Delivering the final commencement address of his tenure, President Bush told supporters and protesters at Furman University here Saturday that he was far from "a model citizen" when he left college but that "it is never too late to recover and get back on track."
In a lighthearted speech peppered with personal details, Bush also urged graduates to embrace "a culture of responsibility" and referred to his drinking problems as a younger man. The topic has become something of a touchstone for Bush during his last year in office.
I can see Bush, sitting on a few corporate boards, and traveling around giving speeches on how he turned his life around by giving up drink and embracing the Lord, collecting huge bucks all the while. Yes, he wrecked the country and demonstrated himself too massively incompetent to be anything more than a manager of a fast food restaurant, but that's a trifle. The important thing is the personal example he has set.
And continues to set. He ought to be derided. He ought to be held up as an example of everything wrong with this country, of pandering to cluelessness, empty flag waving, superficial gregariousness masking a rock solid core of venality, worship of the common and cheap, taking the easy road. But because he really is an example of what's wrong with this country, and because ugly people don't like looking in the mirror, the Bush presidency will not be subject to the scrutiny it deserves. People will want to move on with things, and sweep this fool under the carpet, where he will collect mega-bucks in return for telling people all he knows about "redemption," and how they can profit by doing the same thing. It's not the correct ending for the story of this charlatan of a man, but it's a fitting one.