Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Laura and I have been having a wonderful time touring Africa and letting the folks there know that America will be doing all it can to fight AIDS and malaria in an effort to save the lives of millions of the poorest in that continent. It has been a rewarding time for us as we experience exotic cultures and meet fascinating people and so far, we’re loving every minute. More about that later.
Then I receive the news that Fidel Castro, the communist dictator from Cuba, has decided to resign after a long bout with illness. Normally, I’d be exuberant about such a momentous turn in the history of that country. But from what I’ve heard, Mr. Castro won’t be completely out of the picture. His brother, Raul Castro, a comparatively younger 78 years old, will take the reigns and will deliver more of the same.
So, this is a bittersweet moment It’s kind of like when all those Soviet leaders would drop like flies, only to be replaced by a new one. Just like those Russian dolls.
Actually, Laura informs me that Russian dolls aren’t a good analogy since they’re all contained one inside another. I tell you, the First Lady is one smart cookie. Being a former librarian, she really knows how to spot a bad analogy miles ahead of when I inadvertently blurt one out. That’s why I love my little Lolo (don’t tell her I let you in on that little tidbit).
The man’s been around forever, so it’s about time he step aside and perhaps, God willing, we can crack open the door even just a little to see some change in the right direction for Cuba. Democracy? A capitalist-style economy à la China? We can only hope.
Just saw myself dancing on CNN again during one of our visits with the tribal dancers. I really need to practice my moves. Yikes.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I’m under a bit of stress right now because the Democratic-run Congress has failed to follow suit with the Senate to extend the domestic surveillance program against terrorists.
Now, there’s this whole issue that the Democrats have been bringing up about privacy and civil rights and fears about the government abusing the system, as if we really were interested in finding out if some Molly from Boise is thinking of leaving her husband or that we’ll keep records on some other personal conversations among law-abiding citizens. That’s just completely false. The FBI and the CIA couldn’t care less about Molly, her marital problems, what she had for breakfast or other trivial matters that don’t concern national security. Unless Molly’s real name is Muamar Al-Baraqi and she’s got an IED stuffed in her bra, we’re not interested in monitoring regular citizens. We’re out there trying to catch terrorists.
I want to make it clear that terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda don’t fight clean. They fight dirty. Real dirty. There is no time to call up a judge and get a tap cleared on a phone line. We need to act like yesterday. If we want to win this war on terror, we need the tools that let us get down in the mud and fight these maniacs on their level. And I ain’t talking about the fun kind of mud-fighting involving bikinis and such. This is serious business. America has no room to act all goody two shoes. We have to hit below the belt. Our surveillance program is a swift kick in the grapes to these bastards and I intend to do all I can to ensure we win (pardon my French).
Chase is recommending that I should try out some meditation and breathing exercises whenever I start to get stressed (like when the Democrats start pulling political moves like letting this program lapse). I’m not too sure, though. Sounds a little fruity to me.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
I consider myself to be the luckiest man in the world. I’ve always said that even if every person in the world were to criticize and abandon me, as long as I have Laura right beside me, I wouldn’t change a thing I believe.
Valentine’s Day reminds me every year of the profound grace of God in giving me the most precious and steadfast partner a man like myself could ever hope for.
So for this year, I’d like to extend my best wishes to every American this Valentine’s Day and that you all may find love, security and prosperity. Please take the time to tell someone you love them.
I know I love my little Lolo more than anything in this world. Actually, she hates it when I call her that. Don’t let her know I just dropped that little tidbit.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
There’s no father prouder of his children than I am. I can say that without exaggeration. To me, my daughters Jenna and Barbara are my pride and joy. And like most teenagers, they’ve made their share of mistakes. But I’m hard pressed to be that upset about it since I did things during my youth that I’m not proud of either. I realize that it’s all part of growing up.
Unfortunately for Jenna, unlike myself, she’s had to make her mistakes in the public eye. But since then, she’s matured and shown great resilience in the face of public scrutiny, and on balance, she’s proven herself to be a virtuous, honorable and compassionate woman beyond reproach.
Anyhoo, you all should know by now that my Jenna’s engaged to Henry Hager. Henry worked with Karl for a while and he met Jenna during my campaign back in ’04. Laura and I kind of suspected there was something going on there for a while, but I kept the ol’ eagle eye on him. If he was going to come out and say that he was courting Jenna, I wanted to be ready.
Finally, Henry and Jenna finally admitted that they were a couple. Being leader of the free world, I decided I’d take advantage of the situation and have a little fun with my new bestest buddy Henry. I knew Laura would kill me, but this opportunity may never come again. This is every father’s fantasy scenario and I wasn’t going to let this one pass me by.
I had Henry come by the Oval Office for a little ‘chat’. As soon as he walked through the door, I had the Secret Service surround him and ask him pointed questions. You should have seen the look on his face. Priceless. After about thirty seconds, I just laughed and called them off, put my arm around his shoulder reassuringly and said, “Welcome to the family, Henry.” I swear he was ready to change into a new pair of shorts right then and there.
As expected, when Jenna and Laura found out, they were livid. I told them the agents didn’t even lay a finger on him. No guns drawn, nothing. I just wanted to put a tiny scare into him. Henry was great about it afterwards. I even apologized, but he said it wasn’t necessary. I have nothing but respect for him now. It must have been at least a couple of days before my girls cooled off after the whole affair.
It was worth it.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Okay. So I’ve gotten some pretty nasty blowback about comments I made about Senator Obama’s foreign policy agenda. I wasn’t even completely aware of what I had said till a staffer pointed me to some YouTube clip of me while I was on Fox News Sunday.
Anyhoo, I was asked about Senator Obama and foreign policy and frankly, being the busy man that I am, I could only recall a couple of statements he made about Pakistan and Iran’s leader (I’m not even going to bother typing out his name, there’s probably twenty ways I could misspell it).
Could I have been too dismissive of the Senator’s limited foreign policy experience? It’s possible. My position is that this whole kerfuffle has been blown out of proportion, though. But if I got his positions wrong, well, I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m all about the facts. ‘Factual Dubya’ they called me back at Yale. Well, actually they didn’t, but they would have, because I’m all about the facts.
And the fact is that Senator Obama, as brilliant and as inspirational a speaker that he is, he just hasn’t been around the block long enough to have any idea how to deal with people like these guys. At best, he is naive. And that can spell trouble for America’s foreign policy.
Let me make it clear. I respect the Senator. Just the idea of an African-American rising to the position that he’s in shows that America’s moved forward in defeating a great deal of this country’s racist past. I am proud to see that happening in my lifetime. But we can’t afford inexperienced judgement when it comes to the War on Terror in this post 9/11 world.
Chase has just reminded me that Valentine’s Day is coming up. Laura’ll kill me if I wind up empty-handed. Don’t wanna go there.
The past seven years have had their ups and downs. I don’t think there’s ever been a presidency that hasn’t had more than its fair share of challenges, especially in a second term. Bill Clinton had the Monica Lewinsky affair. Even the great Ronald Reagan with whom my dad served had to deal with Iran-Contra. And of course, we all know about Nixon.
Now, I’m not about to let history get the best of me. I can’t let the doom and gloom of the past affect me. I’m not thinking about legacy. The words ‘lame duck’ aren’t anywhere in my vocabulary (well, you could apply ‘lame’ to the Grammys, but that’s a whole other blog). I’m keeping myself on-track and will continue to serve out my term as best as I can for the American people, their prosperity and their security.
Now Chase has been a bit sheepish about suggesting that I may be carrying around some (I don’t know how to spell the word and I can’t find the dictionary on this thing) … well, let’s just say that he’s worried that I may have doubts about how history will judge my administration. But I don’t worry. “Chase,” I tell him, “you’re a good man and I appreciate your concern, but as long as I’m not worried, you shouldn’t be either.” And that’s that.
I have a country to run, and there’s no time to boo-hoo over bad press and low approval numbers. Heck. What does it say when I’m more popular than Congress? What did they get? Eleven percent? My guess is that root canal surgery is more popular than the House of Representatives. Root canal surgery AND watching the Grammys. Just sad.
In the immortal words of Eva Perrón: don’t cry for me, America.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Or at least 95% of the way there.
Right on the heels of Super Tuesday, it’s looking like John is wrapping up the show. With Governor Romney bowing out, our guys only have a serious contender in Mike Huckabee. Ron Paul? Let’s not go there.
My good friend Chase has stressed to me the importance of laying it all out there, but I want to be careful about putting all my cards on the table given my position. But here goes.
Like most of my fellow Republicans, when I first saw the field of potential nominees, I was worried. Especially if you look at how energized the Democrats have been with their two front runners, the choices on our side are less than inspiring. Many have conceded that the odds are stacked against us.
I’m an optimist. This past Friday at CPAC, I did my best to encourage fellow conservatives to rally behind the nominee whoever that may turn out to be. I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist to figure out whom I was talking about.
I’m not stupid (contrary to popular belief) in knowing that John’ll be a tough sell. Heck, it’s not like John and I are golf buddies or anything, especially after whooping his butt during the primaries back in 2000 (I still don’t think he’s ever gotten past the blowup during the debates). But that’s politics. Tough cookies.
I will say this for John. He backs me on Iraq. I’m not ready to say that that’s enough to make me all fuzzy inside, but it’s a start.
I’ll have more to say about this later. But right now, Laura’s heated me up some cheddar tater tots and all I’ve had to eat since this morning was a handful of Tic Tacs from a Secret Service agent.
Friday, February 8, 2008
It’s probably no surprise, but a man in my position has to deal with a lot of stress. I have to make decisions that affect the lives of literally millions of people. As much as I try to shake off some of the less enjoyable aspects of the job, some days are tougher than others.
So my wife Laura suggested I meet up with a friend of hers. His name is Chase. Sounds like a soap opera name. In any case, Laura told me Chase was a good guy to talk to. I won't tell you what Chase does for a living, but suffice it to say, he’s a good listener. Chase told me I should have some kind of outlet for my thoughts. Get them out in the open so that I can deal with a lot of the issues I face on a daily basis.
He suggested a weblog. I had no idea what he was talking about. I’ve heard about these weblogs, though I’ve never taken time to read any. But Chase, being a real good guy and a kind of wiz when it comes to these technical things, showed me.
Actually, this ain’t so bad so far. So I’m going to see how getting my thoughts out in the open’ll help me deal with the day-to-day. My good friend Chase may be on to something.