Is it just me or is it an interesting, fitting irony that George W. Bush, a man who exploited the event to his own advantage when airliners went down over New York City and caused mass death and destruction and widspread fear across the land almost 8 years ago saw his own farewell speech now overshadowed completely by another airliner going down over New York City but which ended with everyone surviving unscathed? It truly is a new era.
Oh, and the speech. This man is seriously deluded:
The outgoing president acknowledged no mistakes. He conceded suffering "setbacks," though he did not detail them, and he said that there had been a "legitimate debate" over his decisions in pursuing the struggle against terrorism.
But he said his success on that front was indisputable.
"There can be little debate about the results," he said. "America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil."
Bush hailed Afghanistan, where America first targeted Al Qaeda and the Taliban after the 2001 attacks, as a "young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school."
He described Iraq as transformed from a "brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the United States."
And Bush declared victories on the domestic front, arguing that Americans pay lower taxes and that children are learning more in school.
He took credit for his administration's response to the global financial crisis, pointing to "decisive measures" designed to "safeguard our economy."
"These are very tough times for hard-working families, but the toll would be far worse if we had not acted," he said.