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Bush’s Memoir

Posted November. 12, 2010 11:41,   


A blend of isolationism, protectionism and nativism that affected the immigration debate also led Congress to block free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and Korea, said former U.S. President George W. Bush said in his memoir “Decision Points.” He said Americans should never get angry and fear competition. His comment that a president should lead the public and not chase opinion polls shows he was a good president with strong leadership. Even Maureen Dowd, the cynical New York Times columnist, said, “(Had he run for election), thank God, I would have voted for him.”

In promoting his memoir, Bush said jokingly, “This will come as quite a shock to some. They didn`t think I could read, much less write.” He has an MBA from Yale University and ran in the presidential election with the image of a “Texas cowboy,” which made him popular in the early stage of his presidency. The problem was that he was perceived too much as an ordinary person, which raised doubts over his ability and quality as a leader later.

In his memoir, he used term “blindsided” often. He used that expression when he saw grim pictures of the Abu Ghraib prison and when the financial crisis hit the U.S. in 2008. This is why people do not readily buy his argument that his greatest achievement was the prevention of a successful terrorist attack on American soil since the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. Instead, his political opponents blame him for not having prevented the 2001 attack in the first place.

Bush’s approval rating, which was around 30 percent when he left office, was 49 percent last month, equivalent to that of his successor Barack Obama. Whether this came from affection for a former president or disappointment over Obama is uncertain. Perhaps the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement should have been signed under the Bush administration, when the accord could have taken effect without ratification from Congress.

Editorial Writer Kim Sun-deok (yuri@donga.com)