Thus is Ron Fournier's latest piece aptly titled. And to buttress such a claim – that George Bush is a good man – Fournier begins with a sweet, sappy story about our sweet, sappy former president.
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer walked into the media cabin of Air Force One on May 24, 2002, and dropped identical envelopes in the laps of two reporters, myself and Steve Holland of Reuters. Inside each was a manila card – marked by a small presidential seal and, in a simple font, “THE PRESIDENT.”What a contrast, indeed. Except, here's the real contrast: George W. Bush treated those in the press corps who stood for him with incredible humility and grace while lying through his teeth to send those soldiers who stand for our country into a disastrous war.
Handwritten in the tight script of President George W. Bush, both notes said essentially the same thing: “Thank you for the respect you showed for the office of the President, and, therefore, the respect you showed for our country.”
What had we done? Not much, really. An hour earlier, at a rare outdoor news conference in Germany, Steve and I decided to abide by the U.S. media tradition of rising from our seats when the president entered our presence. The snickering German press corps remained seated. “What a contrast!” Bush wrote. “What class.”
Here's the contrast: while he wrote a thank-you note to Fournier, he signed off on establishing torture as a legitimate national pursuit.
Here's the contrast: while he recognized the humanity of a few journalists at an outdoor presser, he ignored the humanity of those abandoned outside, homeless and starving, in Katrina's wake.
I don't care if Bush is a "good" man in his private life. I don't want to hear about how he's a good father or husband or dog-owner.
Any man who lies to send soldiers to their death and begins a systematic torture program is not a good man.