked into Putin's soul.

Carson said...

If you read the book Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell you can read another flattering firsthand report of the President. Luttrell was a SEAL and was personally presented a commendation in the oval office, and was clearly impressed by the President's character.