Earlier this week I ventured into the capital of the nation’s bluest state to conduct several meetings in Boston. That same day, journalist Robert Draper released his new work Dead Certain, a historical account of the presidency of George W. Bush. This is important to this story, as I had a copy of the book while I was being driven to a television studio to spar with Chris Matthews about a line his staff plucked from the epilogue in which President Bush speculated that he might like to give speeches following his presidency to “replenish the coffers.” 

When the driver asked me what we were to speak about, she laughed as I told her. “Of course the president should think about his future,” she told me. “Anyone who doesn’t think of what they’ll do next is being foolish.” The driver continued by confiding that she was a big fan of the president and that she admired his strong leadership. While Chris Matthews and his other guest thought that it was “unseemly” that the president would consider life after the White House at a time of war, one citizen with whom I spoke agreed that the president is clearly preoccupied with protecting the country as well as the men and women he sent into battle to protect us all. A reflection upon the future now and then is not only normal, but to be expected, despite the protestations to the contrary of the chattering class on television.

The following day, I appeared on National Public Radio where I confronted the same “astonishment” about the line in the book regarding the president’s future plans. I still don’t fathom how people in the media could try to insinuate that the president has failed to focus on his job when it is clear that his entire mandate, which he accepts without hesitation, is to protect our country.

Scratching my head after yet another “astonished” interview regarding the president’s future plans, I traveled back to Boston from Brighton and shared a cab with an executive from a leading civic organization in town. “Is that the new book about the president?” she asked. When I told her it was, she admitted that while a Democrat and not entirely fond of the president’s politics, she admired him for being a strong leader and doing what he thought was best to defend the country against future terrorist attacks.

The interesting exchange in the cab for me took place when she asked me about the president’s intelligence: “I know he’s really smart, but the media doesn’t show him that way, do they?” That has been my frustration with the media coverage and the political posturing on Capitol Hill regarding President Bush for quite some time now. Many in the media and most congressional Democrats seem more interested in attacking the president, incessantly questioning his motives and seeking to score political points, than they are about taking responsible steps to safeguard this country and do the job they were hired to do by the American people.

Having spent 24 hours in Boston this week and chatting with a half-dozen strangers who walked up to me to ask about President Bush, I can tell you that to a person they admired, respected and applauded the president’s focus on protecting this country against future attack. I only wish the media would allow the American people to see George W. Bush as the strong, resolute leader that he is rather than a caricature of a bumbling, unfocused individual they take pains to create and perpetuate on a daily basis.