Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Greatly Mis-underestimated Bush

Enough media Bush-bashing, and we start to forget the good that Bush has wrought. In Bush over Truman, R.E.Tyrrell reminds us:

In the case of President Bush, where, aside from this column, have you heard of the Bush administration's protracted period of economic growth? Incidentally, the growth continues. We have not had a recession as economists define one, and we are not likely to have one. Instead, we may be entering into a period of inflation, a problem caused by the Fed. Nor is the president complimented for his splendid Supreme Court nominees, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. No president since FDR was hit with the instantaneous violence that Mr. Bush was hit with on 9/11, and most of those who now carp at his reaction are what FDR called during World War II "back-seat drivers."

President Bush's war on terror is -- though it would be imprudent for him to boast of it -- a success. We have not been hit again, though no good is served by the president's crowing about this and thus goading the barbarians to act. As for Iraq, he listened to his proven commanders, adjusted tactics, and we are winning now. In a year or so, we will be pretty much out of the country, and the tyrants of the world will recognize that it is foolhardy to pull a Saddam Hussein and taunt the United States. This outgoing president is being snickered at now in the Kultursmog for his claims that history will judge him favorably. My guess is that he is right.

JohnHuang2" says of Bush "Still a hero after all these years"

Anyone who has been following the MSM for the past eight years and has had nothing but the MSM to go by might be forgiven for believing Bush to be some bungling nincompoop, doomed for the top spot on the list in history's category of failed presidencies -- if not just a footnote, his two terms better forgotten than remembered. Never has so vanishingly little been made about as trailblazing and consequential a leader as President George W. Bush.

For a guy routinely written off as some irrelevant lame duck limping along in the waning days of his presidency, Bush sure has a funny way of showing it. Left for dead after the Democrats' '06 election victory, the President adamantly refused to say die. Plans to steamroll Bush on Iraq were meticulously laid by Pelosi et al, but Bush steamrolled the steamrollers instead. Grabbing a bullhorn, Bush announced a troop surge and dared Congress to stop him. Liberals shook their fists in anger, held hearings, threatened to cut off funding, held still more hearings, threatened to slow-bleed the troops, but Bush called their bluff and he won.

They misunderestimated him, for Bush is like few politicians -- brutally telling it like it is, saying exactly what he thinks, just as he sees it, while waving off the polls and the poll-obsessed media with a chuckle. Agree or disagree, you always know where this President stands on an issue.

Bush is also like few politicians in another respect -- class. The man embodies dignity, elegance and decorum. Despite the continuous discharge of attacks against him and his good name, Bush has never responded in kind. He plays the hand he's been dealt, doing so with unsurpassed class and grace as only he can, never whining, never complaining, never allowing any grudge to fester as he goes about his business, carrying out the most stressful job in the world with unrivaled confidence and optimism, unswayed by the fickle wind of public opinion.

Most politicians instinctively go for the easy road -- marking time, cutting deals, no heavy lifting, don't offend anyone and ride those Rocky Mountain high approval ratings to the finish. But Bush doesn't do Easy Road. If marking time and sitting out the big decisions means good ratings, that's a trade-off Bush wasn't going to make. From the get-go, Bush grasped the basic meaning of 9/11, that this is war, and wars aren't won with indictments or subpoenas, nor by leafing through Noam Chomsky. In Afghanistan, Bush made quick work of the Taliban, confounding the armchair strategists and every brutal Afghan winter scenario, then, against the wishes of the New York Times, knocked Saddam off his gold toilet seat and down the gallows trap door. Bush never flinched.

Seven years after leaving a hole in Manhattan, al-Qaeda has been rendered so diminished, Obama seems to think it's just some Chicago gang that Bush didn't read its Miranda rights to. Liberals frantically insist that all is well with al-Qaeda -- a few setbacks here and there, but the lads soldier on. Yet, for all the happy talk, sources indicate there hasn't been a terrorist attack on the homeland since 9/11. Seven years without another blow on U.S. soil, so Obama is nagging that captured enemy combatants weren't getting their own free lawyer. First they came for the innocent shepherd Khlaid Sheikh Mohammed and I said nothing . . .

If Truman laid the Cold War victory's foundation (followed up by Reagan actually winning the Cold War), Bush is doing, foreign policy-wise, something as big and transformative in applying the 'Drain the Swamp' or 'Kill-'Em-Before-They-Kill-You' method in dealing with Muslim fanatics, as opposed to the failed 'Book-'em-and-fingerprint-'em' approach, which Obama likes, according to his teleprompter.

If al-Qaeda sought to alter the strategic equation by altering the Manhattan skyline, Bush went on to alter the strategic equation of the whole Middle East itself, with al-Qaeda losing the colossal bet it placed on lots of haggling in Washington over the fine print of the Geneva Conventions and no response beyond indictments and stern, fierce, tough, harsh and forcefully-worded U.N. paperwork. Oh, al-Qaeda got the 'lots of haggling' part to a tee, with its in-the-tank cheering fans dragging John Ashcroft before Congress which wanted to know why the 'harsh' 'outside the regular criminal justice system' military tribunals for foreign nationals trying to slaughter all of us. Ashcroft "owes the country an explanation," sniffed Pat Leahy. Warming to the theme, Bush owed al-Qaeda a major butt-kicking and they got it; Afghanistan and Iraq, gone as safe havens; tens of thousands of dead jihadis; funding sources drying up, etc.

All presidents get a second look from history, and inevitably history will give Bush his second look, but when that time comes, Bush will take his place near the top in the rankings of America's greatest presidents.


theskeptic said...

My favorite thing Bush did was cajoling Congress into giving him more authority with FISA that ultimately takes our civil liberties away!

The Fourth Amendment is so antiquated. Bush has such foresight!

Anonymous said...

I would challenge you to explain how it is that listening in to terrorist conversations impinges on your civil liberties. Your 4th Amendment rights forbid 'unreasonable search', yet it is quite reasonable to do what the bill does:
- they need to get court order, but can in emergency situations tap phone lines so long as they get FISA court approval within 7 days.

The bill does not in any way impinge on your 4th amendment rights. It might cramp your style if you are calling your uncle Osama in pakistan, but other than that you wont even be affected.