There are undoubtedly a lot of Democrats who are anxiously awaiting the end of the current Administration because it means an end to the eight years of White House traditions installed by George and Laura Bush. But there is one tradition that Barack Obama should respectfully continue to observe:
[T]he size and scope of Mr. Bush’s and Mr. Cheney’s private endeavors to meet with wounded soliders and families of the fallen far exceed anything that has been witnessed publicly, according to interviews with more than a dozen officials familiar with the effort.
“People say, ‘Why would you do that?'” the president said in an Oval Office interview with The Washington Times on Friday. “And the answer is: This is my duty. The president is commander in chief, but the president is often comforter in chief, as well. It is my duty to be – to try to comfort as best as I humanly can a loved one who is in anguish.”
Mr. Bush, for instance, has sent personal letters to the families of every one of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in the two wars, an enormous personal effort that consumed hours of his time and escaped public notice. The task, along with meeting family members of troops killed in action, has been so wrenching – balancing the anger, grief and pride of families coping with the loss symbolized by a flag-draped coffin – that the president often leaned on his wife, Laura, for emotional support.
When you’re the President, a lot of criticism rightfully comes with the territory, and George W. Bush has done a number of things that deserve to be panned. But nothing makes me livid faster than the utterly vicious attempts by liberals to portray George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as an insensitive, blood-sucking warmongers who cackle as they lick their lips and rub their hands together while poring over casualty reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.
When Barack Obama takes the Oath of Office, the casualties will continue. Hopefully they will be greatly abated, but they will still fall under his watch. I hope that his White House agonizes over each of them the way that the Bush White House has done.