I got some of Bush's last press conference yesterday, and found it a little bizarre. He seemed to acknowledge a few mistakes (the "Mission Accomplished" banner), but he mostly phrased them as "disappointments" (abu Gharib).
What he said about Katrina shows just how out-of-touch he still is, even in retropect:
"I've thought long and hard about Katrina," Bush said. "Could I have done something differently, like land Air Force One either in New Orleans or Baton Rouge?"
But that action would have pulled law enforcement away from helping in the crisis to handle his visit, he said.
I don't think Air Force One landing in New Orleans or Baton Rouge was what people were criticizing about Bush's handling of Katrina. It was his failure to be on top of the situation anywhere, especially before, when it was bearing down, and afterward, when the levees broke. The American people weren't looking for a PR appearance; they wanted someone to whip emergency response into shape — something which could have been down from anywhere. It's odd — and telling — that he doesn't understand this criticism… still.
And other mistakes and disappointments, he simply has a blind eye to. He does not agree, for example, with the premise that America's standing has been damaged abroad, citing China and India. He may be right about China and India, but of course they love us. They're getting all our jobs. And as for moral standing — after the debacles of the Middle East — I doubt even China and India really hold us in high esteem.
RELATED: You can write — and read — goodbye letters to Bush here.