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File Under: What?! President Obama to award George H.W. Bush the Presidential Medal of Freedom

November 19, 2010

The New York Daily News reports:

President Obama dropped a bipartisan bombshell today, announcing he will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom next year to ex-President George H.W. Bush.

The magnanimous gesture of bestowing the nation’s highest civilian honor to the 41st U.S. President came a day after ex-President George W. Bush gave a respectful nod to Obama at the groundbreaking of his library in Dallas.

I think President Obama wants to work with the GOP, and this is a gesture indicating this desire. However, one must wonder at the justification President Obama is using for this award. It must also call into question Obama’s insistence (which I think is correct) that Bush’s policies hurt the nation and that the problems Obama faces come as a major result from Bush’s presidency. If Bush’s conduct hurt the nation so much, how can he be given an award indicating the reverse? What does this say about Obama’s criticism of Bush? We have seen Obama not only continuing most of the policies he once criticized, but strengthening them. Indeed, one can see his policies have, in many ways, become worse. For example, the current controversy around the TSA can only be understood if one remembers the progressive increase in TSA’s power under Bush’s reign.  While Bush and his supporters used security as justification for dehumanizing invasions of privacy, it is now in Obama’s hands. That these invasions are getting worse, that human dignity is thrown aside for “safety”  probably would have also happened under a McCain Presidency — but, it should not have happened under an Obama one. Obama knew better — he criticized this mentality before being elected. And if he knew better and acts against his better knowledge, he is more culpable and blameworthy than those who did not.

*Update* Yes, as per the comments, I did, in my quick reading of the news report early in the morning, confuse the two Presidents — and at first thought this was about GW Bush and not his father. I should have known better; I usually do not make this mistake between the two. But I do think the question as to why Obama would do this remains.

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7 Comments
  1. digbydolben permalink
    November 19, 2010 4:31 am

    We were, after all, warned about Obama by his pastor, whom he “threw under the bus”: “Obama? He’s just another politician.”

    Don’t worry, though, he’ll probably be gone in four years and replaced by something much, much worse.

    Americans, it seems, can only learn the hard way, and will wake up and smell the coffee only when there’s no middle class left in their country at all. Here come the corporate pirates and the “banksters,” back to the helm–and all because Obama secretly craved their approval so much that he was willing to “compromise” with them.

  2. November 19, 2010 6:48 am

    Wait, George H.W. is the father of George W. I think Henry your post reads as if Obama were giving it to George W. He is not (I think).

  3. David Nickol permalink
    November 19, 2010 7:19 am

    If Bush’s conduct hurt the nation so much, how can he be given an award indicating the reverse? What does this say about Obama’s criticism of Bush? . . . . For example, the current controversy around the TSA can only be understood if one remembers the progressive increase in TSA’s power under Bush’s reign.

    The award is to “41″ — George H. W. Bush (January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993). It is not to “43″ — George W. Bush (January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009). The TSA was created in November 2001 by congress and George W. Bush, years after George H. W. Bush left office.

    Besides George H. W. Bush, the other fourteen recipients include Maya Angelou, Warren Buffett, Stan “The Man” Musial, Angela Merkel, and Yo-Yo Ma.

    That these invasions are getting worse, that human dignity is thrown aside for “safety” probably would have also happened under a McCain Presidency — but, it should not have happened under an Obama one.

    I think way too much fuss is being made over airport scanners and pat-downs. People who object to airport security should go Greyhound.

    • November 19, 2010 7:44 am

      David

      As for airport security, no, I do not think too much fuss is being made. What is being done is excessive. It is easy to say “just take Greyhound.” But what happens when security is enchanced with Greyhound? “Just walk it?” These policies do not help, but hinder, human dignity, and the invasion of privacy, once accepted, only helps move us forward to the kind of state which has no interest in the dignity of the human person but its own interests alone. We are becoming that which we fought against in the Cold War — at least the worst aspects of it.

  4. November 19, 2010 7:37 am

    You are right; this is what happens when I’ve had a couple nights where I just can’t sleep, and I read news reports early in the morning. I can be quite fallible indeed, and so this is my mistake. Instead of changing the original post, causing confusion when people read the comments, I will leave it as it is to show I do make mistakes.

    Nonetheless, I do not think either Bush is worthy of such an honor, and I think the second Bush followed through with many of the ideas which were beginning under his father’s presidency. I still question the award, and wonder what exactly was done for it to be given.

  5. Cindy permalink
    November 19, 2010 11:26 am

    I am looking over the usual Catholic blogs that I read and I see nothing about the Pope’s statements that he calls for guaranteed healthcare for all.
    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1004736.htm

  6. November 21, 2010 9:05 pm

    I think there was confusion in the original news story, at least the link that I originally saw. The story itself said H.W. and included a picture of him, not Dubya, but when I posted it to Facebook, the headline that appeared there read Dubya and the picture that appeared was of Dubya, not H.W.

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