Did Bill Maher Just Trump Bush on Islam?
As you probably have heard, a few days ago Bill Maher shocked his liberal guest -- and much of the world -- by stating very correctly and succinctly that it is "liberal bullsh_t" to equate Christianity and Islam with respect to terror.
The bluntness, not to mention the shocking accuracy of the statement from this particular source, had the social media universe all lit up over the weekend. It was surely my first "fist pump" ever in response to Maher.
Moreover, it is very instructive when juxtaposed with a not so shocking statement made in an interview over the same weekend by former President George W. Bush in the run-up to the opening of his "Presidential Center." He insisted, perhaps trying to retroactively justify his tepid use of the bully pulpit during his years in office, that he saw "no need to defend (myself)" against criticism and that "I did what I did -- and ultimately history will judge."
Perhaps it has escaped the former President that history is already judging, and not so kindly. In a manner of speaking, the last four Presidential candidates have run against him, including the last two from his own party. So scared of having anything to do with Bush was the Romney Campaign that they shied away from trying to shed any truth on the subject of bin Laden's death for example, ceding a major issue to an opponent who clearly detested every single operation that led to this success in the first place.
Think about that, Mr. Bush. History has judged the death of Osama bin Laden, and in spite of the fact that you put into place everything that led up to that event for eight plus years, you are so disliked and disrespected that a man who has made bashing you a cottage industry gets the credit. Moreover, your own party helped him get it!
Do you think maybe, just maybe, there is a "need to defend" oneself with respect to history's judgment? I would go so far as to say that in actuality, you owe it to your supporters to defend yourself, because they inherently share the blame and shame when your historical standing sinks. So do, by the way, your party's future electoral prospects. History connects, like it or not. Yet history is not written not by truth necessarily, but by humans, who invariably have their own agendas.
Okay, you ask, so what does this have to do with Maher calling BS on a liberal equating Islam to Christianity?
A lot. It shows that even an ultra-liberal like Maher is more willing to speak the obvious truth about terror than the man who started "the war on terror" in the first place. "Islam is peace" droned Bush gratuitously, just days after 9-11. "When we think of Islam we think of a faith that brings comfort to a billion people around the world. Billions of people find comfort and solace and peace" he added, apparently having no clue what most of us really think of Islam, but more importantly what Islam thinks of us.
You could say, to use a bumper sticker metaphor, Maher just stuck "Don't Mess with Texas" on his car, while Bush went with that absurd COEXIST decal.
Which simply illustrates the single biggest failing of the Bush Administration, which was the failure to understand, let alone articulate, the hard cold realities that he faced -- and that we all faced. Bush had mortal political enemies, inside the Democratic Party, Sadaam's cabinet in Iraq, and in Mosques everywhere. Yet he seems to have thought in terms of "his friends across the aisle" and of the "religion of peace" and rarely faced facts about either. At least not that we can tell from his public statements.
There's a reason the bully pulpit is considered a big advantage. Bush never put a bully in that pulpit, filling it with the likes of Scott McClellan and Ari Fleisher, when he himself wasn't showering praise and understanding on people who hated his guts.
This is frankly the same failure that the entire Republican establishment has been guilty of since at least 1992, the year his father was able to officially break the GOP free of the Reagan Revolution. Reagan was the "happy warrior" to be sure, but he was actually more warrior than he was happy. Sure, he used a lot of humor to skewer his opponents on a regular basis, but he used simple direct righteous anger just as often. He never called the Soviet Union "the empire of peace" in order to sound tolerant -- he preferred "the bombing starts in five minutes." And while he was a prolific writer, he never left it to words on a page to get anything done. He went right to the American people.
Contrast this with Bush, who last week described his Presidential Center as "a place to lay out the facts" behind his major policy decisions. Perhaps he should have thought about doing that, oh I don't know, like while he was in office? Reagan did. I suspect he would have laughed approvingly at Bill Maher's take on Islam versus Christianity too.
There's a lot of liberal manure going around these days, from ObamaCare to pretending not to know what animated the brother bombers to 145% turn outs in heavy Obama precincts to government economic statistics. For some reason, few Republicans have the guts to say any of this out loud. And this is a problem, because Reagan is gone, Maher won't be right again for another decade, and W still doesn't get it.
C. Edmund Wright is author of WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost...Again, www.firekarlrove.com, and can be followed on twitter pithiest feed @CEdmundWright, , and CEdmundWright.com