Thursday, November 24, 2011

Finally Finished

A year ago I blogged about President George W. Bush's autobiography, Decision Points, at which point I was some 170 pages into.  (See those two posts here and here.)  With only a few chapters to go, I just set the book aside.  Only recently did I pick it up again and finish reading it.

It's a good book, especially for seeing the man and the plan behind all the policy decisions during his 8 years as president.  I did not feel he was especially good during his administration at communicating with the public, and so we were left at the mercy of the news media.  This books helps to explain his point-of-view.

President Bush in a nutshell?  Humble, putting the interests of the country above his own, willing to lead and make tough decisions, guided by principle and not public opinion, always giving credit where credit is due, honest about his failings.

Some points of interest for me included the following:

Admitting little knowledge of stem cells, he investigated the issue thoroughly and interviewed many scientists and lobbyists and religious men to learn all sides of the issue before reaching a decision he knew would be controversial but also he believed right.

Reading his side of the story with regards to the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina.  (Remembering his governorship days, he did not want the federal government stepping in with relief until he [the state] had asked for it.  He did not step in until Gov. Blanco signed off on it, though he did press her for a decision.)

Worst moment of his presidency: when it was suggested he was a racist because of the apparent slow response to Katrina.  That was “an all-time low.  I told Laura at the time that it was the worst moment of my presidency.  I feel the same way today.”  (326)

Biggest regret: "I wanted badly to bring bin Laden to justice.  The fact that we did not ranks among my great regrets."  (220)

Greatest achievement: "On 9/11, I vowed that I would do what it took to protect America, within the Constitution and laws of our nation.  History can debate the decision I made, the policies I chose, and the tools I left behind.  But there can be no debate about one fact: After the nightmare of September 11, America went seven and a half years without another successful terrorist attack on our soil.  If I had to summarize my most meaningful accomplishment as president in one sentence, that would be it."  (180-181)

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