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Thursday, June 26, 2003

Lord knows I hate giving President Bush much credit for, well, anything, but the initial tone of this MeFi post seems a bit unfair to me. This is something I've seen once in a while -- that when Bush received the news on 9-11-01 (we've all seen the photo of White House Chief-of-Staff Andrew Card whispering into his ear), he merely sat there for another few minutes reading to the elementary kids in front of him. I'm not sure what else he could have done, though -- information was probably sketchy at that point, and he probably didn't want to scare the children there or give them an idea that something was grossly wrong.

I'm likewise not willing to criticize him for going to a secure location before returning to Washington that night. In fact, while I think that Bush has mucked up pretty much everything he's put his hands on since he took office, I do think that his leadership in the immediate aftermath of that horrid day was about as good as any President could have given. It's tempting to undervalue those things he did -- speeches and whatnot -- but there is a vital, ceremonial aspect to the Presidency (something which Jimmy Carter, for example, failed to understand when he tried things like carrying his own luggage in his early days in office). For that brief period, in my view, Bush got the tone of being President right, especially in his speech to Congress a week after the attacks.

(I do think that the aircraft-carrier landing was a complete embarrassment, though. But that's something else entirely.)

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