I find it hard to credit anything the press has to say about any person, especially someone as polarizing as the President of the United States of America. The vehemence that the political milieu generates started in this country long before the present day filled with tweets, buzz, blogs, and the twenty four hour news cycle. Back when John Adams was Vice President and the man many wanted to be King, George Washington, was the first President, political opponents and the press said any number of horrible things about Washington. Is any of that remembered now? If it is, it is usually met with scorn. Who could say something bad about Washington?
George W. Bush is not George Washington, let’s get that out in the open. I never thought he was quite the buffoon the media made him out to be, but then again, it’s hard to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to media coverage. I was looking forward to hearing from W in his own words, and in his book, Decision Points, I was not disappointed.
W. breaks his presidency, and some decisions prior to his term, into a few of the most important decisions he made, such as Day of Fire, War Footing, Afghanistan, Katrina, Iraq, and Financial Crisis. He breaks down the situation he was faced with, the possible choices, and the reason for his final decision with clarity, facts, and a humble, self deprecating humor.
If you don’t like W, I don’t think Decision Points will make you like him more. What I think it can do is help you understand the sheer volume of decisions, the heavy consequences of each choice, and the reason for his choices. W. had a lot of bad things thrown his way that he didn’t have any control over, and made the best decisions he could with the information that he had at the time. I can’t imagine any of us wanted to lead the country through 9/11, Hurrican Katrina, or the financial meltdown at the end of his presidency.
He isn’t afraid to lay the blame for a situation where he thinks it belongs, even when the blame falls to him. He readily admits the mistakes he made, but also explains why he made the choices he did. We won’t all agree with the choices he came to, but I know I can’t fault him for making the tough, unpopular calls that no one else would have made. That’s what a leader does.
I strongly recommend this book. For a guy who avoids politics, it was refreshing to see what went into the decisions that the media would so egregiously blow out of proportion. I was also happy to see that on many issues I had heard of, the end result was very positive. The positive portion is what you’ll miss if you just watch CNN.
4.5 out of 5 stars.