Jaun Williams article "Judge Obama On Performance Alone" is must reading. It also will earn Williams calumny from the Racial Victimhood-ists of the Left.
One of George W. Bush's most compelling promises in the 2000 election campaign was that he would restore dignity to the office of the Presidency. He made good, for his part, conducting himself with decorum, as a steward of the lofty responsibilities of the Chief Executive, Head of State and Commander in Chief of the greatest nation on Earth. That was a welcome relief from the sophmoric Clinton years.
What George W. Bush couldn't control was the behavior of others toward the President. Something snapped in a lot of Leftist Democrats when the disputed Florida vote went for Bush, and rather than being assauged by the passage of time, the Democrat Left became progressively more looney, afflicted with what some have dubbed "Bush Derangement Syndrome."
American politics have never really been the model of civility, because Americans disagree about important things, but the craziness of the accusations against President Bush is surely on the short list of outrageousness.
In that context, what impressed me most about the man (and often frustrated me) was his humble determination to not return evil for evil or insult for insult, entrusting his reputation to divine justice. "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly" (I Peter 2:21-23). By so doing, George W. Bush did set a high standard of dignity for the presidency.
Thanks to the confluence of an epidemic of Bush Derangement Syndrome among Leftists and the communication technology of the internet, George W. Bush is probably the most lied about human being in history. A distinction he earned by steadfastly pursuing his duty as Commander in Chief of America's Armed Forces to defend this nation and its Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Public Opinion Polls of Job Approval have judged President Bush harshly, but "will not the Judge of all the Earth do right?" I'm betting He will, and that sooner or later, George W. Bush will be vindicated before men for his faithful stewardship of any President's most important duty. On September 11, 2001 the importance of that duty came into renewed focus, and I would gladly be first in line to shake the hand of the man whose leadership has kept America safe ever since.
Apparently the first Republican Talking Point on the sheet is, "I hope President Obama succeeds." Now that's almost as stupid as "Hope" and "Change." The CONTENT matters! Succeeds at what?
I certainly hope, and will pray, that President Obama succeeds at preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution of the United States and seeing that the laws are faithfully executed, but as for the agenda Obama promised during the campaign, God forbid that he should succeed at that!
Am I supposed to hope (because the President is new, or because he is the first African American, or because I want to seem bi-partisan) that Obama succeeds in passing and signing the Freedom of Choice Act? that he succeeds in legalizing homosexuals in the U.S. Military, where my sons may find themselves rubbing elbows with, or worse, saluting them?
Should I hope Obama succeeds at appointing federal judges in the District and Supreme Courts, who regard the U.S. Constitution as a "Living Document," and may overthrow the definition of marriage?
Should I hope that he succeeds in spending additional billions of future taxpayer dollars, saddling business with punishing regulation, singling-out profitable industries for punitive "windfall" taxation, un-doing the Bush tax cuts of marginal rates, estates, capital gains, dividends, investments in equipment, child-tax credit, undoing of the marriage penalty?
Should I hope Obama succeeds in eliminating secret ballots in Labor Union votes?
Should I hope that Obama succeeds in stiffing our courageous, democratic, terror-fighting ally, Columbia, by deep-sixing CAFTA?
Should I hope Obama succeeds in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq by a premature withdrawal? Should I hope he succeeds in shutting down our terrorist detention facility at GITMO or undoes the USA Patriot Act, that he succeeds in abandoning the collection of signals intelligence (known among Media and Democrats as "domestic wiretaps") on international phone calls to or from suspected enemies of the U.S.? Should I hope Obama succeeds at meeting with dictators and thugs who hate America and long to use the President of the United States as a propaganda foil?
Should I hope Obama succeeds in further radicalizing Public Education with the anti-American and/or Afro-Centric indoctrination programs that he and a guy from his neighborhood promoted through the Annenberg Challenge?
Count me out.
A good way for Republicans to begin crawling out of the post-election bunker might be by specifying what we mean when we wish President Obama success, namely that we wish America success, which will be best accomplished if Obama FAILS to deliver on his planned agenda.
Maybe it takes an Illinois Republican (see: Endangered Species List) to say it, so I will:
The U.S. Senate has no Constitutional authority to refuse to seat a duly appointed Senator, and that’s what Roland Burris (see: Democrat Hack) is. Blago is the Governor, invested with the authority, by Amendment 17 and Illinois Statute, to fill the Senate vacancy, which he did by selecting Burris. The fact that Blago is charged with crimes and facing impeachment doesn’t alter his authority unless and until he is removed from office.
The U.S. Senate is empowered by Article 1 to judge the qualifications of its members,* not to arbitrarily invent the qualifications. The qualifications are specified in the U.S. Constitution, so the U.S. Senate has the power to determine whether Burris is 30+ years old, a US Citizen for the past nine years, and a resident of the State of Illinois. As far as I know, no one is claiming that Burris is actually a resident of Kenya, so Harry Reid and Co. are obliged to swear him in.
While it is tempting to wish for a protracted Democrat self-destruct fest, Conservatives value the integrity of our Constitutional Republic above tactical political advantage. That’s one of the things that differentiates us from the Competition (see: Democrat Party), so this would be a good moment for some Conservative Republicans to stand up for the Constitution, with the ancillary benefit that Harry Reid et al. are currently caught off-base, standing, as it were, in the Senate Chamber Door, in the great Democrat tradition of George Wallace, to exclude a Black man from their domain. The moment of opportunity is passing quickly as Senate Dems will shortly fall into line for Obama, who just wants the matter to go away – yesterday -- and Republican skittishness will probably carry the day, meaning no GOP elected officials will leave an imprint on the public discourse in defense of the Constitution; notwithstanding that all Senators raise their right hand and swear to defend it.
*the U.S. Senate is also empowered by Article 1 Section 5 to judge the election results of its members, and the Democrat majority will no doubt do so with cynical dereliction in the case of the Minnesota election, by seating Al Franken. So much for supposed Democrat angst over stolen elections, eh?
It’s a priceless image: Harry Reid, returning to his Democrat Roots, standing in the Senate door to keep out a Black man.
That’s the Democrat Party's version of the "Big Tent" strategy: George Wallace, welcome home; Roland Burris, we don’t serve your kind.
From columnist Kathleen Parker to General Colin Powell to the NY Times Editorial Board, the battered Republican Party is hearing the predictable advice that flows from these fountains of political insight following every Republican electoral defeat (and come to think of it, following every Republican electoral victory), the constant message is, “Purge the Conservatism. If only the Republican Party would be more moderate, less ideological, more willing to cross the aisle, the Sun would again shine on Republican fortunes."
In the present case the target of these critiques is not the GOP standard bearer, John McCain, since the “Maverick” Senator is the incarnation of this very approach; rather, these sages point to Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, as the problem with the GOP’s losing ticket, about which a few thoughts:
1) When has the Vice Presidential candidate ever been make or break for a presidential campaign? Answer: Never.
2) What does it say about the appeal of the top of the ticket, if the bottom of the ticket could turn away a decisive proportion of voters? Barack Obama was a strong enough candidate to weather the presence of the self-important buffoon and abject idiot Joe Biden on his ticket. If McCain was a winner without Palin, it's not reasonable to conclude that she dragged him down to defeat.
3) Quite the contrary, the excitement generated by Sarah Palin’s candidacy saved the longshot McCain campaign from suffering a genuine landslide defeat.
4) Sales & Marketing 101 teaches that to gain market share you must differentiate your brand from the competition. The McCain campaign was gaining popular support, coming off of the Palin selection, when the Credit Crisis hit. With an opportunity to set himself apart from Obama (by pointing out that the Housing Market debacle was a product of government policy), McCain instead defaulted to media-friendly Washington-speak, “Wall Street Greed” is the problem, a taxpayer bailout and more regulation are the solution. G R O A N. Thanks for clearing that up Senator McCain, just one thing, if bigger government and more control over private property is what we need, then let’s elect a true believer, what do we need you for?
In the VP Debate, the McCain Campaign placed the “Wall Street Greed” line into Conservative Sarah Palin’s mouth, which explains her continual winking at the camera: she was winking the Morse Code for T-O-R-T-U-R-E, so Americans would know she was being forced by her captors, er I mean handlers, to say words she did not mean.
The simple fact is that Republicans ran just the type of candidate that Colin Powell and his ilk assure us is the key to Republican victory, and that candidate lost decisively. This is no time for the GOP to bail out the failed ideas of Republican Moderates. When your advice leads to failure it’s your ideas that should be purged. Running a Moderate Republican, John McCain, didn’t work, so why should the GOP listen to those who recommend more of the same?
Rick Warren is one of those “third way” Christian political activists, the kind who remind you more of Bill Gates and Bono than of James Dobson and Jerry Falwell. It’s like the Christian version of “Compassionate Conservatism,” in which those who have been fighting the good fight all along, both in and out of season, are implicitly and explicitly rebuked by today’s aspirants for being mean-spirited, heartless, intolerant, judgemental, racist-sexist-bigoted-homophobic and most reprehensible of all, a turn-off to swing voters.
So the Rick Warrens and Bill Hybels, etc… of Evangelicalism offer to show us the path of light and verity, caring about the poor, about AIDS, about at-risk children (as if the "dinosaur" Religious Right had not been doing those things all along, sans the sanctimonious fanfare), and making holy pilgrimages to that most holy of all holy destinations, Africa, complete with soft-focus videography to document their superior compassion.
From the pulpit, they pre-emptively invalidate any outbreaks of common sense in the pew by couching their Left-leaning affinity with Big-government Nanny-ism in immaterial disclaimers of the “The church is not about politics, the church is about Jesus” variety (well duh, thanks for letting us in on that), thus clearing the way for the third-way preacher -- now self-cleansed from the apparently epidemic sin of substituting politics for Jesus -- to advocate “solutions” -- which just coincidentally happen to read like highlights from the DNC Platform -- to every problem under the Sun, without the taint of idolizing politics attaching to himself.
It must be a very satisfying process for the practioners, allowing the third-wayers to go up to the temple to pray, thankful to God that they are not as other men, mean-spirited, intolerant, bigoted, nor even as that Moral Majoritarian.
And what reward do the third-wayers have for dissing the pioneers of modern evangelical political stewardship? Why, the acceptance of the Political Class: the chatterers, the newspaper writers, Oprah, the “ladies” on The View, and hip politicians like BHO. So, it’s a fitting irony that, having venerated the vast majority of Leftist relics, Rick Warren finds himself just as vilified and hated as the most hayseed, Bible-thumping televangelist, and by the very people his “outreach” was designed to win over, just because he wouldn’t genuflect at the alter of “Gay Marriage.”
How can this be? The old guard knew instinctively that Liberalism is an EVIL philosphy, because its essential character is to displace the Living God with Government, substitute the stigma of corporate divergence from Marxist and Politically Correct ideals for the stigma of personal sin, seek salvation/perfection through human institutions, collectivize property, and deny the divine-image-endowed potential and prerogative of every man to successfully navigate free choices and associations. Knowing that the philosophy is itself evil, the Dobsons, Falwells and Robertsons, though never so hip or polished as Rick Warren, did not bother to seek common ground on Liberal turf. Rick Warren, on the other hand, by stipulating to the (false) Liberal premise that Conservative Christians are characterized by intolerance, mean-spiritedness etc…, in order to gain the acceptance of Liberals, is grasping at the wind. What is so tragic as unrequited love, eh?
Disclaimer: I have no particular hostility to or affection for Rick Warren. The foregoing is simply my observation/analysis:
I had an extraordinarily easy drive to work this morning thanks to the Chicken-Little-esque news reporting of the Chicago area's anticipated snow storm.
Originally forecast to begin at Noon yesterday, then at 3:00 PM, then at 6:00 PM, the snow finally began falling about 11:00 PM. Instead of the promised 9-inches by this morning we had about two-inches, and it's not much more at 3:00 PM today.
The panicked or indolent cancelled business and school pre-emptively, or opted out without benefit of institutional sanction, and I suspect it was the absence of this latter group from traffic this morning that made the drive so smooth.
I've always been rather disgusted by the end-of-the-world tenor of weather reporting, but the easy drive this morning has made me ambivalent. If terrifying the public about a snow storm dissuades the most timid drivers from venturing onto the roads, thus expediting my drive to the office, I guess I could learn to live with it.
Matt Lewis reports on Townhall.com that Ken Blackwell is running for Republican National Committee Chairman. Some other contenders often mentioned are Newt Gingrich and Michael Steele.
If I had to choose between these three good, well-qualified men, Newt Gingrich, Michael Steele and Ken Blackwell, I'd go with Ken Blackwell. Why? Hes closer than Steele to Newt's intellectual firepower, but doesn't have Newt's rough edges in the personality department.
Blackwell's grasp of theoretical and applied Conservatism is superb, which I'm not certain I could say for Michael Steele (see my post of 11/18/08) on all occassions, and Blackwell has something else that Newt has, namely the ability to make Liberals foam at the mouth. As Ohio Secretary of State, he certified the 2004 Presidential election results in that decicive state. Since the actual votes counted up in favor of Bush and the Exit Polling counted up in favor of Kerry, it became an article of faith for whacky Liberals (but I repeat myself) that Ken Blackwell stole the 2004 election for Bush.
Unlike Newt, Ken Blackwell carries no baggage of personal dislike or distrust with the non-insane asylum portion of the electorate, while still fulfilling one of Rush's undeniable truths of life, that you should tweak Liberals at every opportunity.
John McCain, continuing his insistence upon civility, which he established in the Presidential campaign, rebuked the President-elect, as he did his own supporters during the campaign for "taking the low road." At a book signing for the former presidential candidate's new autobiography, The Audacity of Irrelevance, McCain told reporters, "I will not stand by while Obama disparages his own integrity, character, and honesty (by mentioning his middle name, Hussein). As Americans, we're better than that."
The writer is a self-confessed Independent, which usually indicates either self-important sanctimony or ponderous ignorance. How hard is it, after all, to take sides between the Party that (rather haplessly at times) stands for limited government, free enterprise and strong national security and the Party that stands for Big Government, Redistribution of Wealth and Blame-America-First?
Anyway, the thesis of his article is that Social Conservatives are proponents of big government, in support of which he cites our various defensive actions in the culture war as evidence that Social Conservatives are intent on getting “government into the bedroom.” I was struck particularly by the following nonsense paragraph.
< The Gallup poll has been tracking attitudes on abortion for three decades, and in 2008 found that only 17 percent of Americans want abortion illegal in all circumstances, consistent with the GOP party platform’s support for a constitutional ban on abortion. On the opposite extreme, Gallup found that only 28 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be legal under all circumstances. Most Americans are in the middle, favoring reasonable restrictions within which a woman — not the government — has a right to choose whether she will give birth.> [emphasis mine]
I defy the author, or anyone else, to identify a considered version – much less the GOP Platform endorsed version – of a Human Life Amendment that would OUTLAW anything. This distinction is not splitting hairs, rather it goes directly to the heart of why Social Conservatives are authentically Conservative and Mr. Avlon’s give-the-people-what-they-want Libertarianism is not.
Conservatism is not anarchy, nor is it merely about limited government, it is about Constitutionally limited and defined government, with the just powers of government deriving from the consent of the governed. Social Conservatives have consistently fought to have society’s laws enacted by representative elected bodies, accountable to the Governed, while the advance of the social upheaval that Avlon refers to as “Progressive” has occurred primarily through the unelected unaccountable courts, and has been forced upon the Governed without their consent, Roe v. Wade being the Cornerstone of that malfeasance.
Moreover, Conservatives respect the intentions and institutions of America’s Founding Fathers, including a distrust of direct democracy. That’s why Conservatives understand that the only will of the People that matters is that which is expressed by the lawful acts of Constitutionally endowed entities, not the results of the latest public opionion poll.
Kathleen Parker, a Conservative-ish columnist, who a couple months ago got her name added to many a Washington DC Cocktail Party guestlist (just in time for the holiday social season) by calling on Sarah Palin to withdraw from the GOP ticket, offers her explanation of how Christian Conservatives of the “oogedy-boogedy” variety, like Governor Palin (which also means like me), can best serve the electoral prospects of the Republican Party.
Parker’s presciption is to stop mentioning the G-word, and make our arguments based on reason alone. There are a number of problems with that formulation, not the least of which is that the electoral “middle” is at least as detached from reason as it is from divine authority. I offer as Exhibit A the recent election of Barack Obama on the reason-free platform of Hope and Change.
In the spirit of non-originality, Kathleen Parker serves up the following shop-worn Moderate Republican analysis of GOP ills. “As long as the religious right is seen as controlling the Republican party, the GOP will continue to lose some percentage of voters, and that percentage likely will increase over time as younger voters shift away from traditional to more progressive values.” The remark would be, well, unremarkable if it were not succeeded by this masterpiece of Constitutional illiteracy: “The cause is not helped when someone of the stature of Rick Warren interviews the leading presidential candidates in his church, questioning them about their faith. If that’s not a religious test, I don’t know what is”[emphasis added]. I’ll take that final clause as a confession: that's right, Kathleen, you don’t know what is.
Well what can I say? I’m so sorry, Kathleen, that we "oogedy boogedy" Republicans are embarrassing you, but to be fair, you embarrass us with statements like, “The cause is not helped when someone of the stature of Rick Warren interviews the leading presidential candidates in his church, questioning them about their faith. If that’s not a religious test, I don’t know what is.”
Just as you like to think of the GOP as the Party of sophistication and reason, we yokels like to think of the Republican Party as the Party of constitutionally limited government. So, when one of our putatively more enlightened Party comrades, like yourself, suggests that the Constitutional prohibition against religious tests for national office binds individuals, rather than limiting the central government, we blush that our Party includes your ilk.
BUT, as they say, there's a lot more that unites us than divides us, so in the interests of promoting the triumph of our many shared ideals, we choose to link arms with you, even when you embarrass us by being Constitutionally -- well, what is the word I'm looking for? That's it, Oogedy Boogedy.
I confess I’ve had my doubts about Barack Obama’s qualifications to confront the threat of terrorism, but a story like the one below illustrates that there are some manifestations of terrorism that a big-government Leftist like Obama are tempermentally better suited to handle than any Conservative ever could be.
<NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. — The latest case of zero-tolerance at the public schools has a 10-year-old student sadder and wiser, and facing expulsion and long-term juvenile detention. And it has his mother worried that his punishment has already been harsher than the offense demands.
Alandis' gun was a "cap gun," a toy cowboy six-shooter that his mother bought for him.
"We got it from Wal-Mart for $5.96," Tosha Ford said, "in the toy section right next to the cowboy hats. That's what he wanted because it was just like the ones he was studying for the Civil War" in his fifth-grade class at Fairview Elementary School.
Alandis was charged with possessing a weapon on school property and with terroristic acts and threats.
Christians who voted for Barack Obama, knowing that he is radically pro-abortion, now own every executive action that leads to more babies aborted, that tramples the conscience of reluctant taxpayers, healthcare providers and med students, and that lends the legitimizing force of law to an act so abhorrent to the God they confess.
Christians who voted for Obama not knowing that he is radically pro-abortion, also own all those evils, because they are guilty of gross negligence in their stewardship of the divine trust of self-government.
I wonder how many Christian Obama voters considered in advance just what they would own if their vote landed on the winning side.
I heard Michael Steele on the radio (in Chicago) this morning and came away less enthusiastic about seeing him as RNC Chairman.
Here's why: Steele, who embraces pretty much the same pro-life Conservative values I do, explained his version of a winning GOP strategy as drafting candidates who reflect the issue positions of voters in their district/state. Now, this isn't entirely off-base, but I was unpleasantly surprised to hear Michael Steele state this as the centerpiece of the effort to regain Republican majorities.
Whatever happened to winning over voters to Conservative IDEAS? The GOP will never expand its base sufficiently by Leftward flanking manuevers -- voters on the Left already have a major Party of choice: Democrats. Republican success has come from proposing Conservative solutions that win over voters from the middle to Conservative IDEAS. That's how Reagan succeeded and that's how The Contract With America succeeded.
If the last few weeks of the hapless McCain campaign didn't cure us of the attraction of ME-TO Republicanism, I don't know what will. The election was OVER when the credit crisis loomed onto the national stage and John McCain's response was to rail against "Wall Street greed"and rush to Washington D.C. where the federal government would save us. Memo to McCain Campaign: we already have a Party that hates capitalism and thinks government is the answer to every problem; if you sound just like them, why should anyone buy from you instead of them?
No doubt Republicans should be wise as serpents (like Rahm Emmanuel) and recruit viable candidates, but if we ever hope to escape permanent minority status, we'll need to lead with ideas, and the Leftist idea concession is already taken, so it will have to be Conservative ideas if the GOP is to have a unique selling proposition. Not to mention that Conservative ideas are what America desperately needs.
Of course, every man can understand why John Mark Reynolds would engage in whatever diplomacy is necessary to avoid sleeping on the couch, but is placating Mrs. Reynolds really a burden that all Conservatives should have to bear? We’re talking about RNC Chairman, not poster child. Newt has proven his ability to build a successful Republican Brand, and the only other person who can make that claim went to heaven four years ago, so Newt’s the best we’ve got.
All too frequently some Republican, like John Mark Reynolds or Dr. Dobson, bellows above the din, “I’ve got a bomb! Everybody do what I say and nobody gets hurt.” There is a human impulse to halt, aghast at the threatened carnage, and try to strike a lifesaving bargain, but we must never negotiate with “terrorists,” even if they are our ideological allies; it leads to electoral failure.
Mr. Reynolds is also worried that college students won’t like Newt because he is yesterday's news. What kind of ‘60’s "Generation Gap" psycho-babble is that? Shall we recruit Leonardo DiCapria or some other powder puff who hasn’t yet had his first shave to chair our Party in the hour of need? Young people who are disposed to be attracted to Conservative ideas can learn from and be led by a grown up, young people who cannot be attracted to Conservative ideas cannot be attracted to Conservative ideas, and young people who are in the mushy middle don’t know any more about the history of Newt Gingrich than they do about William Ayers, The Cold War or (by the time of the next Presidential Election) 9/11.
We're supposed to worry about Newt’s identification with the Clinton Era? Does John Mark Reynolds think that's what undecided voters obsess over? The reason they're undecided is that, when it comes to politics, they don't obsess over anything! I think Mr. Reynolds needs a vacation from Washington inside baseball, and maybe some therapy. “And how are we this morning Mr. Reynolds, did you sleep well? Ready for another cleansing? Good, take a deep breath and repeat after me, slowly, ‘Nobody knows who’s RNC Chair, nobody actually cares.’ Good, and again…” Well, of course WE care who chairs the Party, but none of the People who we are trying to win over to voting for Republicans (with the exception of the volatile Mrs. Reynolds, who Newt will drive into the arms of the Democrats) knows or cares.
Moreover, Reynolds misses the simple fact that WHOEVER becomes leader of the Republican Party will be vilified by Democrats and their media lackies (or is it the other way around?), and if we pick a leader who doesn’t have any baggage Democrats and the media will MAKE UP some (e.g. Sarah Palin), so you may as well put your best players on the field and play your game. Can you imagine John Mark Reynolds on General Eisenhower’s staff? “But General, this plan will never work, if we hit the beaches at Normandy the Germans will be there shooting at us.”
On a winning team guys like John Mark Reynolds get sent out to pick up some Starbucks (“and Reynolds, don’t forget the cream and sugar this time!”) while guys like Newt Gingrich plan and execute strategies that win wars.
John Derbyshire's petulant insult of President Bush: "now I wouldn't let the fool park his car in my driveway" is an injustice to a leader who has accomplished what no one thought probable back on 9/12/01 -- keeping the USA safe from further jihadi terrorist attacks. He did so by maintaining an iron backbone even when various of his natural allies in national security turned against him.
It is disingenuous or self-deceiving to act shocked at Bush's Big Government Republicanism, when the “Compassionate” part of W’s “Compassionate Conservatism” was always the trade-off we accepted in order to field a winning candidate, but prior to recent bailouts and quasi-nationalizations, it was not generally G.W. who drove spending escalation (notable exceptions include Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, No Child Left Behind -- both were campaign promises, not surprises to Conservatives – and AIDS spending in Africa), rather the GOP House and Senate -- which actually ran on reducing the size and scope of government -- became addicted to pork and Bush never stood up to them. If anything damaged the Republican Party it was the porkification of the GOP Congress. Bush deserves blame, but only a 1/274th share (i.e. 218 GOP Reps + 55 GOP Senators + 1 President = 274).
Additionally, Bush made three big mistakes in the War on Terrorism, probably a record low for any Commander in Chief in a lengthy war. Mistake 1) too slow to change strategy and generals in Iraq – but he did change it and victory is now in sight. 2) played the U.N. dawdling game, permitting Saddam and Co. to plan and prep for insurgency. 3) grossly underestimated America’s most implacable and vindictive enemy – no not Al Qaeda you goof, LIBERALS. Bush naively believed all of that hand-holding-on-the-Capitol-steps-God-Bless-America routine, when in fact the American Left was merely laying low in the interests of self-preservation, awaiting the turn of events that would make it politically safe to resume their default setting of Blame America First.
There is something in that list to make each element of the Conservative coalition angry, but I think what really set off certain Realpolitik Conservatives (Peggy Noonan, George Will and WFB Jr. come to mind) against G.W. was his Second Inaugural Address, in which he asserted that the key to American Security is the replacement of tyrannies with democracies. This sounded to them too little like J. William Fulbright and too much like Wilson, Roosevelt and JFK, with a whiff of Jimmy Carter for good measure; but in a sense I believe those Conservative Cold Warriors are guilty of failing to apply the lessons of WWII and the Cold War to today’s circumstances. You know how the joke goes, “Grandpa, which war did you fight in?” No matter what war it was, Granpa answers, “The Big One.” Well, to a certain generation of Conservatives the Cold War was “The Big One.” Their blind spot is that in this fallen world there will always be another “Big One,” and when The Big One of this generation appeared George W. Bush got it right and stuck with it.
George W. Bush concluded from the 9/11 attacks that facing extra-national enemies with global reach, suicidal fanaticism, and access to technologies of mass killing, America is not only no longer protected by the Oceans, but we are no longer protected by conventional military detterence; therefore, the lynchpin of our security is to use American power to remove those governments who threaten to facilitate terrorist attacks against America, replacing them with governments empowered by the consent of the governed, who even if not aligned with the U.S. will be restrained from adventurism by democratic accountability. Bush was not so much guilty of overestimating the capabilities of the American military as he was of overestimating the perserverance of the American body politic.
(If History still exists after an Obama Presidency, then) History will be much more generous to President Bush than many Conservatives have been so far. As for me, I will remember G.W. for his supply-side and family-friendly tax cuts, his excellent judicial appointments, signing the ban on Partial Birth Abortion, deploying an inchoate national missile defense, and fighting the right war at the right time in the right place. Regarding the latter, and notwithstanding my distaste for Republican Big Government and disappointment about Republican electoral decline, I’m inclined to be generous now to the President who did his job well enough to make my worst nightmares about terrorism in America merely nighmares.
Somewhere deep in the bowels of the Republican Establishment today, strategists, reinforced by the foregone conclusions of drive-by media analysts, are figuring out how to purge Conservatism from the Republican message. This is routine whenever Republicans lose an election, and it is, of course, the precise opposite of the right answer to Republican woes.
Meanwhile, in Democrat Party Bunkers across the 57 States, strategists are poring over precinct-by-precinct vote totals in anticipation of post-2010 Census redistricting. With Democrat dominance in so many State Legislatures, the Party of Elbridge Gerry has a good chance of widening its majority in the House of Representatives merely by the re-drawing of Congressional Districts.
In light of the aforementioned activities of both Parties' wise men, Republicans had better develop Conservative candidates and a Conservative Message to win at least one house of every possible State Legislature in 2010. If they don't, the GOP may not see 200 House seats for another generation.