I’m still alive, but with all this grading and after having just moved, just barely. There have been a lot of things going on, many of which I’d like to comment on, but I just haven’t had the time.
I’ll be going to some friends’ house in about an hour to watch the inauguration on television. It’s going to be a good feeling to see a man take office whom I actually respect. I’ve been trying to convince everyone in Beirut that nothing bad will happen to Obama and that their fears of assassination are just a projection of Lebanese politics, but I have to say that I’ve secretly been thinking that all this talk of Lincoln is just bad mojo.
In any case, insh’allah khaïr. And while you’re waiting for Obama to be sworn in, you can remind yourself why this is such a good change:
George W. Bush, who barely scraped into office but ran a presidency marked by executive hubris, imperial overreach and epic incompetence, leaves the stage on Tuesday to a national and global sigh of relief. The “decider” and self-styled “war president” who relied on his gut got many things terribly wrong, even if it is fair to say he did face some extraordinary challenges.
With his preternatural ebullience, fathomless lack of curiosity and disdain for empirical reality, Mr Bush compromised America’s reputation as a power that stands by the rule of law – giving real succour to an enemy he helped multiply.
After offering himself to voters as a conciliatory and compassionate conservative, he deliberately polarised US politics in search of a durable new Republican majority. After preaching humility in foreign policy, he preferred unilateralism and superficial muscularity.