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Bush at the Stone Table: The Sacrificial Presidency of George W. Bush
American Thinker ^ | January 18, 2009 | Paul Kengor

Posted on 01/18/2009 6:20:01 AM PST by vietvet67

Some time ago, writer Andrew Klavan wrote a compelling review of the movie "Batman," comparing the caped hero to George W. Bush. Both figures gave of themselves on behalf of good in a knock-down, drag-out battle against pure, unmitigated evil, and neither was appreciated -- quite the contrary, they were often viewed as the bad guys by an ungrateful public. Klavan's analogy was right on.

My mind, however, for several years now, has raced back to another movie when I think about George W. Bush -- actually, a scene in the movie, based on a scene in a book by the same name. These final days of the Bush presidency seem an apt time to share it.

The scene is from C. S. Lewis's classic, "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." It takes place when the Christ figure, the lion, Aslan, is led like a lamb to the slaughter at the Stone Table, where he is killed by the White Witch and every ugly hobgoblin of the netherworld. Aslan knows this is what he must endure for the larger good. Lewis described it this way:

A great crowd of people were standing all round the Stone Table and though the moon was shining many of them carried torches which burned with evil-looking red flames and black smoke. But such people! Ogres with monstrous teeth, and wolves, and bull-headed men....

A howl and a gibber of dismay went up from the creatures when they first saw the great Lion pacing toward them.... Then [the Witch] recovered herself and gave a wild, fierce laugh. "The fool!" she cried. "The fool has come. Bind him fast.... Bind him I say!"

The Hags made a dart at him and shrieked with triumph when they found that he made no resistance at all....

And they surged round Aslan, jeering at him.... But he never moved. And this seemed to enrage all that rabble. Everyone was at him now....

At last [the Witch] drew near. She stood by Aslan's head. Her face was working and twitching with passion, but his head looked up at the sky, still quiet, neither angry nor afraid, but a little sad. Then, just before she gave the blow, she stooped down and said in a quivering voice, "And now, who has won? Fool...."

She plunged the knife. It was finished.

The movie portrays this bracing scene vividly and unforgettably. It needs to be seen to be appreciated.

What also needed to be seen to be appreciated was the hellacious assault on George W. Bush. No future biographer will be able to fully capture the gruesome, fierce, shrieking hatred of this good man. No matter what his flaws as president, they pale to the depths of depravity achieved by his tormentors. It was so bad that it reminded me, many times, of the scene at that table.

Not only did Bush's self-ascribed enemies frequently turn themselves into ogres, but they joyously ripped into the man while he quietly accepted it all -- a stoic, turn-the-other-cheek, faith-based, upward-looking response, as they twitched and plunged into him. It enraged the rabble all the more when he never moved, sticking unshakably to his mission, resigned to his fate, seeming a little sad, but neither angry nor afraid -- nor deterred. His faithfulness, more than anything else, set them seething, especially the secular among them.

They called him a fool -- a moron. Then, after all that, they won the presidency, the Congress, and will now win the judiciary.

The long-term effect for Bush was a killer. It seems that everyone is at him now.

Before those same Bush haters go wild on me, let me add these caveats:

I'm not saying this president made no mistakes. In many respects, this presidency, at current time, could not be ranked very successfully. More so than any president since Harry Truman, judgment will not be possible for decades, likely not in Bush's lifetime. Bush knows that, and has conceded it publicly and privately.

Another key qualifier on my analogy: I'm a Christian, and I understand my analogy might strike some as blasphemous. That's nonsense, since I'm undoubtedly not equating George Bush with Jesus Christ. I'm making a smaller but dramatic comparison to the Christian allegory employed by C. S. Lewis, which I do for an added motivation:

More than any aspect of George W. Bush, I know his faith -- having written a book on the subject. I know he acutely identifies with Christ's passion. He understands that one who stays true to principle, who tries to do right, and who stumbles on the way to his destination, sometimes cannot earn his rewards until his earthly life is finished.

Such, too, is pure leadership. Americans, whether they realize it or not, have just witnessed eight years of remarkable presidential leadership, especially compared to the poll-driven president who preceded Bush. Sure, there's much George W. Bush should have done better. As someone who has studied Ronald Reagan, I wish Bush had a sliver of Reagan's communication skills to win hearts and minds, to shape public perception. I wish he had better people working for him on Iraq in the bad years. Still, this was leadership.

What was the mission? What was the reward that must wait?

As an effective primer, I direct readers to November 2003, when Bush gave the best speech of his presidency, the text of which ought to be required reading in every Poli Sci class, and by Bush friend and foe alike. In that speech to the National Endowment for Democracy, Bush invoked Ronald Reagan's June 1982 Westminster Address, Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, and FDR's Four Freedoms, in concluding: "The advance of freedom is the calling of our time; it is the calling of our country.... We [Americans] believe that liberty is the design of nature; we believe that liberty is the direction of history.... [T]his is, above all, the age of liberty."

Bush sought to take liberty to the area of the world where it has been most resistant: the Arab-Muslim Middle East. He sought to sow a long-term democratic transformation in the worst of regions, before it went nuclear. He looked to take Reagan's "March of Freedom" into the region with the starkest "freedom deficit." He endeavored to initiate a "democratic peace" in that cesspool of terror.

He pursued that most commendable task knowing he will not live to witness its fruits, if they occur, and with no political gain for himself and his party -- precisely the opposite. If the sacrifice works, Bush will have changed the course of history, but only after he leaves this world.

There is another Bush speech I find somewhat profound in retrospect -- a witty but forgotten commencement address to his alma mater, Yale University, on May 21, 2001. Recalling his life after Yale, where he had studied history, Bush averred:

When I left here, I didn't have much in the way of a life plan. I knew some people who thought they did, but it turned out that we were all in for ups and downs, most of them unexpected. Life takes its own turns, makes its own demands, writes its own story, and along the way, we start to realize we are not the author. We begin to understand that life is ours to live but not to waste and that the greatest rewards are found in the commitments we make with our whole hearts -- to the people we love and to the causes that earn our sacrifice.

Bush said that four months before September 11, 2001, and roughly two years before he sent troops into Iraq -- the unexpected causes that earned his sacrifice. It was his plan for Iraq that began his descent into the worst disapproval ratings in the history of Gallup's presidential polling.

George W. Bush took up his cross, walked the walk, and then silently let his persecutors enthusiastically carry out his political crucifixion. He committed his whole heart to a great reward earnable only much later.

We know how C. S. Lewis's allegory plays out: good triumphs in the end. Let's hope it does for George W. Bush as well, for the best of everyone, from America to the Middle East, from his defenders to the haters leaping up and down around that table.

Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His books include The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism (HarperPerennial, 2007) and God and George W. Bush: A Spiritual Life (HarperCollins, 2004).


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bush; bushlegacy; cslewis; narnia

1 posted on 01/18/2009 6:20:01 AM PST by vietvet67
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To: vietvet67

bookmarking an excellent article.
Thanks for posting it.


2 posted on 01/18/2009 6:29:18 AM PST by maica (Barack Obama is a Weathermen Project.)
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To: vietvet67

3 posted on 01/18/2009 6:31:44 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: vietvet67

4 posted on 01/18/2009 6:33:26 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: vietvet67

Bookmarked! I think that we will see more and more articles, such as this one.

Thank you for posting.


5 posted on 01/18/2009 6:35:35 AM PST by BlueAngel
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To: Miss Marple; STARWISE

Ping!


6 posted on 01/18/2009 6:36:48 AM PST by BlueAngel
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To: vietvet67

7 posted on 01/18/2009 6:53:13 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: vietvet67

It’s snowing again in Mass. My coffee was black and HOT..breakfast pancakes afloat in syrup as I scrolled to the next post. NOW..the coffee is stone cold, and the pancakes are fit for the garbage after reading this post THREE times.
I’ll try for breakfast again, then make my own printout of this. Thank you.


8 posted on 01/18/2009 6:53:16 AM PST by CaptainAmiigaf (NY Times: We print the news as it fits our views)
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To: vietvet67
We have brain-dead pinkos now we see the mass emergence of brain-dead conservatives - people who believe that the world could be straighten up by putting an American MPs on every crossroad of the world

I have a couple of news for you: (1) we do not have that many MPs, (2) loosing our own country for another 40 years to pelosies/reids/clintons/obamas is way-way-way more detrimental than 40 years of all out wars in the ME and other places.

9 posted on 01/18/2009 7:15:48 AM PST by alex
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To: vietvet67

Well done.

It seems likely that metaphors and analogies about the Bush Presidency will abound in the coming months and years. I identified another real life sacrificial metaphor a couple years ago in: http://drilldown.blogtownhall.com/2007/05/04/between_evil_and_innocence_a_tale_of_two_dogs3.thtml

(That one earned me a good deal of hate mail)

Unfortunately, Bush may be remembered more for his handling of the “financial crisis” than the threat of terrorism. With respect to the financial crisis, I can’t help but find a movie metaphor in the scene from Rocky - where Rocky is knocked down late in the fight and Mick (not wanting to see Rocky injured any more seriously) is screaming from his corner “stay down Rock, stay down!.”

For those few who haven’t seen it - it’s just before Rocky struggles to his feet to land three thunderous body blows, breaking Apollo’s ribs and creating a chance for victory..

But in the real life “Bush Metaphor” - he really does stay down.


10 posted on 01/18/2009 7:19:40 AM PST by crescen7 (game on)
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To: vietvet67

BTTT


11 posted on 01/18/2009 7:41:34 AM PST by Right_in_Virginia
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To: vietvet67

The words in this article have touched my heart and made me cry...we have watched the witches and ogres tear at this good man’s flesh for 7 years (right after 9/11 many of my liberal friends here in NYC were damned glad that algore was not at the helm). I’m just so upset that the liberal useful idiots are in control of the MSM and the universities...hopefully some good writers will step forward and pen some seriously unbiased history books for future generations to know the truth...I’m with Tony Blair on this one...9/11 woke us up and now we’ve rolled over and gone back to sleep. Let us also pray that Barack Obama is a good man who will also keep us safe. Benefit of the doubt. He should shut Reid and Pelosi up real fast if he wants a united country—they are dirtbags.


12 posted on 01/18/2009 7:44:29 AM PST by foreshadowed at waco
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To: foreshadowed at waco; 1Peter2:16; 2Jedismom; 2Trievers; 4integrity; 4mycountry; A_perfect_lady; ...

George W. Bush took up his cross, walked the walk, and then silently let his persecutors enthusiastically carry out his political crucifixion. He committed his whole heart to a great reward earnable only much later.

~~~

Thank God for Pres. George W. Bush. God bless him.


13 posted on 01/18/2009 8:21:59 AM PST by STARWISE ((They (Dims) think of this WOT as Bush's war, not America's war-RichardMiniter, respected OBL author)
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To: vietvet67

bump!


14 posted on 01/18/2009 8:26:04 AM PST by bannie
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To: vietvet67

Wonderful article. Thank you for posting it. He has been a wonderful president and he will be in my prayers always.


15 posted on 01/18/2009 8:28:16 AM PST by LilRhody
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To: vietvet67

Ping


16 posted on 01/18/2009 8:36:13 AM PST by Gigantor (Sunni or later, shiite happens...)
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To: vietvet67

I’d feel better about this if Bush hadn’t gone socialist on us. Defending the country from outside threats is pointless if you allow it to be destroyed from the inside.


17 posted on 01/18/2009 8:38:57 AM PST by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: STARWISE

Amen.


18 posted on 01/18/2009 8:47:01 AM PST by They'reGone2000 (<--- Forwarding address: Galt's Gulch)
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To: vietvet67

Leaders lead where they need to go, not where the people want to go. Look at Moses and how he was always fighting his people even after God showed them time and time again to the point they never made it to the Promise Land.

Leaders are not popular while they are leading. President George W Bush was a Leader.

Pray for W, America and Our Troops


19 posted on 01/18/2009 8:58:34 AM PST by bray (Gov Palin isn't ready for the District of Corruption)
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To: STARWISE

The Katrina Hurricane reflects President Bush’s term completely. He was the janitor who was left to clean up messes yet gets the blame for those messes. How in the world was anybody supposed to stop a hurricane that caused more damage than 10 nuclear bombs. In addition to the force of the storm the levies that were supposed to keep the water out of below sea level New Orleans were never fortified. The money that was sent to fix the levies had been stolen by corrupt local politicians and the money ended up in their freezers. Then GW gets the complete blame for not fixing the disaster in 24 hrs. Katrina was done masterfully considering the size and scope, but was twisted into a Bush disaster. They should have renamed it to Hurricane Bush.

Just like Katrina, every problem that GW is hated for can be directly traced to Dem neglect and corruption yet Bush gets the blame and hatred. The attacks on 911 were directly caused by the gutting and destruction of our intelligence community by Gorelick and the clinton regime yet President Bush was falsely blamed. That same CIA was handcuffed by clinton and the ones who gave supposedly false information on WMD and Bush gets blamed. He finishes the job that clinton should have done in Iraq and is vilified for freeing 25 million people from a brutal madman.

He made an attempt at solving gaping problems like energy, SSI and immigration only to be pilloried at every turn. Never mind that these issues are emotional traps, he had the courage to take them on and was stoned for those attempts. None of them have simple solutions yet he began the dialogue only to find out that these problems will never be solved since who wants the attacks that go with them.

His final trap was the financial meltdown. By all appearances it looks like he was performing a miracle keeping this economy moving forward for his first 8 yrs. He couldn’t keep that going once Lola Pelosi and Dirtbag Reid took over the District of Corruption. Their Party undermined the Banking industry and turned Fannie/Freddie into slush funds for Dem financing. That eventually toppelled those gummit corps just like the NO levies flooding the entire economy and Bush got the blame.

President Bush was always the Lifeguard who if he failed to revive the victim was tried for murder. He was the scapegoat for anything that went wrong as was the penchant of PravdABDNC. He risked everything over and over since he put his Country far above himself. Millions may hate him since he took on huge problems that didn’t have catchphrase answers. These were deeply complicated issues that were interwoven in corruption and deceit as well as DNC sacred cows. These issues had multiple layers and no matter how obvious the answer was going to be unpopular. Add to that a hostile opposition media that was going to fan any flames and he became an unpopular President.

The good news for us is that he doesn’t really care about popularity. He understands that popularity and leadership are polar opposites. He knows that to be popular you have to do nothing and spend all your time campaigning to make yourself look good. You may be popular but the problems are still there and likely getting much worse. Popular Presidents kick the cans down the street to the next President George W Bush. He understands that his 25% popularity represents real attempts at solving and in many cases actually solving those problems.

Katrina is the perfect symbol of W’s Presidency. It was a storm too big to solve by the gummit, yet he did all he could and took all the blame. Will he become more popular in the future? Who cares since President George W Bush doesn’t. His legacy is written in the lives of 50 million Iraqis and Afghani as well as no attacks since 911. That is worth 25% approval ratings to him.

Pray for W and Our Troops


20 posted on 01/18/2009 9:26:44 AM PST by bray (Gov Palin isn't ready for the District of Corruption)
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To: vietvet67
We know how C. S. Lewis's allegory plays out: good triumphs in the end. Let's hope it does for George W. Bush as well, for the best of everyone, from America to the Middle East, from his defenders to the haters leaping up and down around that table.

I'll say Amen to that!

21 posted on 01/18/2009 9:52:09 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: bray
Will he become more popular in the future? Who cares since President George W Bush doesn’t. His legacy is written in the lives of 50 million Iraqis and Afghani as well as no attacks since 911. That is worth 25% approval ratings to him.

Well said, bray!

22 posted on 01/18/2009 9:56:52 AM PST by SuziQ
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To: bray

Very well said.


23 posted on 01/18/2009 9:58:13 AM PST by vietvet67
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To: SuziQ

Thanks Suz.

Pray for W and Our Troops


24 posted on 01/18/2009 10:05:42 AM PST by bray (Gov Palin isn't ready for the District of Corruption)
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To: STARWISE; vietvet67

Excellent article.


25 posted on 01/18/2009 11:11:26 AM PST by jveritas (God Bless President Bush and our brave troops)
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To: bray

Excellent post bray.


26 posted on 01/18/2009 11:13:37 AM PST by jveritas (God Bless President Bush and our brave troops)
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To: bray

Great post!


27 posted on 01/18/2009 11:39:23 AM PST by BlueAngel
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To: vietvet67

President George W. Bush the best President to ever sit in the Oval Office.


28 posted on 01/18/2009 12:07:28 PM PST by AmericanMade1776 ( Obama Happens! Not my Fault!)
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To: bray; STARWISE; silent_jonny
FROM THE ARTICLE: It was his plan for Iraq that began his descent into the worst disapproval ratings in the history of Gallup's presidential polling.

BRAY WROTE: His legacy is written in the lives of 50 million Iraqis and Afghani as well as no attacks since 911. That is worth 25% approval ratings to him.

Will someone please tell me by what means can we OBJECTIVELY evaluate the accuracy of presidential "approval ratings?"

Only when we learn to reject such self-serving media-driven premises, and start to base our thinking on our own observations and analysis, will we free ourselves from the tyranny of our seditious Fourth Estate.

What is a presidential "approval rating?" Who invented it? When? Why? Again, by what means can we objectively evaluate their accuracy? When large segments of the populace routinely can't answer basic history and current events questions, how can we expect them to reliably know what kind of job a president (or congress, or anyone else) is doing? Their answers will, at best, be based on extremely superficial impressions driven by, guess who, the same media selling "approval ratings."

Speaking for myself, I don't believe Gallup or anyone else when they tell me a president's approval ratings are in the 90's or in the 20's. I don't need to be told how and what to think.

29 posted on 01/18/2009 12:31:35 PM PST by Wolfstar (This much I know is true, God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.)
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To: vietvet67

bump


30 posted on 01/18/2009 12:57:41 PM PST by ColdSpringGirl
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To: jveritas

Thanks jv, glad you liked it.

Pray for W, America and Our Troops


31 posted on 01/18/2009 2:25:09 PM PST by bray (Gov Palin isn't ready for the District of Corruption)
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To: Wolfstar

Agreed, the approval ratings have nothing to do w/the truth. How can anybody be at 83% when you only get 52% of the vote? No matter what they do or say he still freed 50 million enslaved people and that is what they need to discredit.

Pray for W, America and Our Troops


32 posted on 01/18/2009 2:27:34 PM PST by bray (Gov Palin isn't ready for the District of Corruption)
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To: BlueAngel
Thanks for the ping, Blue Angel! I think this is an excellent comparison.

I think we can all see Pelosi as the White Witch with the knife. And as we watch the cold descend on Washington, D.C., let's all remember that the White Witch made it "always winter, never Christmas."

33 posted on 01/18/2009 4:12:06 PM PST by Miss Marple
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To: vietvet67

Bump


34 posted on 01/18/2009 6:43:35 PM PST by swmobuffalo ("We didn't seek the approval of Code Pink and MoveOn.org before deciding what to do")
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To: Wolfstar; bray

NO polls have any credibility ... NONE!
Voting day counts, but we know how
corrupt and rife with fraudulence they
are.

So NO polls are credible ... period.

Those who quote, follow or believe in them
are factually ignorant.


35 posted on 01/18/2009 7:39:01 PM PST by STARWISE ((They (Dims) think of this WOT as Bush's war, not America's war-RichardMiniter, respected OBL author)
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To: vietvet67
We know how C. S. Lewis's allegory plays out: good triumphs in the end. Let's hope it does for George W. Bush as well, for the best of everyone, from America to the Middle East, from his defenders to the haters leaping up and down around that table.

I just hope he gets to see it.

36 posted on 01/19/2009 7:01:44 AM PST by McGavin999
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