Monday, August 25, 2008

Presidential Legacy

We are very near the election of a new president and the end of yet another presidency in the United States. I am sure that thoughts have turned already in the White House to funding for a presidential library, arranging secret service details for the outgoing chief, and of course the presidential retirement. 

Not that George W Bush appears to need the $161,200 that he will receive annually, or the funding that he will receive for an office and staff to assemble his papers and help to document his “presidential legacy”. He was doing fairly well before he took office, as is the rest of his family, and I expect that this retirement funding will not affect his lifestyle. 

Perhaps in spite of this, Mr. Bush will choose the Clinton path, and a future of speaking engagements around the world that earn him millions of dollars; making any retirement fund superfluous. These post-presidential corporate engagements have so placed the Clintons that they need probably never worry about their future income. (Besides, there is always Hilary’s senatorial retirement to factor in.)  

I find this interesting when compared to another former president, who earned $13,507.72 per year upon leaving office, his army pension. When Congress realized that he was writing his own letters, and buying and licking his own stamps, they granted him an allowance for office expenses and a retroactive $25,000 per year pension. This president, when offered positions on corporate boards, spoke plainly and declined saying, “You don’t want me. You want the office of the president, and that doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it’s not for sale.” 

Later still in his life, when Congress was preparing to award him the Congressional Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused further honor writing, “I don’t consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any reward, Congressional or otherwise.” 

We should bless the memory of the man who once said, “My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference.” We should thank providence that we were lucky enough to be led by a man of keen insight, excellent judgment, and rapier wit; and hope that our current leaders learn something from his example. We should honor the memory of … Harry S Truman.

 

6 comments:

Roland Hansen said...

Now, where exactly is it that the buck stops?

Ben said...

Tim, I cant see Bush going out on the paid speaker circuit like Clinton. Not at all.

Tim Higgins said...

Roland,

In presidential politics these days, I'm not sure the buck ever does ...

Tim Higgins said...

Ben,

I agree. I only pointed to Truman to point out that good and honest men aren't Democrats or Republicans (at least that's the way that it use to be). They're just good men.

I only wish that we had someone who believed in the principles that Harry did running this year.

Tim Higgins said...

By the way, I lived behind a member of Bess Truman's Secret Service detail while living in KC. Even they had a great deal of love and respect for the family. So much so that no one wanted off of the detail until the family was gone.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Tim,

"I only wish that we had someone who believed in the principles that Harry did running this year."

Amen...

Sadly, these days,we're left to choose who we perceive/believe to be the lesser of the two weasels. . .