As I watched George W. Bush speak to the media in what was billed as his last press conference ever, I was struck by how much the two-term president revealed.
Bush must have known this last appearance before the press corps would become a much-scrutinized part of history.
So what did he do? He slumped, he squinted, he contorted his face and mocked his detractors with a fake whiny voice. His rambling thoughts trailed off into nothingness or built to angry, self-pitying crescendos when he talked about anyone who dared criticize his actions or his motives.
In summing up his eight years in office, Bush was proudly unreflective.
You can check out some of the “highlights” of his talk from Talking Points Memo here.
And so much for the reports that Bush has managed to ignore his resoundingly bad reviews – he became most defensive and visibly seethed when describing critics of his decision to invade Iraq or his disastrously slow response to Hurricane Katrina. Clearly, his thought processes were affected at key times – and not for the better – by the tremendous amount of criticism sent his way.
As Bush pouted and pointed his way through his final press conference, I thought, gee, I hope the other countries aren’t watching. But of course, they are. We’re America – you know, that country that Bush insists has not been harmed one bit by his leadership over the past eight years.
Yep, we’re America.
And we deserved so much better.
UPDATE: John Dickerson at Slate has a similar take.