Former President George W. Bush was in town last night, giving a speech before a crowd of about 1,000 at the University of Mobile’s scholarship benefit at the Arthur Outlaw Convention Center.
Bush offered an emotionally moving view of his two terms in office, and jokingly hawked his forthcoming book, “Decision Points.”
The memoir is due to hit bookshelves November 9, 2010—one week after the mid-term elections.
Bush was greeted with a standing ovation, spoke energetically for approximately 45 minutes, and was interrupted by applause on several occasions. The largest and longest such interruption came when he spoke about faith as a guiding principle:
“I have written a book. This will come as a shock to some of the elites. They didn’t think I could read a book, much less write one. It’s been an interesting experience. I’m not shilling for it -- aw, heck, you oughta buy a copy.”
“It’s about the decisions I made as president, and it’s very anecdotal. Here are the stories, and you can decide what you would have done. It’s not judgmental. It’s a book that tries to describe the environment in which I was honored to be your president.”
“I loved being your president. I do not miss the limelight. I have zero desire to be in the press. I have zero desire to be on your TV screens. Eight years is enough of that. [But] You’re not going to see me out opining or offering my critique. Frankly, I don’t think it’s good for the country to have a former president criticize his successor.”
“In 1944, if somebody said that one day Japan and the United States will be working in concert to keep the peace, they’d have called you a hopeless nut. But that person would not know what I have learned—that freedom is transformative. That an enemy can become an ally. And if the United States does not lose its nerve and forget its principle of the universality of freedom, the same thing is going to happen in the Middle East.
And some day, a generation of Americans is going to say, ‘thank God this generation did not lose faith in the transformative power of freedom.’”
“I came to Washington with a set of values. I got those from my faith, my family and where I was raised. And that became the cornerstone of my decision-making. You cannot lead a complex organization unless you have a set of principles that are inviolable.”
Amen. I had a slew of policy differences with President Bush. On education reform, Medicare, immigration and expansion of government, I and many other conservatives were appalled at what a Republican President was trying to do, and even more appalled at what he refused to do—stop letting the ruling establishment in Washington grow the size of government. This wasn’t Reaganism. It was Democrat-Lite. Losing sight of the ideal of limiting the growth of government got Republicans “fired” in 2006, and in 2008 led to the election of a man-child whose policies have increased the deficit three-fold.
But I never doubted the man’s love for his country, nor his sincere desire to see Liberty’s Torch light parts of the world that no one thought would ever be lit.
This man doesn’t apologize for what America stands for in the world.