Bush: No Regrets
Viewpoint: No regrets from a president who 'fell to the occasion'
By Ellen Goodman
December 26, 2008
What I can't "snap out of" is the fact that he (Bush) is preparing to write a book and design a library whose themes will undoubtedly be: "Heckuva job, George."
The 43rd president is going home with less remorse and fewer regrets than my grandchildren express for spilling their cereal.
This is the tenor of the farewell tour being conducted across the landscape from ABC to the American Enterprise Institute. It's the No Regrets Tour, the nonreflective "reflections by a guy who's headed out of town. "
George W. Bush will be remembered with names such as Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and Katrina. With phrases such as "weapons of mass destruction" and "mission accomplished." He came in with a budget surplus and leaves with a massive deficit. He blew the good will of the post-9/11 world. But being this president means never having to say you're sorry.
Leaving office, he takes credit for seven years of safety and no debit for a day of disaster. He takes credit for the boom - "it's hard to argue against 52 uninterrupted months of job growth" - without taking responsibility for the deregulated bust. He takes credit for the surge, not the disastrous pre-emptive war.
"The biggest regret of all the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq," he said. But would he have led us to war anyway? "It's hard for me to speculate."
No. 43 has the lowest approval ratings in modern presidential history.
But he told Charlie Gibson, "I will leave the presidency with my head held high." This is what puts me between a rocking chair and a hard place.