First Posted: 1/15/2009
Despite repeated prodding by reporters during a rare press conference on Tuesday, President Bush refused to apologize to the American people for any mistakes that his administration might have made that helped deliver us 9/11.
His recalcitrance is what makes Bush so maddening to his critics, but is also why his supporters love him. In that sense, he has truly been a divider, and not the uniter that he painted himself as when he won the White House.
The truth is, a Bush apology, no matter how insincere, would probably help him in his effort to win re-election. Americans are incredibly forgiving, and if Bush would look them in the eye, and say that there was more that his administration could have done to prevent 9/11, he would win more votes than he would lose.
So why doesn't Bush apologize? Because Bush truly believes there is nothing that could have prevented 9/11.
Bush isn't, as he said on Tuesday, driven by the polls, and will not compromise himself in the name of Gallup. In fact, the Iraq war could cost him re-election, but Bush will continue to prosecute it because he believes that is America's duty.
That point was made abundantly clear on Tuesday. No matter the question, Bush stayed on key: It's been a tough stretch in Iraq, but it is just one battlefield in the worldwide war on terrorism, and a democracy in Iraq - and the Middle East - will make the world safer for generations to come.
You don't have to believe what Bush says, but there should be no doubt that Bush believes it.