As much as I want to write about Boeing this morning, I am drawn to a different topic. Boeing has navigated through some pretty murky waters to announce a $1.11 Billion profit. Although revenue declined, profit increased, which is an indicator that McNerney is doing his job. He is running an operationally sound company. The battery situation has been solved and they will start delivering 787’s again. Keep that pension coming gang.
But the story I am thinking about this morning concerns former President George W. Bush. His library in Dallas opens this week, and both former President Clinton, and President Obama will both be in attendance. Several articles on CNN, in the WSJ, and in the Columbian were discussing the legacy of Bush. I still remember when 9/11 happened and Bush appeared on television and he had this look of panic on his face. Shortly thereafter during another appearance, the look of panic was replaced with the look of resolve. I think that will be something I will always remember about his Presidency.
The article that got me thinking about legacy this morning was written by Karl Rove. I am not a big Karl Rove fan, but this article was interesting. He explored W’s character. President Obama also alluded to Bush’s character when he stated that he knew that Bush loved America. I think all American Presidents love America, they just disagree about what America needs to further its interests.
First, I agree with Rove when he states that Bush was not flawless. None of us are perfect, and as such we all make mistakes. I am in the midst of a bit of a conflict right now, and my tendency is to want to vilify the person I am in conflict with. I even made a comment about the person that I did not believe they had the best interests in mind for the people affected by the events that have transpired. I have come to the conclusion that is not the case. Pretty vague huh!
The virtues of Bush, according to Rove, greatly overshadowed his flaws. So what are those virtues? Obviously Bush cared about the safety of Americans. He was deeply committed to the moral commitment of improving people’s lives. However, he may have agreed to immoral actions associated with interrogation methods, such as waterboarding, but his concern for American safety trumped the moral nature of actions used to obtain the information.
All of us thought Bush was a bit arrogant. I love his comment about his strut. “Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which is Texas is called walking.” I think that is hilarious. Rove discussed this in his article this morning, “Critics saw arrogance, but those around him experienced something different; a man with enough self confidence to encourage people to say what they believed, especially when they differed from his.” That is being a good leader.
Was Bush a perfect President? Nope, not even close! Will Hillary when she is elected (this is supposed to generate thought, not an endorsement) in 2016? Nope! Is Obama a perfect President now? Nope! However, when it comes to terrorism he is becoming more like Bush all the time.
The legacy of a President is discussed, debated, and decided years after they leave office. “In his biography of Harry Truman, David McCullough wrote that CBS newscaster Eric Sevareid ‘would say nearly 40 years later of Truman, I am not sure he was right about the atomic bomb, or even Korea. But remembering him reminds people what a man in that office ought to be like. It i character, just character. He stands like a rock in memory now.”
Can we say that about Bush? No, it is too early. We haven’t debated it enough. There will come a time when we will make conclusions about number 43. This raises a personal question about legacy. What will people say about me when I am gone? I think character is a critical in the equation. Knowing what I believe and acting in line with that belief is important. I think treating people with respect is important. Doing a good job is important. All I can do is do my best, and others will decide about my legacy – good or bad. Just like everyone else.
And that is my thought for the day!