All things considered, I guess it makes sense.
In an interview with a German newspaper published over the weekend, George W. Bush declared that the best moment of his presidency has been catching a big fish.
When I first saw the "big fish" headline on the Internet, I just kind of assumed that the reference was going to be the moment that Saddam Hussein was captured. Really, that's been about the extent of what has gone right in Iraq, and the other "big fish" the president promised to capture, is still at large and making videos on his "Death to America" label.
But, no, that's not what our president was talking about. After over five years in office, the greatest moment the president could come up with was landing a 7.5-pound perch. Kind of fitting, really. The president who has spent more time on vacation than other president in history has chosen as his greatest moment the time he caught a fish. After a tough day clearing brush, the president was able to kick back for a moment, and hang up the "Gone Fishin" sign, which some people would say accurately describes his entire presidency.
I seriously doubt any other president would ever have come up with a similar answer, but would probably have come up with something that actually had something to do with being the Leader of the Free World. His dad could point to the successful first Gulf War. Reagan could lay claim to having laid the groundwork to end the Cold War. Clinton could point to eight years of peace and prosperity, though he might have secretly enjoyed his success with interns if he hadn't gotten caught.
Not this president. It's all about hauling in a perch. What else could it be, though? With his approval ratings in the low 30s, perhaps W. is just agreeing with the people about his skills in governing the nation. He hasn't done much good while in actually in office and working, so he has to point to something he did just for himself.
Asked about the worst moment in his presidency, somehow Bush didn't come up with the obvious. He didn't just simply say, "The worst? How about all of it?" No, Bush said that 9/11 was the worst moment of his presidency, ignoring the irony that it allowed his minions to run a campaign of fear that is probably the biggest reason he was re-elected.
He went on further to explain that "In such a situation it takes a while before one understands what is happening. I would say that this was the hardest moment, once I had the real picture before my eyes." In such a situation, "a while" appears to be defined as seven minutes reading "My Pet Goat," and untold hours on a plane before speaking to the American people.
Maybe that line of thinking is why the president maintained his speaking schedule while Katrina was pummeling the Gulf Coast. It just took a while for the magnitude to sink in, so the president just went on about his business while a major U.S. city was being lost.
So I would have to say that I actually agree with the President on something. Catching a big perch probably is the greatest accomplishment of his presidency. At least when he's out with rod and reel, he's not screwing up the country.
Bill Rudick just wonders why it took so long for so many to catch on to Bush, now that even conservatives are at 50/50 approval. Rudick's e-mail is email@example.com.