We Don't Want Obama to Make Bush's Policies Succeed; We Want New Policies

Obama is better at just about every act of presidenting than Bush was, more graceful, more self-aware. But that's not the point.

Even without George W. Bush's debut in Fort Worth as a motivational speaker (see Stephen Colbert swoon over the speech here), this past week has been full of reminders of 43. On Wednesday, President Obama walked out onto the North Lawn of the White House to plant a tree where, one year earlier, Bush had tried to plant a Scarlet Oak. Bush's tree "didn't take," so Obama shoveled a few symbolic spadefuls of dirt over the roots of a Linden tree, asked assembled reporters whether it looked nice, and walked back into the Oval Office.

Sometime after midnight, 44 caught a quick helicopter ride out to the Dover Air Base to stand, wind-whipped and slender, as the bodies of 18 Americans killed in Afghanistan were off-loaded from a C-17 in their flag-draped coffins. It was the first time in eight years of war that a President has greeted our returning dead. Obama flashed a neat, palm-down right-hand salute, which cameras recorded matter-of-factly, as if images of respect for the returning dead were an everyday affair.

When Glenn Beck says the Obama presidency is all about "reparations," he's insinuating that the President wants to lavish government goodies on blacks while stealing from whites. But this is how the Obama camp perceives reparations: Obama is indeed going about repairing things his predecessor bungled, it is truly an appalling mess to clean up, and they don't want to hear criticism of how he "holds the mop." Obama is doing his level best, they say, to restore the national honor, and if we give him enough time he will bring the bloom back to American policy.

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