There are two kinds of presidents — actors and reactors. President Bush is an actor. He tries to make things happen, not just respond to events.
That came through in a new way to me this week as I met with the president for a half hour in the Oval Office. I asked the president if he had any thoughts on how history would judge his administration. He said that history evolves and that different generations have different views of the past. He noted that even George Washington (search) was getting another look today and that he is currently reading a book about the first president.
The president told me he thinks the judgment of history will take longer with his administration because he is trying to do "big things." Indeed he is — from the situation in Iraq and last weekend's apparently successful election to reforming Social Security (search), this president leads and forces others to follow.
Some may not like the direction in which he is leading, but they can't fault him for forcing debates over important issues instead of just managing what circumstances come his way.
Two things he must address in the second term — out of control spending by both Democrats and Republicans, and illegal immigration. Congress failing to control spending will put new pressures on an economy that has just begun to recover from the post 9/11 hit. And not controlling our borders is a recipe for cultural disaster and a change in the character of the country we have known.
He enjoys being considered dumb by his opponents. He told me he reads all the time and suggestions he is dumb is a stereotype put out by the elites. He's dumb, all right…like a fox.
And that's Column One for this week.
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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor.