George Bush, Jed Bartlett and the American Presidency

George Bush, Jed Bartlett and the American Presidency

George Bush (43) was in over his head. If you read between the lines of his book, Decision Points you will discover a man searching for meaning in the most significant years of his life and eight very consequential years for our country.

Bush considers the tax cuts of 2001 (EGTRRA), which colloquially bear his name, one of his legislative achievements. Many consider those tax cuts one piece of the puzzle that led to the financial crisis of 2008.

At the very least, they were tax cuts that benefited those at the top of the economic ladder at the expense of those below and a dam in the country's revenue stream.

Two of the worst decisions Bush made were named Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfield. Those two decisions led to an avalanche of other bad decisions, the most egregious of which was the invasion of Iraq.

In my opinion, George W. Bush was the least qualified president of modern times, from Franklin D. Roosevelt through Barack Obama. That being said, if he walked into a room in which I was sitting, I would immediately rise and greet him as Mr. President.

If G.W. (Dubya) invited me down to Prairie Chapel Ranch for a barbecue, I would be on the next available flight. Dubya is a decidedly likeable fellow and one with whom I would very much enjoy clinking beer mugs.

While making a slew of bad decisions and driving an agenda with which I strongly disagreed, Dubya maintained a sense of his place in history and the office he held. He wasn't the most statesmanlike example of a president, but he understood the significance of the office for which every president is a placeholder.

Like the Obamas, the Bushes were an exemplary role model for American families.

Jed Bartlett was the fictional president of the TV show, West Wing (1999 - 2006). The miracle of Netflix has allowed me to revisit that show, savoring each episode. It provides me temporary shelter from mostly disheartening news cycles.

West Wing offered an inside, albeit fictional look at the relationships among the people closest to President Jed Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen. It highlighted their dedication, their motivations and their unwavering devotion to the president they loved.

One episode featured the lead up to President Bartlett's first State of the Union address. A minor cabinet official was selected to sit out the speech in case a catastrophic event killed everyone in the joint session of Congress who was in the line of succession ahead of that person.

President Bartlett assured that person that he would be OK if circumstances thrust him into the role of president. Bartlett asked him if he had a best friend, one who was smarter than him and one whom he could trust with his life.

Bartlett told him that would be the right selection for Chief of Staff.

Through all of the triumphs and tribulations of his administration, President Barlett's reverence for the office he held was unmistakable.

Donald Trump didn't know his Chief of Staff, Reince Priebus two years ago.  It was clear during the primaries that Priebus was uncomfortable with the idea of Donald Trump becoming the Republican Party's nominee for the office of President.

Priebus has accepted Trump's ascension to power, but Trump seems to trust only his daughter, Ivanka. To his detriment, he also believes that he is always the smartest person in the room.

Trump's major flaw may be that he thinks his presidency is about him. The last president who saw himself that way was Richard Nixon.

If Donald Trump walked into a room in which I was sitting, I would stand up and address him as Mr. President. I would, however feel queasy about doing it and I might have a difficult time concealing my disdain for the man.

Trump has disrespected the office he now holds in more ways than I can recount here. He has disrespected the institutions of this nation and the American people.

Before you leap to his defense, you should consider all the reasons you may have voted for Donald Trump. Consider, too that he has already abandoned or failed to keep each and every promise he ever made to you.

This president seems to believe in nothing and understands very little. He and his slew of alternative facts challenge your faith in our system.

The truth, Mr. President is that you've had one of the LEAST successful first 13 weeks in office. Saying the opposite does not make it true.

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