During the Henry Gates Officer Crowley racial controversy there was a telling picture of Crowley assisting a disabled Henry Gates as both walked a few paces behind the ever haughty and imperious Barack Obama. As Obama was strutting before the cameras championing racial equality, the Officer, who had been portrayed as a racist by Gates, relinquished pride and exhibited compassion for his accuser. If what Michelle Obama professes is the truth and “actions speak louder than words,” the picture of Crowley compassionately aiding and guiding Gates down the Rose Garden steps said a mouthful. Officer Crowley’s empathy, as compared to Barack Obama’s self-obsessed concern, was evident without a word.
Yesterday, America witnessed a similar display of humbleness. George W. Bush, criticized, mocked, humiliated, blamed and dishonored by both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, put the needs of the Haitian people before personal feelings and pride.
One of the many thousands of things Obama demeaned G.W. Bush for was his handling of Katrina. Sharply criticizing the ex-President Obama vowed, “We must ensure that the failures of the past are never repeated.” Then Obama has the unmitigated audacity to call the supposed failed hurricane president in to assist in the relief effort to Haiti, a disaster of mass Biblical proportion. If Obama believed G.W. Bush was such a failure during Katrina, why enlist a bumbler in the Haitian effort? Or was Obama in need of an inclusive photo op before Tuesday’s special election in Massachusetts?
Not only did Bush respond to Obama’s invitation to assist the Haitian people, the former President “heaped burning coals upon Obama’s head” by respectfully commending the standing President for a “swift and timely response to the disaster.” Quite the opposite from the fiery darts Obama has been lobbing for years in Bush’s direction.
For political expediency Obama continues to diminish G.W. Bush in the minds of the American people. In response, the ex-President reciprocated by building up Barack Obama’s wounded reputation before the nation. George W. Bush behaved like Officer Crowley; only this time Bush assisted a political cripple who may talk a good talk, but if you watch closely has trouble walking without a crutch.
In the Rose Garden lofty rhetoric came from Barack Obama before heading off to Massachusetts to campaign for Martha Coakley, while action was displayed on the part of George Bush. To even stand there in the company of unrelenting accusers means that Bush possesses the strength of character to put aside demeaning accusations and refuse to dwell on personal feelings in order to address the needs of a devastated nation.
Speaking about America’s commitment to rebuild the Gulf Region three years after the hurricane, Obama did not squander an opportunity bolster himself by demeaning Bush. Professing faith in skills and abilities far above the Bush administration’s failures Obama said, “The American people are watching. They need this plan to work. They expect to see the money that they’ve earned they’ve worked so hard to earn – spent in its intended purposes without waste, without inefficiency, without fraud,” which is pretty much what Obama says about everything.
In the meantime, with humility and grace G.W. Bush’s compassion and concern for the dignity of the dead and the dire circumstances of the living surpass the awkwardness of having to appear in the Rose Garden next to someone whose main concern is self. George W. Bush, like the modest Officer Crowley, seems more than willing to walk in the shadow of hubris if it means helping Haiti. Yesterday, George W. Bush illustrated to the people Barack claims are closely watching—the grace and character of a deferential man of integrity.