On the evening of January 20, 2009 the former president arrived home in Midland, Texas to a warm reception given by his friends and supporters. After eight years in exile in Washington, Mr. Bush made no attempt to hide is exuberance at finally being back in the town where he was raised and in the state that gave birth to and shaped his values. “Laura and I may have left Texas, but Texas never left us,” he told the gathered crowd. “I’m coming home with my head held high and a sense of accomplishment.”
Mr. Bush deserves more than the patronizing nod he received from President Obama on Inauguration Day. He has earned the thanks of a grateful nation who eventually will come to appreciate his firm resolve in the execution of his office.
While the mainstream media was focusing the attention of the nation on the missteps of the prosecution of the war in Iraq, George W. Bush was focused on closing the achievement gap between white and minority students in our nation’s public schools, providing a prescription drug benefit for our seniors, cutting taxes for everybody who pays taxes in the United States of America, saving the lives of millions around the world through the funding of malaria and HIV/AIDS initiatives, maintaining the constitutional integrity of the Supreme Court through the appointments Samuel Alito and John Roberts, and liberating 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan from the clutches of tyranny through his unwavering commitment to the guiding principle of his administration: “The strong have an obligation to defend the weak. Freedom is a universal gift of an Almighty God, and America should use its influence to be a force for good in the world.”
Like most of his predecessors who went to sleep the most powerful man in the free world and woke up the next morning “an ordinary citizen,” Mr. Bush isn’t certain what the post-presidency holds for him. “Tomorrow I plan on having a relaxing morning in Crawford,” he told the crowd in Midland.
After bearing the burdens of the presidency for eight years, engaging an enemy unlike any that any president has ever confronted, keeping the American people safe and free, enduring the daily maligning of his character from the most partisan media in history, it is proper that Mr. Bush relish every day of his post-presidency in the warmth and understanding which can be found only at home.
After watching him endure the crucible of the presidency, who among us can begrudge that Mr. Bush is finally home, “free finally of his burdens, his conscience ‘neat and easy’”?