George W. Bush must be getting pretty depressed. I mean, if my legacy were a burned-over wasteland painted with tears, I'd be bummed too.
But amidst disastrous foreign wars and economic collapse, perhaps there is a little solace from an unlikely source: the guy who whipped his shoes at the soon-to-be ex-President.
Muntadar al-Zeidi has had a pretty crummy time since his shoe-nanigans. He's been arrested, beaten, and forced to apologize for his stunt, and now faces the prospect of a lengthy jail term. I suppose he should have thought about that before hurling his footwear. And, I'm no fan of journalists exploiting their access to make personal political points. But still, in the grand order of human misdeeds, weaponized Nikes are fairly light weight.
In the wake of the felonious shoe assault, Bush said some pretty laid-back, insightful things, basically that the occassional flying wingtip was a small price to pay for a free society. In that spirit, Bush should intervene on Al-Zeidi's behalf. Surely, the President of the United States has the clout to bust a lone shoeman out of jail.
Think of it: at the close of an ignominous term, Bush can take the high road. He can say, "Yes, this man threw his shoes at me. But in the interest of democracy and freedom, let him go." Not only will this make Bush appear magnaminous and actually committed to the liberty-related rhetoric he is fond of quoting in speeches, but it may even win a few points in the Muslim world. Al-Zeidi is a hero for throwing his shoes. If Bush frees him, he may win a little grudging respect.
Let Al-Zeidi go, Mr. Bush. Let's be honest: it may be the only good thing you get remembered for.