Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back in Texas

Did you see George W. Bush's speech to a "Welcome Home" rally in Midland, Texas, today? The video is available on the C-SPAN website.

I forget who this was, but someone was commenting a while back about Bush's seeming inability to express himself well, in Washington, DC. They were contrasting it to his style while governor of Texas. Not only was he reelected to that job, but his performance set him up, in the eyes of enough of his fellow Republicans, to get him nominated for the presidency.

Once in Washington, however, he seemed constantly to have trouble expressing himself, and projecting an image of ease and self-confidence in his presidential role. Yes, he was also reelected to that job, but by the narrowest of margins, and he was unable to maintain that support for very long.

Now, he's back in Texas. In that speech in Midland today, he seemed more at ease than I've seen him in at least eight years. Perhaps it reflects a sense of relief any former president must feel when the burdens of office are passed to someone else. But I think there was more than that. He had his drawl back, and was in a milieu in which he obviously felt comfortable.

What does all this mean?

When he couldn't get his voice in gear, that might have been his body telling him, and us, that Washington wasn't where he should have been. Had he stayed in Texas, continued as governor, maybe gone back into business, he could have kept on being good old "W" from Texas.

I'm very critical of his performance as president. But I stop well short of what his more extreme opponents say.

He's not an evil man. He's not stupid. I think the bottom line is that there was a mismatch of person and job.

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