Friday, August 15, 2008

Three Cheers for GWB

To this point in the Georgian crisis, George W. Bush has done and said everything right -- along with the remarkable Condi Rice. The Democrats, including Barack Obama, have offered no insights or suggestions. Instead, as usual, they sit and wait for something to go wrong so they can blame the ever-useful GWB.

At his best, GWB is leading a country called the United States of America. At theri worst (their "default position"), his opponents are preserving their "options," the better to protect their political futures. For all his deficiencies, GWB loves his country. I have seen no evidence that Obama loves his, whichever it might be.

Historians, rather than pollsters, judge presidencies. The first President I really remember was Harry S. Truman. He was in an endless war (Korea) where some 55,000 Americans died. His approval rating was much lower than GWB's. Now, many students of government see HST as one of our best Presidents -- I certainly do. In 1952, however, he was an object of widespread scorn.

There's a new book by Lawrence Freedman, a British subject, on what we've come to know as "The War on Terrorism." He points out that Presidents like FDR and HST faced a dangerous world, but one in which the issues (and the enemy) were much clearer. In our world, it's not that way. How will history judge GWB? Relatedly, how will it judge Bill Clinton and his own efforts against terrorism?

I'll have more Saturday on Bill Clinton's role in failing to prevent 9/11. He could have done much more; especially, he could have appointed better people at the CIA and FBI. Bush could have credibly blamed the Clinton Aministration for what happened on that September day. He chose not to -- and rightly so. He didn't need a divided country in a time of national catastrophe.

After Nov. 5, I'll give my own views on the two men -- Bush and Clinton -- and their respective efforts to protect the people of America. We haven't had a terrorist attack since 9/11, and somehow I don't believe any credit should go to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid.


Under his presidency I expect many gloomy speeches from the Oval Office, but the overall rhetoric will be high-minded. The body count, unfortunately, will be very high, since the folks at al Qaeda, Inc. see him correctly as a lightweight.

Someone once said, "Life is a terrible teacher. First, it gives you the test -- and only then does it teach you the lesson." George W. Bush might choose those words as his epitaph.

Response from Malia in Hawaii:

I'll be blunt; prior to 9/11, I had little time for or interest in politics. My time is still extremely limited but 9/11 was a turning point for me, the day MY world changed. What JFK and Martin Luther King meant to the 60's generation and Reagan to the 80s, Bush has come to mean to me. And I've got news for the nit picking media, I believe most Americans feel the same.

The 'Ask not what your country' and 'I have a dream' and 'tear down this wall' speeches pales to the '“I can hear you. I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” The rhetoric spoken by JFK, MLK, Reagan was meant to inspire--to spin hope for a utopian world not yet realized...Bush's words went straight to a nation needing more than comfort.

Like a rising phoenix, Bush reminded America that she was more than a flashy rarity in governing experience, she was a nation capable of horrendous retribution and one that for all her desire to be one of the 'good guys' could set the world ablaze if pushed. I never forgot--and despite the years of safety that gave us back our self-centered world and allowed us to go back to blaming the powers for everything--I don't think most Americans have.

Do I underestimate Obama? Not at all. What I don't do is underestimate America. In the end, she will put aside her self-absorbed, busy concerns, google the two candidates, cross what they read with what they remember hearing.

Obama: In Europe. A graduate of prestigious schools, with a highly educated wife and adoring children. Sounding like a throw back to the pre-9/11 'I have a dream' though the accomplishments in civil rights had never occurred...knowing little about our lives and our concerns TODAY.

McCain: Old like most of the voters who actually take the time to vote, ex-military who served in a war that millions got shafted over, with a second wife who finds no need to be anything more than supportive and kids that are serving in the military--just like NORMAL people. True, the guy isn't charismatic...he doesn't have people fainting in the aisle. You might say he's another Bush--without the "let's blame him for everything" factor.

But what the media won't tell you--probably because they see only their own world and pay little attention to anyone outside of it--being another Bush is good. Years from now, people are going to look back at the near 8 years of Bush's watch and it's 7 years of record breaking great economy (before Congress was handed to the Dems), when TWO nations (Afghanistan & Iraq) were given the Bill of Rights and did away with female apartheid, and NO MORE attacks on US soil; something NO ONE expected or dared hope in the days following 9/11. Someday GWB's legacy will join the other 3 mentioned men--only his will be earned and thus harder--but not impossible--to achieve.

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