Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dear Mike, I don't wish George W. Bush ill, I just wish him goodbye and good riddance

Dear Rod,

For the last eight years, President Bush has led our country with firm determination and a steady hand in the face of numerous challenges and crises. He restored honor and integrity to the White House and protected America from another terrorist attack.

As President and Mrs. Bush prepare to leave Washington in a few weeks to return to Texas, I know I speak for Republicans and grassroots leaders across America when I say we are all grateful for their tremendous service to our country. To show our appreciation for our Commander-in-Chief, the RNC is asking every Republican to sign an electronic card that will be presented to President Bush before he leaves office. It is the least each of us can do to show our gratitude to the leader of our country and our Party.

And if you can, Rod, I hope you will also consider giving a gift to keep our Party strong and moving forward. Your secure online contribution of $1,000, $500, $100, $50 or $25 will go a long way toward helping the RNC provide the support our Republican leaders need to fight the Democrats' liberal agenda and prepare for the vital 2009-2010 elections.

I hope you will add your name to the RNC's Thank You card to President Bush and Laura Bush today. And thank you for your continued support of our Party and our cause.

Best Wishes,

Robert M. "Mike" Duncan
Chairman, Republican National Committee

P.S. Rod, in order for your name to be included on the RNC's Thank you e-card to President and Mrs. Bush, you must reply to this e-mail by January 15th. Please click here to sign the President's Thank You card and to make a secure online gift to help strengthen our Party for the battles ahead. Thank you.

Dear Mike,

Thank you for your kind letter but I must decline the opportunity to send a donation to the RNC at this time, and I am not going to sign the e-card thanking President Bush for his service. Although I made several contributions to the McCain campaign and the RNC during the election, I am withholding future donations until I see who is elected the new chairman of the RNC. Frankly, Mike, since you represent the old guard of Bush loyalist, I will be less likely to contribute to the RNC if you are re-elected chairman.

I don’t personally know you, and you may be a good guy, but I want a clean break from the Bush years and a new beginning for the party. You see, I have been a disgruntled Republican these last few years and instead of wanting to show my appreciation to President Bush, I am sighing relief that we survived his presidency. I am certainly not celebrating that Obama is being inaugurated President, but I almost feel like celebrating that Bush is leaving office. I want to forget that Bush ever happened.

I must disagree with several things you say in your letter. First of all, you say that Bush has restored honor and integrity to the White House. I don’t quite see it that way. Sure, Bill Clinton was shady and there were allocations about questionable land deals and shake-down of contributors and association with shady characters; but, Republicans have had Jack Abramoff and other scandals, so on balance, I don’t know that Bush has a claim to any greater integrity than Clinton.

If you are referring to Bill Clinton getting a blow job in the oval office, then I always thought that was a bit overblown. I know Clinton lied about it and committed perjury and that was an embarrassment, but it didn’t put the country at risk. At most, that was a personal failing. He betrayed Hillary, not the country. Bush may have a greater claim to personal moral purity than Clinton but I would not say that Bush restored honor and integrity to the office of President. In some ways, Bush brought more dishonor to the Office. Justifying and condoning torture dishonored our nation.

Bill Clinton embarrassed us by the blow job incident; Bush embarrassed us by just being George W. Bush. I am relieved that I will not have to see anymore “Great moments in Presidential Speeches.” One of the most embarrassing times I remember about GWB is when he nominated Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. She clearly was an unqualified person. I would have been embarrassed if our Metro Council had tried to put her on the bench as a General Sessions judge, and yet Bush wanted to put her on the Supreme Court. Bush always seemed to value loyalty over competence and if there is one word to describe his presidency it is “incompetence.”

You say that Bush has led us with “firm determination and a steady hand.” Is that just another way of saying he was bull headed and would not listen to reason? That is the way I see him.

You say that you know you speak for Republicans and grassroots leaders across America when you say we are all grateful for President Bush’s service to our country. You don’t speak for me. I am not grateful for Bush’s service. I think we would be better off if Bush had never been our president.

Don't get me wrong. I don’t hate Bush. I don’t wish him ill. Unlike many on the left, I don’t even think Bush is an evil person. But, he made some serious mistakes and shamed our nation. Maybe history will judge him more kindly than I now judge him. Two presidents who are now highly regarded, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt, committed offenses to our constitution and committed grave violation of our civil liberties and yet history treats them well, so history may treat Bush well. Who knows? We will have to wait and see.

I don’t think everything Bush did was wrong. There is much about his administration with which I agree and admire. He has some accomplishments which I think deserve praise. We can be proud of the assistance we have given Africa to fight AIDS. Bush appointed two supremely qualified solid conservatives to the Supreme Court. I generally agree with “no child left behind.” I agreed with Bush’s tax policy. There are other things that Bush tried to accomplish that were the right thing to do but he simply failed to pull them off. He tried to avert the housing crisis and rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but the Democrats in Congress defeated his proposed reforms. Comprehensive immigration reform, social security reform, and health care reform were the correct policies to pursue, and I was with him. On comprehensive immigration reform, I think Bush was right but he was defeated because he could not get the support of his own party.

I fault Bush for expanding entitlements with the Medicare prescription drug benefit. I fault him for run-away spending and failure to use the veto. I think he failed to show leadership and must accept part of the blame for the Katrina response. Most of all, I fault him for leading us into an unnecessary war based on faulty and manipulated intelligence. I am ashamed of illegal wire-tapping, extraordinary rendition, torture, and Abu Ghraib.

I don’t want Bush to be indicted. I don’t want investigations. I want to look forward and not backward. However, I don’t want to honor George W. Bush. I want my country’s honor restored and I hope the Grand Ole Party can find its soul. I don’t wish George W. Bush ill; I just wish him good-bye and good riddance.


Rod Williams

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  1. Rod,

    Thanks for putting these thoughts in writing. I couldn't have said it better myself.

    I am another of those "disgruntled Republicans" having endured being the black sheep, sole life-long Republican in my entire family.

    I'll go a little further though, saying that early on, I spotted Obama as a person who is the right guy at the right time, but for many of the wrong reasons.

    I too, wish GW a long and healthy retirement, but to honor the GOP is beyond my scope.

    Mind you, I once served as the Vice-Chair of the Rowan County, NC Young Republicans, and was even fired from a job when a "scheduling conflict" threatened to prevent me from my appointed rounds on the "Ford-Dole Campaign Blitz".

    I've sacrificed mightily for the GOP, however, I feel mightily let down by this same bunch of elephants, who'd rather look back than look forward.

    Now supporting Obama,
    Shari Thomas
    Beryl, UT

  2. Rod,
    Great letter. I'm linking it from my blog. I think many Republicans feels as you do.

  3. Very nice Rod. I can't hate Bush as a person like so many others do, but I certainly hate some of his policies. I think he is a decent man in terms of humanity and I always admired his warmth. It is his straying from true conservative policies and reason that I'm glad to see go.