Since they’re trying to recreate Disneyland tomorrow on the Potomac, I thought I’d spare myself the cost of plane fare and go to the real one in Anaheim.Â GayPatriot readers in the Southland are welcome to join us!Â E-mail me for details.
Archives for January 19, 2009
Ever since I started regularly reading conservative blogs sometime in 2003 or 2004, I loved the level of discourse of my favorite right-of-center sites.Â Or maybe, I should say non-leftist.Â Then, Andrew Sullivan offered a balanced perspective on President Bush, hailing him for his tenacity in the War on Terror, yet faulting him for his occasional arrogance and political short-sightedness.
Glenn Reynolds thought him a decent man, but berated his big-government conservatism.Â Powerline offered a more pro-Bush perspective, yet even those fine fellows took issue with the Bush Administration from time to time, particularly on legal issues.Â Hugh Hewitt, while always offering trenchant political analysis could be pollyannish about the president (and the GOP for that matter).Â Roger Simon focused on the shenanigans of the Hollywood left, wondered about the influence of social conservatives on the GOP, but took a tough line on terrorism.Â And then there are the others, Gateway Pundit, the Anchoress, the Corner, CampaignSpot too many to list here.
Some, like Hugh, may have cut the president a little more slack than he may well deserve, yet none called “Dear Leader” or even treated him as such.Â Yet, all too many of our critics and left-wing bloggers assume we so reverence the outgoing president, with many writing in the vein of this commenter, “conservatives have publicly labeled anyone who disagrees with ‘Dear Leader’ as a traitor.”Â Or this one:Â “When will you all get the idea that patriotism and loyalty to this country is not the same thing as showing loyalty to single person and his cronies?”
Yet, they can find no words to back up their claim, not on this blog, not on any mainstream conservative blog, not even on Hugh’s and, of the thoughtful conservative bloggers, he has been the president’s biggest cheerleader.
A few days ago, while perusing an old post, I caught that latter comment.Â And on the day before Bush leaves office, I wanted to share with y’all my reply, my brief attempt to explain left-wingers assumptions about those conservative (and libertarian) bloggers who, from time to time, have defended the outgoing president:
Where, oh, where did liberals get the idea that we so venerate Bush? Or call him Dear Leader? Could it be they drew the notion from their own psyches, given how eagerly these people revere his successor?
Welcome Instapundit Readers!! While you’re here, check out some of our most recent posts, noting that no “O” Keys where missing from White House keyboards when the new Administration took over and wondering if pundits have been projecting their own views onto the “blank screen” of Obama’s inaugural address.
Leah’s coment to my post, Bush-Hatred and the Bush Legacy that “Obama worship is the flip side of Bush hatred,” reminded me how much Obamania ressembles the 1970s teen craze for singer Bobby Sherman. Like those teenagers (many of whom all but certainly became partisans of the Democratic candidate), Obama’s fans love their man without really knowing what he’s going to do in office.
At a party shortly after the election, a woman who has worked on the Democrat’s campaign told me she supported him because we needed someone to undo the “damage” of the Bush years, yet she couldn’t identify any policies her guy backed, except that he promised to change the way things are done in the nation’s capital.Â Only she couldn’t say how he planned to effect that change. She’s not alone.
But, just as their support for Obama is based more on their own emotions than their candidate’s political philosophy and positions on the issues so too was their Bush-hatred emotionally-based. At a holiday party in December, a Democratic acquaintance raged against Bush and the “right-wing” for creating the mess we’re in.
What policies, I asked, had he enacted which created this mess? He couldn’t answer, but just said “they’d” been in power. I pressed my point. He replied that he didn’t want to have this conversation with a Republican and stalked away.
Others, when pressed, have cited the deregulation of the Bush years. So, when I ask them to identify particular laws the Republican Congress enacted and the Republican President signed to deregulate the financial markets, I was met with a similar silence.Â Indeed, the claims of Obama and his supporters “notwithstanding, the Bush Administration was hardly about deregulation.” Bush, according to George Mason University’s Veronique de Rugy “was the biggest regulator since Nixon.”
Which brings me back to Leah’s point that Obama worship is the flip side of Bush hatred. They love the one without knowing what he stands for and loath the other while mispresenting his record.
In noting additional failures of the Bush Presidency not identified in my Broad Outline of Where W Went Wrong, commenter (and blogger in his own right) V the K points out that president naively expected “the Democrats to put aside partisanship for the good of the country.”
Building on my own first point (how the president took didn’t do “enough to defend his character and promote his programs”), I would offer a similar thought to V the K.Â The president naively assumed the MSM would put their liberal leanings aside to do their jobs and report the news.
In the wake of his 2004 reelection victory, the president probably thought the media would be less hard on him because he couldn’t run for election again in 2008. In the run-up to 2004, they had been hard on him because they were doing their utmost to prevent his reelection.
Having failed that, he must have just assumed they would give him a fair shake in his second term.
But, alas, it seems those in the media don’t just want to defeat Republicans, they want to discredit us as well.
Hugh nails it:
The problem for the new Adminstration trying to position itself in the center and extend to the right is the Democratic Congress and especially its very vocal and very left wing leadership
Read the whole thing!
On Sunday, openly gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson delivered the opening prayer for Obama’s inaugural celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. Robinson was chosen by Obama after the President-elect outraged the gay community and many liberals for picking Proposition 8 supporter and evangelical minister Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at Tuesday’s presidential inauguration. The choice of Robinson, in other words, was seen as something of an olive branch.
Now gay Web sites Towleroad.com and AfterElton.com report that the decision to cut Robinson’s prayer from HBO’s live coverage of Sunday’s events was made by Obama’s people and not the cable network.The live broadcast began after the bishop’s prayer.
In case the Obama team doesn’t know by now, gays are no longer willing to be a silent underclass, so it’ll be interesting to see how things play out in the coming days, as well as Tuesday when Warren, a man who obviously believes it’s perfectly okay for a group of people to have an existing right taken away by popular vote, blesses the nation.
Obama keeps talking about change, but so far gays have only seen the same old political expediancy. As it stands now, the Robinson/Warren episode is a bright and early warning flag.
It is official — The Gays are at war with Obama and the bloom is off the rose of the Messiah.
One of the most amusing things about the past eight years has been watching certain people on the left launch into paroxysms of outrage every time the name, “George W. Bush,” is mentioned.Â They even got upset that, at the close of his tenure in office, he reminded the American people of his accomplishments instead of apologizing for his mistakes. In their eyes, that good man could do no right.
And yes, despite his many flaws, he is a good man.Â Even his Democratic successor has said as much.Â But, for many of his supporters, “to trash Bush was to belong,” as if expressing animosity toward the president were the sacrament of their faith.
George W. Bush, however, is anything but the demon or clown of their caricatures.Â He was — and remains — a complex man who, to be sure, made many mistakes as president, but, who pretty much got the big things right.Â I say, “pretty much,” because while he did shift strategy in Iraq he was slow in doing so.
Above all, he kept us safe.Â Since 9/11, there have been no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
Let us hope the determination in his decisive reaction to the attacks defines his legacy, an example of how a leader should react in time of crisis:
Bush showed America’s enemies a country that does not retreat in fear, does not bomb with impunity, and most important, does not desert civilians or foreign governments that trust us. If you think that doesn’t matter, look at Libya, which disarmed its weapons program. And see how much easier Obama’s presidency will be, because Bush kept the faith.
In the process of looking out for our country, George W. Bush, overthrew two tyrannous regimes and liberated fifty million people.
Just as we remember Harry S Truman today more for his strong stance against the expansion of Communism in the immediate aftermath of World War II rather than his blundering economic policies, notably his attempt to nationalize the steel mills, so will people remember Bush’s resolve against the violent expression of Islamic fanaticism rather than his failure to show similar resolve against the financial shenanigans of unregulated government sponsored enterprises (GSEs).
When a leading liberal pundit and frequent Bush-critic writes that it’s “no longer a close call: President Bush was right about the surge,” we know that the success of the surge has passed from established fact to conventional wisdom.
Not just that, it says something that distinguishes the outgoing president, that, at least on matters of national security, George W. Bush is a man who learns from his mistakes.Â And the two different stories from Iraq, apparent failure in 2005-06 but success in the two years after that helps us see our nation as the land of second chances.
As I read Ancient and European history, I note how many armies forfeited military advantages through strategic or tactical blunders.Â Occasionally, they recover from their “self-created” setbacks, but more often than not, these mistakes lead to eventual defeat (and sometimes and even dismemberment of nations or empires).
Just over two years ago, it seemed we were losing in Iraq.Â We had won the initial stages of the war, but had not effectively adjusted our strategy to meet the changing circumstances on the ground.Â European moralists (or one of their imitators in American universities, think tanks and on liberal editorial boards and blogs) writing about the war (as many of them did) in 2006 (and into 2007 and even ’08), would have defined our “adventure” in Iraq as a failure caused by an arrogant assumption of a bellicose Administration confident that military might alone were enough to secure success.
Americans, however, believe that we can turn a failure into an opportunity and even success.Â We are, to be sure, not the only ones to believe this, but it is a defining aspect of our character.Â We don’t see one failure as determinant of the final outcome.
Not believing that the deteriorating state of the war ensured defeat, George W. Bush, against great odds and much opposition, shifted course in Iraq, perhaps the boldest move of his Administration.Â As a result, his new strategy, dubbed “the surge,” effected in Charles Krauthammer’s words “the most dramatic change in the fortunes of an American war since the summer of 1864.”
There is a lesson in this.Â And not just for political leaders.Â It applies to our own lives as well.Â It suggests that when we’ve made a mistake or suffered a setback, we too can turn things around just as President Bush and General Petraeus did in Iraq.
We’re Americans.Â We believe in second chances.Â One mistake does not necessarily doom us to failure.Â To paraphrase George Eliot’s maxim “It’s never too late to be what you might have been,” it’s as if we believe it’s never too late to succeed where once you have failed.