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With the Afghan war going exceedingly well and his approval rating hovering around 80 percent, President Bush has to be one happy Thanksgiving guy. Thus far, he has risen to the occasion – directing what could turn out to be the most successful military operation of the 21st century. America’s cause is just, and the bad guys keep falling without many U.S. casualties.

But hiding in the weeds, biding its time, is an enemy with its sights trained on Mr. Bush. This is the same foe that ambushed Bush’s father in the early ’90s and President Clinton throughout his tenure in office. This covert enemy lives to bring down the powerful and successful, and the attackers don’t need bombs, anthrax or bullets. They use ink and innuendo.

It is a sad fact of life in America that the more successful one becomes, the more media snipers appear to blow your figurative brains out. I’ve already noticed the first ammunition being loaded against President Bush. The media assault will question his compassion as more Americans lose their jobs in the recession. The strategy will be to portray Mr. Bush’s economic stimulus package as ignoring poor and working Americans, by backing corporate tax breaks. Never mind that in order for the economy to rebound, corporations must be persuaded to begin spending again. That will not be mentioned. As soon as the war on terror subsides, Bush’s alleged heartlessness will be played up big. You can take this to the bank.

Choking the powerful has become a blood sport in America, take it from me. By some mysterious quirk of fate, your humble correspondent has become a media success much to the dismay of many. The more high profile I become – the more vicious and personal the attacks on me get. Recently, Matt Drudge actually accused me of wanting to do a radio program to exploit Rush Limbaugh’s deafness – an erroneous charge so vitriolic it took my breath away.

For the first time, I now truly understand what people like the Bushes and the Clintons have to deal with. Once in power, you can insulate yourself to a degree, but the hateful arrows will still fly and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them.

Of course, the Clintons brought many of the attacks on themselves by behaving badly. But the assaults would have arrived anyway. Once some in the media get a taste of blood, sharks tremble.

So I hope George W. Bush is preparing himself. A grateful America honored his father after the Gulf War, but the party ended long before midnight. A once-invincible president was battered and pilloried as a man who didn’t know the price of milk – a man who didn’t care about the regular folks.

That perception accomplished, many in the media took glee in watching the fast talker from Arkansas verbally dance his way into the White House, while the low-key blueblood from Connecticut could never shake the “out of touch” tag.

George W. Bush witnessed that media sniper parade first-hand and saw it bring down his father’s administration. Mr. Bush must know the same enemy is waiting in the weeds again. Patiently, his foes are polishing generalizations of insensitivity and domestic incompetence. Ready for when the time is right to fire those flaming arrows directly into the Bush courtyard.

As the philosopher Rod Serling once said, “There’s a sign post up ahead.” That sign post may well spell big trouble for President Bush.


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