I have had C-SPAN on TV 24-7 (literally) for the past few days.

This morning, during the moment of silence at the White House, my five-year old (born five months after 9-11 and carrying the middle name Walker) sauntered through my bedroom and paused in front of the television screen. Momentarily interested in the long angle of the Bushes and Cheneys striding out onto the South Lawn, my son asked: "who is that man who looks like John Wayne without his cowboy suit?"

You guessed it; my son had spotted the President.

It reminded me of one of my favorite Bush lines (from his acceptance speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention):

"Some people say I swagger. In Texas, we just call that walking."

I know plenty of folks who don't like Texans. And, I know plenty of Texans who hate George Bush so much that they deny his "Texasness." In truth, regardless of where Bush was born or educated, I know no one who is more thoroughly Texan than our 43rd president.

Even more to the point, he is thoroughly cowboy. Perhaps he would be clueless on a horse--but he has internalized the code of the West: he is slow talking, straight shooting, loyal, sometimes stoic, sometimes tender, not easily intimidated, slow to anger, but a powerful force when finally fully riled.

And them that don't know him won't like him
And them that do sometimes won't know how to take him
He ain't wrong he's just different
but his pride won't let him do things to make you think he's right

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys
Don't let 'em [be president] and drive them old trucks
Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such

In truth, many of the unkind observations regarding George Bush are absolutely correct. He is often a painfully poor public speaker. He is stubborn. He is loath to admit error. He does have a "high noon" worldview. His loyalty to friends is often misplaced and muscular to a fault.

Specifically, the President "misunderestimated" the scale of the task in Iraq, which led him to stake the vital interests and future of the United States on an extremely difficult long-term mission. As a result, his Iraq policy has placed high stress on the military, the treasury, and American hegemony.

Having said that, much of the ugliness concerning him is egregiously exaggerated and completely unfair. For me, 9-11 is a day that summons the images of the President at his most gallant, standing up to lead a fearful nation with vigor and vision after an attack that might have debilitated a less confident and less grounded man.

No man is entirely good. No man is entirely bad. But, all things considered, I continue to support this president and continue to believe we have been well-served by his decisive leadership. Faced with a menu of unappealing options fraught with peril in the post 9-11 world, the President pursued the best hard choice to the best of his ability (review here). Perhaps over time, history will vindicate him--or perhaps not. Regardless, if we prevail ultimately in Iraq, inarguably, it will be principally a testament to this President's true grit.