- The Washington Times - Monday, January 31, 2005

President George W. Bush entering his second term reminds me of the story of the politician who learns one of his most loyal constituents has switched sides and plans to vote for his opponent. The disconcerted politician remonstrates with his constituent. He cites all the favors he had bestowed on him and his family over the years. “Yes,” says the constituent, “but what have you done for me lately?”

Applying the “what have you done for me lately” yardstick, this Bush-admiring constituent can cite plenty of presidential actions by one of the most active presidents in our history, especially in ensuring national security. To paraphrase Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet, “Let me count the ways.”

First, we can admire Mr. Bush because he put the Taliban out of business. In October 2001 he initiated military action against the Taliban because of its refusal to hand over Osama bin Laden and in retaliation for the Taliban’s aid to him.

Second, thanks to American military support, Afghanistan has successfully held the first democratic election in its history.

Third, President Bush toppled the genocidist Saddam Hussein. He now sits in a jail in Iraq awaiting trial.

Fourth, with U.S. and coalition soldiers, he is helping establish in Iraq an Arab Middle East democracy, a phenomenon unseen since Lebanon’s fall to Islamic fundamentalism.

• Fifth, al Qaeda prisoners, any one of whom could be a potential suicide bomber in Iraq, are held at Guantanamo Bay as “enemy combatants,” which means they cannot kill Americans or coalition soldiers.

• Sixth, he has revitalized the Central Intelligence Agency in a way no predecessor has.

• Seventh, his determination to introduce democracy in countries where it has never been able to establish a foothold, will if successful be an historic accomplishment because it would change the face of the globe.

One achievement is yet to come: capture of Osama bin Laden, 48, dead or alive, the man responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which killed at least 2,752 people and for whose capture Congress voted a reward of $50 million.

You would think, would you not, that such a record would merit from a supposedly unbiased academic some few words of praise. I have before me a New York Times op ed article by Harvard Professor Orlando Patterson who has shamelessly managed to turn Mr. Bush’s Inauguration Day address into a “stratagem,” “a bogus syllogism,” “flawed argument,” “hypocrisy,” “cynical.”

Even democratic states can breed terrorism, says the Harvard professor. Proof? All the way back to — you won’t believe this — the Ku Klux Klan. That would be like a serial killer today seeking absolution by blaming the origin of his criminality on Eve’s stolen apple.

Americans, regardless of race, creed or color, have never been freer than today and that includes even the millions of non-American illegal immigrants. In fact, I think it can be said that never in history has freedom, especially freedom of opportunity, been so widespread as today in the United States.

But not for Harvard’s Orlando Patterson. Being a sociologist and a progressive intellectual, he can indulge his Utopianism, which, as Professor J.L. Talmon has written, “postulates a definite goal or a preordained finale to history.”

In other words, he judges America and Mr. Bush by utopian standards only celestial, winged creatures could satisfy.

Fortunately, the American people know better than Harvard sociologists, as they demonstrated last November.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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