- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Supporting Bush

Discussing the al Qaeda terrorism threat yesterday with a BBC news anchor in London, a senior reporter backpedaled from his assertion that the terrorists could seek to replicate the Madrid train bombing in the United States in advance of the November presidential election, opining that terrorists actually might want President Bush re-elected because he’s the best “recruiting” agent they have.

Opposing Bush

“Chance that a Western European has a positive opinion of George W. Bush: 1 in 10.”

Harper’s Index, June 2004

Supreme power

Democrats who ridicule George W. Bush for talking too much about the importance of his faith in his role as president should recall their presidential history, says one congressman.

“In his affirmation of this conviction, the president is only the latest in a long line of his predecessors” — Republicans and Democrats alike, says Rep. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican.

He cites Franklin D. Roosevelt as saying that “no greater thing could come to our land today than a revival of the spirit of religion — a revival that would sweep through the homes of the nation and stir the hearts of men and women of all faiths to a reassertion of their belief in God and their dedication to His will for themselves and for their world.”

A short time later, Harry S Truman warned: “If we ignore the spiritual foundations of our birth as a nation, we do so at our peril. It took a faith in God to win our freedoms.”

John F. Kennedy was convinced: “The same revolutionary beliefs for which our forbears fought are still at issue around the globe, … the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.”

“Democracies rest on faith,” said Lyndon B. Johnson, while Gerald R. Ford believed: “Without God, there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism.”

Finally, defending his pursuit of beatitude, Bill Clinton quoted our Founding Fathers: “All men … are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Eye of the beholder

“Were they listening to the same speech?” Editor & Publisher wonders after scanning the editorial pages of the nation’s largest newspapers after President Bush’s address Monday night on the future of Iraq at the U.S. Army War College.

Editors at USA Today called it “the most detailed and convincing description of the president’s Iraq policy to date, as he ticked off steady, incremental gains that are overshadowed by daily news reports of soldiers dying and prisoners abused.”

The New York Post opined, “Bush’s plan is not just a way forward for Iraq — but for the U.S.-led global war on terror.”

The Chicago Sun-Times wrote that the speech “reminded Americans that considerable progress has been made, despite tremendous difficulties, and if success is not quite near, then at least it is in sight in the coming year …

“It is a shame that the three networks failed to carry his speech, because in a little more than half an hour, he clearly summarized both the enormous task we face and the progress we have made in shepherding that nation from dictatorship to democracy.”

Across town, the Chicago Tribune agreed: “President Bush made it forcefully clear that neither he, his nation nor its most loyal allies will cut and run.”

But, as E&P;’s Charles Geraci observes: “Despite the praise from some papers, many others viewed the speech as an utter failure.”

Take the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis: “Did Bush succeed? Not by a long shot. It’s arrogant of a president to believe speeches can dispel the skepticism borne of three years of lies and incompetence on the ground …”

“Indeed, the Bush team has screwed up from the get-go in Iraq, and no amount of feel-good spin will change that.”

Cicada immigrant

We got a chuckle out of White House reporters — and even President Bush — being “harassed” by cicadas while waiting to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base this week.

Despite his tight ring of security, the neatly dressed president couldn’t escape all of the pesky bugs.

“As he ascended the steps of the plane, a lone cicada took a run at [Mr. Bush’s] head, just missing to the rear at 11:52 a.m.,” wrote pool reporter Jim Lakely of The Washington Times. The scribe continued in his report:

“Your pool scampered back into the plane, dodging the scores of cicadas clumsily twirling around us in the wind.”

John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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