I’m getting lots of e-mails from folks who disagree with my the talk (although lots agree, too, mind you):
Admit it–if you saw Clinton (or Gore) pull that type of stunt on the aircraft carrier you would lambaste them for a) abusing their privileges with the military as their personal playground in a time of war, and b) using the military for extremely cynical political gamesmanship. And you would have been right.
Bush is not a fighter pilot. He is the CIVILIAN commander-in-chief of the armed forces, not some wanna-be soldier, which is what he clearly looks like here. Can you imagine Presidents Roosevelt, Truman or even Eisenhower doing this? It’s beneath the office and beneath the standard of dignity that Bush himself has placed on the administration of the Presidency. Mark this as the GW Bush Jump the Shark Moment–i.e. the point where administration war hubris started to eat away at real geopolitical gains made by this administration.
I have generally supported the President in his tackling of very tough national security issues, but this is clearly shameful (and shameless) grandstanding. Not worthy of the most powerful office in the world.
I must dissent.
This looks like a stunt designed to generate campaign advertisement footage.
Loyal to the core with GWB, except when he engages in cheap marketing.
This is different, guys. And it’s not just because he is a Republican and I like him. It’s different because he is a leader of a nation that is winning a historically significant war. He is using the props of commander in chief to show the nation and the world—the day after the State Department announced that terrorism is at its lowest point in decades in the U.S.—to demonstrate that we are winning this long war on terrorism, even if we still have miles to go, to show that we support these guys who fought and those who died for our freedom and for the freedom of Iraqis, Afghans, and hopefully in the future, others in that part of the world. As a nation, we went through a heck of an adjustment post-9/11, and he has every right to be on the Lincoln today and tonight. I might add, too, it’s not like he popped on for a quick photo-op—this visit will rank high in life experiences for most of the guys whose hands the president shakes today, or jokes with, or has chow with. Again, this is not some stunt photo op.