July 21, 2010
In Defense of W
Angelo Codevilla has started an important conversation about the American "ruling class" against the "country class," who are also called "the normal people." As part of that critique, Codevilla groups George W. Bush with Obama as Big Spenders. There is a grain of truth in that, but nowhere near enough to convince me that their names should even be spoken in the same breath. True, there isn't much difference between the trick skating couple of McCain-Graham and Harry Reid. That is pretty sad. But let's not confuse them with people of integrity.
Michael Barone has described the present Occupant and his fellow Demagogues as practicing "thug politics." Barone is not prone to overstatement. He is a distinguished political scientist and was for many years the editor of the Almanac of American Politics, a major reference work. He knows his U.S. politics in depth. But Barone is also an honest man who is tremendously upset by what we have all seen. This is a different administration. Obama is a throwback to some of the most corrupt politicians of the 19th century. "Progressives" like him are always regressive.
"Thug politics" describes Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, "Rod" Blagojevich, and The-You-Know-Who-Won, but it does not -- emphatically does not -- describe any Bush family member I know about. It is unfair and simply false to smear them with the same brush. It is also a way of giving in to the hysterical exaggeration that characterizes the Left. That is not a sensible debate for conservatives to have.
By far the biggest power-freaks are on the Left. Obama's friends sincerely admire Karl Marx in spite of his hundred million victims. (So far.) That's a different league. Can you imagine George W. Bush taking Laura on a weekend date to New York City in Air Force One? Can you imagine Bush promising to stop the seas from rising and flying to Berlin before the inauguration to address thousands of nude, gay sunbathers as "Citizens of the World!" right in front of the Prussian Victory Monument? I can't. Not for a nanosecond.
Yes, GOP politicians are constantly enticed into the Left's orbit. That is the conversation we should be having. But George W. Bush, not to mention his dad and mom, nor his brother Jeb, are in the rare category of good and decent people in politics. We do not have to agree with them, but it is wrong to toss them into the spaghetti bowl of the Left. The Bushes have taken decades of nasty attacks from the sleazocrats and still managed to keep their dignity and sense of humor. We can only hope for more like them.
Bush 43 suffered a daily public lynching for most of his presidency. Every day he was ferociously maligned. That is how the current gang came to power, by caterwauling against the President of the United States for eight long years, 24/7/365.
So let's not confuse good and decent people with their opposites. The Bushes are not Ahnie the Terrible, the worst excuse for a Republican in history.
By now the Left has covered up the plain fact that Saddam Hussein was an evil, evil man, a malign sociopath, like his two sons. Saddam did have a warehouse full of uranium yellowcake, as we now know, after it was safely carried away to Canada for reprocessing. Bush 43 never justified his actions by talking about Saddam's warehouse for fear of endangering security. He was falsely accused, his personal dignity and honor were abused -- remember the shoe-thrower the media applauded? He took it day after day and kept his dignity. I think it was his quiet way of repaying the sacrifices of our troops.
Unlike the Demagogue Party, Bush and Cheney and their wives attended soldiers' funerals and hospital beds in private -- without turning it into a photo op, like Obama did a year ago. Bush and Cheney understood the high cost of war, but they are adults. They made strategic choices in ways the Left will never, ever understand. Today, Saddam is gone. Al-Qaeda was drawn into the killing fields of Iraq and smashed. Only Iran is left. Don't think the world has forgotten the lesson of U.S. power. Don't ever forget that the Democrats have consistently taken sides against this country every single time since the Vietnam War. That is not an accident. That is their nature.
What does all that have to do with Bush and spending? It's simple. After 9/11, the Democrats got their way domestically, and in return Bush received their votes on financing a war that he believed had to be won. Bush didn't veto a single spending bill. It was a deal. Bush set his priorities and stuck to them like a ferocious terrier.
Obama has a lot of catchin' up to do to get to that level of honor.