And when the nation's financial institutions were crumbling, I am convinced that only President Bush really understood the emergency need for action to stabilize the situation. In his typical droll style, he warned leaders that "this sucker might go down."
Liquidity was freezing up, but more importantly, confidence in our nation's financial institutions was declining so quickly that most of them would have lost almost all of their investors had not drastic action been taken. You can bet Barack Obama knows that now. It is clear through his comments.
Has the bailout been implemented properly? I made my thoughts clear about that in my last column. But again, the point is that a president delegates duties to those he trusts. If they choose to operate in a secretive and ineffective manner, then it is they who have failed, and not the president.
As a pollster, I can't honestly write a column saying that George W. Bush is now viewed as a successful president. What I can say is that many of the current concepts we have about this president may prove, as time passes, to have been incorrect.
One thing I do know is that since 9/11, no major act of terrorism has happened on American soil. I am guessing we will come to learn just how hard the president worked to keep the nation safe. And President-elect Obama recently said that this is the most important priority for a president.
Every time I have written a column even slightly kind toward President Bush, I have been bled to death with the cuts of a thousand objecting e-mails, often from conservatives who normally agree with my opinions.
So I'll end with a simple public response to President Bush's kind letter and say, "Thank you, Mr. President." And as years pass by, it's my guess we might be thanking George Bush more than we can imagine today. Not for any letter he's written, but for his service to our nation. Time will judge.