Huzzah! It's George's birthday. No, not that George. The real George. He used to have his own holiday just ten days after Abraham Lincoln's, remember? Then someone got the bright idea to lump 'em together.
On this year's weekend-extender, aka President's Day (or is it Presidents' Day?), current-time George took a helicopter to Mount Vernon for yet another photo op. And he was moved to set aside his "I'm just like Harry Truman" obsession in order to draw improbable parallels between his indomitable will and that of George Washington. I'm thinking Junior needs to move on in his search for a historical soulmate. Millard Fillmore comes to mind. Frankly, there is nothing'"repeat--nothing even remotely the same about the George of the people's American Revolution and the George of Bush's War on Iraq.
Here's what Junior said on the grounds of George Washington's home. (Highlighting is mine.)
"On the field of battle, Washington's forces were facing a mighty empire, and the odds against them were overwhelming. The ragged Continental Army lost more battles than it won, suffered waves of desertions, and stood on the brink of disaster many times. Yet George Washington's calm hand and determination kept the cause of independence and the principles of our Declaration alive. [ . . . ]
"In the end, General Washington understood that the Revolutionary War was a test of wills, and his will was unbreakable. After winning the war, Washington did what victorious leaders rarely did at the time. He voluntarily gave up power."
Washington's retirement didn't last long, Bush noted. "As president, George Washington understood that his decisions would shape the future of our young nation and set precedent. He formed the first Cabinet, appointed the first judges, and issued the first veto."
Cue the spooky music. Foreshadowing. Looks like Junior's delusion du jour is that he walks in the George Washington's footsteps. Surely Junior can't be that dense or even that thick. Can he? Oh.
A few months ago, I read David McCullough's brilliant Washington biography, "1776." Before that, I had the impression that Washington was an arrogant patrician. Chalk it up to Gilbert Stuart and powdered wigs. By the time I finished McCullough's book, I'd done a 180 on the father of our country.
I was struck by Washington's humility and his humanity. He believed that prisoners of war should be treated humanely (though in fairness, that didn't always happen). Reading letters penned by his officers, the troops and others, I was surprised at the breadth and depth of loyalty and admiration he engendered among them. He wasn't perfect (among other things, he owned slaves), but he knew that about himself.
The contrast between the 1700s' George and today's pretender George could not be more stark. Consider the following:
~ George Washington reportedly 'fessed up about the cherry tree episode. Junior has steadfastly lied about pretty much everything.
~ George Washington served his country in the military for an extended period of time. Furthermore, he was with his troops in the field during deadly combat, lethal epidemics and weather from hell. Junior toughs it out in his "beautiful White House" while his troops are blown to bits in Baghdad, with some injured survivors being flown to Walter Reed Hospital for a little R&R.
~ George Washington earned the trust and respect of thousands'"his peers, the men under his command and ultimately, the citizens of the United States. Junior has attracted the sycophantic devotion of Joe Lieberman, John McCain and Michele Bachmann.
~ George Washington owned and lamented his mistakes, which during the Revolution were many. He repeatedly acknowledged that he was in over his head and more than once, he tried to resign his position as commander of the Continental Army. He frequently sought the wisdom and counsel of others. He prayed often and humbly for the Almighty's guidance. Junior believes he is the Almighty.
~ George Washington was an intelligent, honorable man of great integrity.
Fill in the blanks: George Bush is to George Washington as _________ is to __________.