- The Washington Times - Friday, April 1, 2005

Liberal ‘churlishness’

“If George W. Bush were to discover a cure for cancer,” Martin Peretz writes in the upcoming issue of the New Republic, “his critics would denounce him for having done it unilaterally, without adequate consultation, with a crude disregard for the sensibilities of others. … Anyway, a cure for cancer is all fine and nice, but what about AIDS?

“No, the president has not discovered a cure for cancer. But there is a pathology, a historical pathology, that he has attacked with unprecedented vigor and with unprecedented success. I refer, of course, to the political culture of the Middle East, which the president may actually have changed. And he has accomplished this genuinely momentous transformation in ways that virtually the entire foreign-affairs clerisy … never thought possible. Or, perhaps, in ways some of them thought positively undesirable,” Mr. Peretz said.

“Bush, it now seems safe to say, is one of the great surprises in modern U.S. history. … Right up to the moment Bush became president, I was convinced that his mind … belonged to his father and to James Baker III, whose worldview seemed to be defined by the pecuniary prejudice of oil and Texas: Keep the ruling Arabs happy.

“But I was wrong, and, in light of what has already been achieved in the Middle East, I am glad to say so. Most American liberals, alas, enjoy no similar gladness. They are not exactly pleased by the positive results of Bush’s campaign in the Middle East. They deny and resent and begrudge and snipe. They are trapped in the politics of churlishness. …

“One does not have to admire a lot about George W. Bush to admire what he has so far wrought. One need only be a thoughtful American with an interest in proliferating liberalism around the world. And, if liberals are unwilling to proliferate liberalism, then conservatives will. Rarely has there been a sweeter irony.”

Boosting Bolton

“John Bolton’s nomination as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations got a boost this week when 59 ex-diplomats sent a letter to the Senate opposing his appointment,” the Wall Street Journal says in an editorial.

“Along with North Korea’s reference to Mr. Bolton as ‘human scum’ and John Kerry’s passionate disapproval, what more could the Senate want by way of recommendation?” the newspaper asked.

“We’ve scanned the list of this striped-pants set, and it looks to be precisely the crowd that has long placed diplomatic niceties above action and holds that the only legitimate foreign-policy decisions are those taken under the ‘multilateral’ auspices of the U.N. This is also the mind-set that produced the unstable pre-September 11 status quo of U.S. support for dictators in the Middle East.

“Their letter takes special exception with Mr. Bolton’s current brief at the State Department, complaining that he hasn’t done enough for arms control. If by this they mean that Mr. Bolton wasn’t paying enough attention to arms-control treaties because he was too busy designing the Proliferation Security Initiative — a multilateral initiative that helped nail nuclear proliferator A.Q. Khan — the Senate should take this as further proof of his credentials.

“Mr. Bolton’s ‘diplomacy’ may not be the type practiced by these former ambassadors and officials, but it does have one thing going for it: It works.”

Hillary’s coming

“Republicans — I have been among many — are now in the stage of the Hillary Conversation in which they are beginning to grouse about those who keep warning that Mrs. Clinton will be a formidable candidate for president in 2008,” Peggy Noonan writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“She won’t be so tough, they say. America will never elect a woman like her, with such a sketchy history — financial scandals, political pardons, the whole mess that took place between 1980 and 2000.

“I tell them they are wrong. First, it is good to be concerned about Mrs. Clinton, for she is coming down the pike. It is pointless to be afraid, but good to be concerned. Why? Because we live in a more or less 50-50 nation; because Mrs. Clinton is smarter than her husband and has become a better campaigner on the ground; because her warmth and humor seem less oily; because she has struck out a new rhetorically (though not legislatively) moderate course; because you don’t play every card right the way she’s been playing every card right the past five years unless you have real talent; because unlike her husband, she has found it possible to grow more emotionally mature; because the presidency is the bright sharp focus of everything she does each day; because she is not going to get seriously dinged in the 2008 primaries, but will likely face challengers who make her look even more moderate and stable; and because in 2008, we will have millions of 18- to 24-year-old voters who have no memory of her as the harridan of the East Wing and the nutty professor of HillaryCare.”

Falwell recovering

The Rev. Jerry Falwell, hospitalized in serious condition, is on the mend from his latest health crisis, able to sit in an armchair, take a call from the White House and visit with his grandchildren, officials said yesterday.

“I’m making progress,” he told the News & Advance of Lynchburg, Va. “I’ll be in here for a few days.”

Mr. Falwell, 71, said he might return to the pulpit this weekend. “I’ll have to do some fast talking” to the doctors, he said.

His son, Jerry Falwell Jr., however, said a return to the Thomas Road Baptist Church pulpit this week appeared unlikely. “I just don’t think it’s going to happen,” he told the newspaper.

Mr. Falwell stopped breathing late Monday and had to be resuscitated when he arrived at the hospital in Lynchburg.

Hillary’s silence

“As the nation bitterly debates the Terri Schiavo case, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has tried to stay above the fray, refusing to take sides and staying as quiet as possible,” the New York Post’s Deborah Orin wrote in a column published yesterday before Mrs. Schiavo’s death.

“Some strategists say that’s smart as she revs up for a 2008 presidential race and helps her move to the center just like her very public push to reach out to right-to-lifers on abortion. Others say it’s a big blunder,” Miss Orin said.

The columnist added: “Insiders say the strategy on the Schiavo case among Senate Democrats crafted by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) was to deliberately finesse the issue by having a voice vote on the issue so no individual senator would have to take a stand.

“Clinton refuses to say if she’d have voted yes or no on the measure inviting federal courts to enter the case, and instead issued a noncommittal statement saying the courts should ‘do what they do best’ and decide Schiavo’s fate.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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