2003 Visit by President Bush to the USS Abraham Lincoln
and news of the time with political humor.
Bush Photo
Note all the happy faces!
President Bush rode a jet for a trap landing on the deck of that carrier, instead of a helicopter, and the Democrats think they have a grand new issue.

The Democrat’s silly stand seems to be this:  "The Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces should stay away from The United States Armed Forces".
Byrd Photo
Sen. Robert Byrd D/WV is in a snit over President Bush's speech last week on the USS Lincoln. (The Robert C. Byrd Highway; the Robert C. Byrd Locks and Dam; the Robert C. Byrd Institute; the Robert C. Byrd Life Long Learning Center; the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship Program; the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope; the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing; the Robert C. Byrd Federal Courthouse; the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center; the Robert C. Byrd Academic and Technology Center; the Robert C. Byrd United Technical Center; the Robert C. Byrd Federal Building; the Robert C. Byrd Drive; the Robert C. Byrd Hilltop Office Complex; the Robert C. Byrd Library; the Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center; and the Robert C. Byrd Rural Health Center.) yes, that's the one.

Last week Byrd accused President Bush of "flamboyant showmanship" after the president gave a speech on the USS Robert C.--whoops, make that the USS Abraham Lincoln.


Byrd stated before the senate: "President Bush's address to the American people announcing combat victory in Iraq deserved to be marked with solemnity, not extravagance; with gratitude to God, not self-congratulatory gestures," Byrd said in a Senate floor speech yesterday. "American blood has been shed on foreign soil in defense of the president's policies. This is not some made-for-TV backdrop for a campaign commercial."
Byrd adds: "I do question the motives of a desk-bound president who assumes the garb of a warrior for the purposes of a speech."

Here's another Byrd quote: "As I watched the president's fighter jet swoop down onto the deck of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, I could not help but contrast the reported simple dignity of President Lincoln at Gettysburg with the flamboyant showmanship of President Bush aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln."    
Clinton Photo
Note the only smile is Clinton's
Well, Golly!  It looks like Clinton on the deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt!  Why, that's exactly what it is!  And looky!  He's wearing a flight jacket!  Don't you think that it's just shameful that this particular Commander-in-Chief posed for these photo ops with the military?  I guess this is OK for a president, if that president is a Democrat who "loathes" the military.

The Democrats continue to complain about President Bush's landing on a carrier at sea -- and the resulting 'Top Gun' image...but see Senator Patrick Leahy [D-VT] already beat Bush to the pose, as this snap featured on Leahy's very own website shows!

And I guess the Democrats hoped we would all forget this picture (below) of another Democrat Politico who played soldier in his tank and lost an election to another Bush:
Dukakis Photo

LBJ Hit the Flight Deck Long Before Bush Did

In addition to Clinton's carrier visit all those Democrats attacking President Bush for landing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln seem to have forgotten that another one of their own, President Lyndon Johnson, beat Bush to the punch by more than 35 years.

LBJ not only landed on a carrier deck, but even sent the ship to sea just so he could make a widely publicized carrier deck landing.

According to Rear Adm. Stephen Pietropaoli, the Navy's chief spokesman, LBJ ordered the USS Constellation to leave port in San Diego and head out to sea so he could take a helicopter ride to the ship and land in its flight deck. Like Bush, he spent the night aboard, mingled with the crew and made a speech. That done, the ship went back to San Diego, having given LBJ the publicity platform he sought. Adm. Pietropaoli told USA Today: "The next day it [the carrier] returned to port."

But Democrats, frantic to find any issue at all, to use against President Bush, ignore the facts and the precedent set by fellow Democrats Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton.

The Right Stuff

My Fellow Patriots, I know many of you have strong feelings on the subject of President Bush's visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln, so I thought you might appreciate CDR McIntyre's letter to Senator Byrd:

Senator Byrd,

As a retired Naval Officer, with two Gulf carrier deployments under my belt, I find your criticism of President Bush's visit to the Lincoln offensive in the extreme! This is the first time that the Commander-in-Chief took time out of his schedule to pay a visit to thank those who served in the line of fire, in a way that was both dramatic and meaningful to those on the carrier.

Perhaps if LBJ got off his fat ass to do something similar,our troops' morale in Vietnam might not have been so low.

As a Naval officer, I am extremely sensitive to styles of leadership. That is, after all, our stock in trade. And it was not lost on me that! the President spent about thirty seconds shaking hands with the Admiral, CO, and CAG (If you don't know these abbreviations just look them up in your Funk & Wagnalls!) He then spent the next forty-five minutes putting himself at the disposal of the people who make that ship work, the yellow shirts, the green shirts, the purple shirts, the chiefs, the sailors.

If you don't know the significance of those colored shirts, look it up in your Blue Jacket's Manual. Not dressed out in formal uniform (I understand at Bush's request), but in their greasy, smelly! , sweaty working uniforms ... working a flight deck is hot, hard work. And yet he, in his flight suit, put himself at their disposal, this was their moment for 19 or 20 something year old kids a few years out of high school, to get a picture of themselves with the President of the United States, his arm draped around their shoulder.

That is a moment that those kids never dreamed would ever happen to them, maybe not even when they knew he was coming aboard. Surely, he would see the brass, not the troops. But it was the troops to whom he gave his time ... and it was the most natural moment in the world. You might have thought it was a family reunion, and in a way, it was...

Bush is one of them, the common man, and while he is still the most powerful man on the planet right now, he hasn't lost his touch for them.

Was it a political moment?

What moment of a president's life is NOT a political moment? Was it grand standing, to come in to an OK pass to a 4 wire, a bit high in close, correcting, left of centerline? Well, hell, he didn't fly the approach anyway, though I understand from the pilots who flew him that he did a pretty good job at formation flying, tucked in close for a lead change. ! You can always tell a fighter pilot, you just can't tell him very much. And apparently after thirty years, it all comes back, with a little coaching, I am sure. Frankly, I would have liked to see him come aboard in an FA-18, but the Secret Service vetoed that, and Bush accepted their judgment ... again, a mark of a good leader.

If you had spent some time in the service, instead of the Klan, you might understand the significance of that moment to all the men and women aboard the Lincoln, and indeed to all the men and women in the service who shared that moment vicariously. But you chose the bedsheet instead of the uniform, and so you don't.

I am half-tempted to move to West Virginia just so I could vote against you in your next election.

/s/Lewis F. McIntyre CDR, USN (Ret)

~ © 2003 David L. Griffith ~

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