I have a dark secret to tell before the election so that it’s on the record. It’s something that is difficult to say to certain friends, peers, family and, lately, many fellow conservatives.
I still like George W. Bush. A lot.
For starters, I am convinced he is a fundamentally decent man, even though I have read otherwise at the Huffington Post.
President Bush is far smarter, more articulate and less ideological than his plentiful detractors scream, and, ultimately, he will be judged by history - not by vengeful Democrats, hate-filled Hollywood, corrupt foreign governments, an imploding mainstream media or fleeting approval ratings.
George W. Bush is history’s president, a man for whom the long-term success or failure of democracy in Iraq will determine his place in history. He may end up a victim of his own tough choices, but the cheerleading for his demise when Iraq’s outcome is yet determined has hurt America and possibly set up the next president for the same appalling partisan response.
The fact that the United States has not been attacked since Sept. 11, 2001, far exceeds the most wishful expert predictions of the time. Perhaps facing another al Qaeda-led barrage would have reinforced our need for national unity, caused us to recognize the gravity of the Islamist threat and fortified Mr. Bush’s standing at home and abroad.
Yet, thankfully, that never happened. And Mr. Bush has been punished for this obvious success.
By most accounts, al Qaeda is reeling from the damage inflicted by our efforts against the once-thriving terror network. Yet reflexive enemies of the president - including Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee - shamefully mock him for not having caught Osama bin Laden.
It’s a playground taunt from the same people who never seriously advocated for a strong military foray into the regions where bin Laden could have been caught. These Daily Kos armchair generals also rhetorically ask why we don’t invade North Korea or Saudi Arabia. Yet no one takes this hypothetical warmongering seriously, or expects a President Obama to go on the offense in any of these conveniently preferable hot spots. It’s meant to hurt, not help, the president.
While President Bush has been marshaling a multinational force to take on modernity’s enemies in foreign lands, the American left has decided to go to war against not only Republicans but also moderate Democrats.
Bush hatred was a fait accompli.
Back in November 2000, when Al Gore contested Florida and the demonizing of George Bush began full-bore (“President Select,” “Bush Chimp,” “the illegitimate president”), I told Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund, “You watch, the Democratic Party will never grant Bush his humanity, and they will never let up.”
And they never did.
The Democratic Party chose to send a clear message that the impeachment of President Clinton incurred by the newly minted Republican-led Congress and the upstart new media - talk radio and the Internet - would be countered by unprecedented partisan fury.