- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

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.

The media will shape “the truth” that Democrats were always behind the initial Afghanistan effort or were poised to grudgingly accept the president whom they previously mocked as “illegitimate.”

But those brave liberals who stood by the president were mostly a small minority, and all of them have since been excommunicated for their apostasy.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and actor Ron Silver were presented as cautionary tales to left-of-center politicians and public figures who would lend support to a wartime Republican president.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who was described as the “conscience of the Senate” when he ran for vice president with Al Gore in 2000, was summarily dismissed from the Democratic Party for dissenting over one thing.

And the youth movement that is fueling Obama-mania is riddled with minds that do not have the perspective of what happened before Mr. Bush, and why the media and the Democratic Party have stood against Mr. Bush and his motivations from the word go.

Much of Mr. Bush’s 28 precent approval rating is born not of “failed policies” - of which there are many - but of the ill-gotten gains pilfered from a pre-Bush inauguration strategy to send the message to Republicans that the Democrats play politics harder and better.

Mr. Obama said it best: “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”

I don’t think Albert Einstein could have devised an equation to guide the leader of the free world during the wildly tumultuous post-9/11 realities without a modicum of help from the opposition party and the vast majority of the print and electronic media.

Right now, America appears to be leaning toward electing a man for whom popularity is a paramount concern. That means he must trust the American media and the American electorate to guide him to difficult decisions, not the other way around.

The American people pay closer attention to “Survivor: Gabon” than to Operation Iraqi Freedom. Yet the majority will soon have a greater say in how we proceed in the war on terror. We are headed to the “American Idol” presidency. The last thing I want is my text vote on the financial crisis to have a say on how we proceed.

If Barack Obama is elected the next president of the United States on Tuesday, I hope the Republican Party and conservatives take the higher road. The republic cannot handle another four years of undeclared civil war while we have real enemies out there to fight.

Andrew Breitbart is the founder of the news Web site breitbart.com and is co-author of “Hollywood Interrupted: Insanity Chic in Babylon - the Case Against Celebrity.”