As I sat and watched the inauguration in the comfort of my own home and the power of my DVR remote, many thoughts occurred to me. I watched as they showed George W. Bush a couple times and wondered what he thought of the speech. The statements in italics below struck me as indirect digs at Bush's inability to lead and his leaving this country in a state of disrepair not seen since the original depression.
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.
But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.
Was Bush wondering how it all could have gone wrong? Was he feeling bad about creating such a mess? He must have felt something because his speech as he landed in Texas a few hours later could have been taken as a bit defensive. You can read it here. I would probably feel terrible if the legacy I left after running a great country like the United States of America for 8 years was the highest unemployment since the troops came home from WWII, businesses closing their doors so fast we cannot keep up with the news, people losing their homes at a record pace, and frankly the list goes on and on and on. Some interesting graphs on the younger Bush years is here
Perhaps the record number of attendees illustrates the hope and desperation of the American people? See the numbers below:
1965: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1.2 m
1973: Richard Nixon, 300,000
1977: Jimmy Carter, 350,000
1981: Ronald Reagan, 500,000
1989: George H.W. Bush, 300,000
1993: Bill Clinton, 800,000
2001: George W. Bush: 500,000
2009: Barach Obama: 1.8 - 2.0 million
I wonder what he's thinking and I wonder if he cares or if he thinks at all....