I disagree with the President on illegal immigration but I can't honestly say that he "betrayed" me. Most of the stuff the base is mad about are things he openly championed in the 2000 race. He ran the most pro-Mexican, pro-federalization-of-education, pro-prescription-drugs-for-seniors campaign of any Republican Presidential candidate ever. The convention in Philadelphia was a non-stop riot of mariachi bands playing the Cucaracha alternating with cucaracha bands playing the Mariachi. I bumped into my own Senator, Bob Smith of New Hampshire, in downtown Philly and asked him how he was enjoying it. He said he'd tried to get in but he'd been denied entry. That's how multicultural and diversity-celebrating it was: guys with suspicious names like "Bob Smith" couldn't even get past security.
President Bush has, broadly speaking, governed as he said he would seven years ago. Unfortunately, a big bunch of sophisticated types in the Republican base told themselves, "Hey, don't worry. This 'compassionate conservative' mumbo-jumbo is just a cunning feint to sucker the media and the swing voters." Au contraire, he meant it.
There's a lesson there for Republicans.
Yes, he meant it. Go figure.
I think the "betrayal" rhetoric has been too much influenced by the other side of the aisle, who tend to ratchet up the histrionics whenever things don't go their way. OTOH, there is plenty of hysteria and exaggerated dramatics in our government to go around. I don't agree with Bush on immigration, but even when I lived in Texas I knew that it was an issue that was important to him. Why is everyone shocked?
Personally, I wish he'd do something about closing the borders and shutting down ALL immigration from EVERYWHERE for a few years until Congress comes up with a plan to control the influx of illegals and the monitoring of those here on student and other visas.
But hey! This is an imperfect world; and that fact isn't likely to change in the near future.
I wrote this about President Bush a few years back:
Many have accused me of idealizing President Bush, and while it is true that since 9/11, I admire him quite a bit, I hardly idealize him. On the contrary, what I find compelling about him are his obviously ordinary human qualities. He strikes me as a very REAL person--not a slick "persona" created by an ad agency; or a "celebrity" onto whom we project our own fantasies.
Bush does not pretending to be intellectually superior and can easily make fun of himself. Nor does it seem to matter much to him that everyone doesn't totally adore him. He tackles hard problems head on (which most politicians lack the courage to do) and perseveres in trying to fix them. He indeed "muddles along", misspeaks, and even screws up from time to time; but he presses on and actually gets things done.
That is what matters most to me.
I have seen no compelling reason to change my opinion that this is basically a good man who stands up for the issues he thinks are important. I don't always agree with the issues he stands up for, but he won me over with his initial tough stand against terrorism.
He has had a lot to deal with over the course of his presidency and, to say the least not everything has been handled with extreme competence. But we are a nation at war and I expect major mistakes will be made. Most of the emotionalism of the left and the media has focused on issues that frankly are trivial or irrelevant to me as a voter. I could care less about their rage toward Gonzales; I think Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame should go to jail for their self-aggrandizing and utterly deceitful behavior. They are just two pitiful clowns who history will erase from serious concern. I could go on about the manufactured "scandals" but you catch my drift.
No, if there is one thing I have to take issue with the President for, it is that he has chosen to "rise above it all" and not aggressively defend himself against all the deliberate falsehoods and malicious attacks that have come his way. As one of my friends has put it, "The man has a Christian martyr complex!"
I suppose he figures that history will ultimately judge him well (I think it will for all the missteps); or perhaps he feels that it is enough to help this country change course and go on the offensive against Islamofascism. Contrary to what meatheads like John Edwards think, the war on terror is quite a bit more than a bumper sticker.
At any rate, President Bush is still the man he always was: imperfect and human. You may not agree with him, but he says what he means and acts on it. WYSIWYG.
He will always be himself, honestly.