Thursday, October 21, 2004

An Afternoon with Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward was the keynote speaker at the Education Minnesota convention. I was fortunate enough to make it in time to get a nice center aisle seat, 5 rows from the front.

He opened to a standing ovation, receiving a warm greeting from a crowd who wasn't really sure what he was going to share. He waved us down stating

"Please sit down, it's not that good", which was greeted with a room full of chuckles.

He spoke on his preparation for his book 'Plan of Attack', gathering information and documents over the course of many months. He reached a point where it was now time to approach the possibility of sitting down with George Bush. He prepared a 21 page memo to present to him, outlining his desire to speak with him personally. Woodward commented that he was told he was crazy, Bush isn't going to read a 21 page memo, but he did read it. It was the precursor to a 3 1/2 hour, over 500 question interview. Unprecedented access in the history of the Presidency Woodward said.

The book came out and now both sides are promoting it on their campaign websites. Woodward quipped that can only mean that neither side has read it.

This spiel was no rah rah speech like those that preceded his keynote. Prior to him, both Senator Mark Dayton and Garrison Keillor pumped up the crowd in a 'Political Forum' But Woodward was more candid. He made it clear that we would hear some of the things we wanted to hear, but also those that would make us feel 'uncomfortable'.

He spoke of Bush defining the new evil of the 21st Century. In the 1800 it was slavery, in the 20th century it was Nazism, but now we look at the evil of terror. Regardless of how history looks at the Bush administration, it should be acknowledged for defined this new evil that exists in this young century.

Towards the end of his remarks, he brought up Richard Nixon's impromptu final remarks to the members of his staff. Nixon closed those remarks with:
Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.
Woodward acknowledged that although it was too late for Nixon to go back and fix the wrongs, he at least recognized what was the catalyst of his downfall. Woodward went on to say that he has met both John Kerry and George W Bush, and they are not haters. They only want what they feel is best.

I support that contention. I don't honestly believe that the current administration is hateful, just misguided. They may feel what they are doing is what is best, but they act without the understanding of how their actions have been detrimental to us as citizens, and to our nation as a whole. The Right disagrees, and feels a strong animosity towards the Left. I hope, that under the Kerry administration, they will not continue their disdain for their dissenters.

I am committed to working with and supporting whichever candidate is inaugurated next January, and work towards solving the problems that exist today. I am not so sure my colleagues on the Right are willing to make that some vow.


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