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Tilting at Windmills

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May 4, 2011

BUSH DECLINES OBAMA'S INVITATION.... President Obama will travel to Lower Manhattan, visiting Ground Zero and meeting with families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Some on the right, including Fox News personalities, have argued that the president should bring George W. Bush along as a "nice gesture."

As it turns out, Obama extended an invitation to his predecessor. Bush declined.

President Obama invited former President George W. Bush to join him at ground zero in New York City on Thursday to mark the killing of Osama bin Laden, but Mr. Bush declined, a spokesman for the former president confirmed on Tuesday.

"President Bush will not be in attendance on Thursday," said his spokesman, David Sherzer. "He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight. He continues to celebrate with Americans this important victory in the war on terror."

What's wrong with that? Nothing at all. Aside from some book promotion, Bush has kept a fairly low profile since leaving office, and if he'd prefer not to join Obama on Thursday, that's certainly his prerogative. There's no need to assume this is some sort of partisan snub, and he's under no obligation to accept the president's offer.

But given that Obama was gracious enough to extend the invitation in the first place, maybe the political establishment can get past the whole "Obama's a big meanie towards Bush" theme?

Also note, the president has also reportedly extended an invitation to former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) for tomorrow's gathering, but it's not yet clear if he'll attend.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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If I were Little Boots, and I had an atom of self-awareness, I'd keep as low a profile as possibe.

Hell, I might build myself a spiderhole of my own in my backyard ot hide in.

That's why I'm surprised Bush isn't showing up. I never thought he even had a quark of self-awareness.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 4, 2011 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and "BRAVO" to Obama for "reaching out" again, even though he was snubbed.
Again!

See any trend there, independent voters?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 4, 2011 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

There's Jane Swift -- I recall she was relatively level-headed here at the Massachusetts end, and does not get the credit that she deserves for being Republican, yet not a jerk. I don't see why we should only reward the camera-hogs.

Posted by: dr2chase on May 4, 2011 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

And this is how it always seems to work in the current political landscape. A democrat has to clean up a republican's mess(a republican who surrounded himself with people that had absolutely no problem destroying Dems); accomplishes something the Republican couldn't, but in the name of Broderism, is expected to pay deference to said Republican.

Why does Bush even deserve an invite? Their focus was Iraq for nearly the entirety of his Presidency. They blew the Tora Bora operation, and never came close to getting OBL during the remainder of his Presidency.

Posted by: Holmes on May 4, 2011 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

I can't wait to hear how Rudy (a noun, a verb, and 9/11) Giuliani will respond to the invitation from President Obama. Especially since after the 9/11 attacks he told then Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik - " Thank God George W. Bush is president."

We are witnessing revisionist history on steroids. There is a fascinating timeline of the Bush administration "Dead or Alive" history on OBL at The Reid Report blog:

http://blog.reidreport.com/2011/05/dead-or-alive-the-sorry-history-of-george-w-bush-and-the-hunt-for-osama-bin-laden/

Posted by: Ladyhawke on May 4, 2011 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

I read this last night (don't remember what site) and the rabid right was completely apoplectic saying Bush was a total class act and Obama was a goat-fucking child molester (Ok, they didn't say that about Obama...but close).

How can you possess that much hate? This should be the one thing that brings America together and they hate. I don't get it.

Posted by: MsJoanne on May 4, 2011 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

maybe the political establishment can get past the whole "Obama's a big meanie towards Bush" theme?

Having Bush and Obama side by side at ground zero would seem a bit like one of those before/after ads for weight loss miracle drugs. The blowhard doofus who created a terrorism rainbow alert system, a legal system that would make Torquemada proud, a needless war in Iraq, a defense contractor welfare system, and a political strategy that makes half of his party doubt the citizenship of his successor next to a guy who quietly sent in a swat team to get the guy with minimal collateral damage. That would seem kind of mean. Giulliani is just as bad, though not as bad as Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, John McCain or Glenn Beck, I suppose.

Posted by: Danp on May 4, 2011 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

Along the same lines, Pelosi reportedly called Bush to thank him for contributing to the successful mission. I still haven't heard just how Bush helped. Except for this: if he hadn't f'd up the search for bin Laden from 2001-2009, we wouldn't have been able to find him in 2011.

Posted by: Grumpy on May 4, 2011 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

You will probably see all invited republican critters decline , because to do so would acknowledge and validate President Obama. It would be a nice gesture.... is apparently a one way street. All Obama Hate All The Time . That is their mission.

Posted by: John R AKA Mr. Serf Man on May 4, 2011 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

@c u n d gulag sez: Oh, and "BRAVO" to Obama for "reaching out" again, even though he was snubbed.
Again!

This could also be read another way (in fact, it is the way I'd read it): The new "self-aware" W knows full well that the Ground Zero appearance won't be his moment, since Obama has brilliantly succeeded in achieving something that he, W, could not in 7 years of trying. Although it consumed his entire presidency, this was yet another utter failure. It is laudable for the sycophantic right to try to give credit for the bin Laden killing to W, but they full well know that it rings hollow and won't work because the facts are just too damning. No well-oiled spin machine would be able to spin the bin Laden killing any other way: Obama came, Obama saw, Obama conquered. Period.

Posted by: dcshungu on May 4, 2011 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

In reality, the Bushies are being utterly shameless in trying to pretend Bush had anything to do with this. Yet, in this bizarro political landscape, Obama is the bad guy.

When is someone in the media going to stand up and point out that the right doesn't give a shit about anything but themselves? They only care about power, nothing else. Their patriotism is an affectation used to help them gain power.

Posted by: Holmes on May 4, 2011 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Bush has kept a fairly low profile since leaving office,

I would say it's the only decent thing he's ever done, but then he's coming here to do a fundraiser for some christian college soon. Last year's fundraiser was Sarah Palin.

Posted by: martin on May 4, 2011 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, I wonder if Fox will now criticize Bush for being "not nice."

Posted by: hells littlest angel on May 4, 2011 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

I think it was appropriate to invite Bush and I think it was appropriate for him to respectfully decline. I don't really see an issue or a story there.

I have a feeling Goul-iani will attend. If there's a camera, he'll be there.

Posted by: SaintZak on May 4, 2011 at 8:31 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with the "before/after" photo concept. Bush is too self absorbed/unawares to see the trap, but his "senior advisors" (Laura?) have whispered that standing next to President Obama (at the very spot of his triumphant, megaphone-enhanced Ground Zero chest thump ) the nation would see the stark difference between the two men.

And the scales would fall from Republican eyes. O-kay; that part is wishful thinking. . .

Posted by: DAY on May 4, 2011 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

One more STFU from Obama to the right wing media.

Posted by: Alli on May 4, 2011 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Obviously, the only thing that will appease right-wingers now is if Obama insists that George W. Bush accept his invitation or he won't go to Ground Zero himself.
Fox Headline: EMPEROR OBAMA DEMANDS BUSH KOWTOW!

Okay, maybe the Limbaughers will be happy if refuses to meet with victims' families unless Bush joins him.
Fox Headline: OBAMA SNUBS HEARTBROKEN 9/11 LOVED ONES!

Uh, then I guess Obama should just go to Ground Zero then even without George W. Bush.
Fox Headline: OBAMA VISITS SITE OF GROUND ZERO MOSQUE!

Oh well, I suggest he bring his birth certificate.

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on May 4, 2011 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

I happen to think it represents pretty classy behavior on both parts. Classy to invite. Classy to decline and stay out of the spotlight.

I also happen to believe that Bush doesn't spend his days orchestrating his network of apologists. Those are largely unemployable people dependent on Bush's reputation improving so that they will be able to earn a living beyond Fox News, the right-wing think tanks and the WaPo op-ed page -- oh wait, I forgot that one needn't ever lift a finger again once you get a reliable right-wing propaganda gig.

Posted by: Mark on May 4, 2011 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm... Just too convenient a way to make Obama look less bipartisan that day?

Posted by: Neil B on May 4, 2011 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

The establishment will never get over it's childish behavior. They were never raised to be professional adults. Only the rich white conservatives dudes egos matter.

Posted by: Silver Owl on May 4, 2011 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

"If I were Little Boots, and I had an atom of self-awareness, I'd keep as low a profile as possible."

What looks particularly ridiculous and irresponsible now was Bush's treatment of the Presidency as a part-time job. I believe he spent a record amount of time either vacationing, recreating, or in transit to do so- about 35%.

With the outlaw bin Laden at large, he could not even bring himself to put in a full day on the job.

Posted by: bob h on May 4, 2011 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

It's only fair that Obama invite Guiliani. After all, Rudy is the man who personally parachuted into Afghanistan the week after the attacks, tracked Bin Laden down and shot him in the face with his famous ivory handled revolver on September 21, 2001 before returning to New York City to personally rebuild the Twin Towers with his bare hands. I can't believe you crazy libs don't remember any of that. It's like you've been brainwashed or something.

Posted by: Another Steve on May 4, 2011 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Scales

I agree - standing together on America's Most Sacred Ground™ (a trademark of the Republican Party) - it would be impossible to miss just how small a man George Bush, Jr. is, and not just in stature. (I noted that, prior to Nine One One© Bush's official height was 5'10; by 9/12/2001, he had been promoted to "six feet").

Bush still has the speaking voice of a petulant 4 year old, and uses grade school diction. He doesn't carry himself with "gravitas" - never did. Contrast that with the President, who's got the assured and articulate delivery of a college professor, and as others have noted, people would see far too much of a difference.

Perhaps even the carping juvenile whines of the DC commentariat/Faux News wouldn't be enough to cover it up.

Posted by: zandru on May 4, 2011 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

I think George was being fairly honest when he said he was tired of politics back in march of 2010.

Let the pundits jabber jaw all they want Im gonna ignore them.

Posted by: Kill Bill on May 4, 2011 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

I'm certainly no fan of Mayor Rudy - but I do hope he does attend tomorrow. His public remarks on the demise of OBL have shown an unusual (for him) lack of partisanship. This is a time for bipartisanship even if not all Republicans climb on board.

Posted by: pgl on May 4, 2011 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

"How can you possess that much hate? This should be the one thing that brings America together and they hate. I don't get it."

They're racists. It really is that simple. They've systematically eliminated every other explanation.

You can argue that rescinding the Bush tax cuts will kill the recovery. You'd be wrong, but it's not racist. When you argue that rescinding the Bush tax cuts is part of a plan by a president who hates America and wants to install socialism and fasicsm, that's racist.

You can argue that Bush rallied the nation, and that culminated in getting bin Laden, or that torture helped produced the intelligence that got him. Again, wrong, but not racist. But arguing that Obama was graceless, mentioned himself too much and took all the credit is just plain ol' racist.

Regarding the invitation, of course Giuliani won't accept. He won't gain anything from standing there with Obama, unless he thinks his hero's welcome is going to upstage Obama, which even Giuliani has to know it won't.

Posted by: Rick Massimo on May 4, 2011 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

I happen to think it represents pretty classy behavior on both parts. Classy to invite. Classy to decline and stay out of the spotlight.

I'm with Mark here.

The only thing that has surprised me since Obama's election is the fact that the crassness of Republican behavior has made George W. Bush almost resemble a statesman. I never thought I would have an ounce of admiration for the man, but I do, albeit grudgingly.

Posted by: g on May 4, 2011 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to think this was W being classy and statesmanlike, but I have a feeling that he's thinking 'why should I drag myself up to New York to stand by that man when I get paid just as much to sit here on my butt with a near-beer?' Plus, Little Boots probably thinks that Obama is trying to steal the limelight of his Big Moment. He is a petulant SOB, after all.

Posted by: biggerbox on May 4, 2011 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Bush wasn't much interested in being president, nor was he interested in doing much in business. He's lazy.

Posted by: T2 on May 4, 2011 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

GWB, was, is, and will always be, a tool. He served his masters for eight years and is now enjoying permanent retirement.

Believe me, if the Masters of Darkness, personified by Dick Cheney, saw a benefit in his being there, he would have accepted the invitation.

Posted by: bdop4 on May 4, 2011 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Bush (and his republican cohorts):- so awful that America elected a black guy as president.

At least, that's the impression I get when I see the extent of irrational racism-based hostility, where opponents pursue "Obama = bad" to the extent that they are willing to throw out their own pet ideas once Obama supports them (insurance mandates, TARP.)

Being far less magnanimous and classy than Obama, I'd have relished the chance to attend an Obama-Bush event, just for the opportunity to boo Bush in public.

Posted by: N.Wells on May 4, 2011 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

What looks particularly ridiculous and irresponsible now was Bush's treatment of the Presidency as a part-time job. I believe he spent a record amount of time either vacationing, recreating, or in transit to do so- about 35%.

With the outlaw bin Laden at large, he could not even bring himself to put in a full day on the job.
Posted by: bob h on May 4, 2011 at 9:23 AM

More than that. Shrub spent more time on vacation than any other U.S. president: "Bush spent 1,020 days of his presidency on vacation. To put this into context, John F. Kennedy spent fewer days in office, 1000, than George W. Bush spent on vacation. Bush spent 487 days at Camp David, 490 days at his Crawford ranch, and 43 days in Kennebunkport. George W. Bush spent 69 days in Crawford during his first year in office."

Posted by: John on May 4, 2011 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I'd have relished the chance to attend an Obama-Bush event, just for the opportunity to boo Bush in public.
Posted by: N.Wells on May 4, 2011 at 11:54 AM

That's precisely the reason Shrub remains "out of the spotlight." Now that his sycophants and thugs can't hand pick and pre-select a worshipful and adoring crowd for him to appear in front of, he doesn't appear at all.

Posted by: John on May 4, 2011 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK
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