We are rapidly approaching the time when it is traditional for the sitting president to unveil the portraits of the previous president and first lady. I, for one, am waiting to see what transpires. George Bush was one of most most gracious politicians we have seen. Perhaps I have a short memory but I cannot recall him engaging in partisan rancor while in the White House. Obama, on the other hand, has been anything but presidential in his behavior conducting open class warfare against the republicans. Consider the speech given by Bush when the Clinton portraits were unveiled on June 14, 2004 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A40563-2004Jun14.html). President Bush said Clinton demonstrated "incredible energy and great personal appeal" as a candidate for public office. "As chief executive, he showed a deep and far-ranging knowledge of public policy, a great compassion for people in need, and the forward-looking spirit that Americans like in a president. Bill Clinton could always see a better day ahead -- and Americans knew he was working hard to bring that day closer. Over eight years, it was clear that Bill Clinton loved the job of the presidency. He filled this house with energy and joy. He's a man of enthusiasm and warmth, who could make a compelling case and effectively advance the causes that drew him to public service. And meeting those expectations took more than charm and intellect -- it took hard work and drive and determination and optimism and after all, you've got to be optimistic to give six months of your life running the McGovern campaign in Texas." Bush noted some of Clinton's other accomplishments, including his standing as the first Democrat to win reelection to the White House since Franklin D. Roosevelt. "And I could tell you more of the story, but it's coming out in fine bookstores all over America," Bush added to laughter and applause in what amounted to a plug for Clinton's forthcoming memoir.Bush also heaped praise on Hillary Rodham Clinton, currently a Democratic senator from New York and a favorite target of conservatives.Calling her "a woman greatly admired in our country," Bush said Sen. Clinton "inspires respect and loyalty from those who know her, and it was a good day in both their lives when they [the Clintons] met at the . . . Yale Law School Library." Of course, Hillary Clinton a year later called the Bush administration ""a culture of corruption, we have cronyism, we have incompetence," she said. "I predict to you that this administration will go down in history as one of the worst that has ever governed our country." I predict that Obama will be equally gracious.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com