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The more I see of George W. Bush, and the more I hear from his detractors, the more he reminds me of Harry S. Truman.
Like Truman, Bush came to the White House greatly underestimated, even by those who voted for him. I was one of them. People made fun of his speechmaking ability, his leadership potential, even his intelligence. Leaders in his own party compared him unfavorably to his Democratic predecessor.
Truman got to be president mainly because the smarter Democrats didn’t want Henry Wallace to be the ailing FDR’s vice-president a second time. Of course, Truman’s enemies couldn’t make that same claim in 1948, when he pulled off the biggest upset in presidential history, knocking off Thomas Dewey.
For his part, we were told, Bush got the job because the electorate in Florida didn’t know how to cast their ballots, and because the U.S. Supreme Court was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy. (Funny how the Democrats never point out that Al Gore is one of the few presidential candidates who have failed to carry his home state. If Tennessee had voted for its least favorite son, it wouldn’t have mattered what happened in Florida!)
The Democrats, still licking their wounds from 2000, never got around to explaining how this political nonentity managed to lead his party to victory in the 2002 elections without any help from Justice Rehnquist and his judicial cohorts.
What Bush and Truman have in common, besides their less than dazzling oratorical skills, are honesty, principles and a respect for the Office. Truman had a sign on his desk stating that “The Buck Stops Here.” Bush might as well have one of his own.
Bush speaks of an Axis of Evil – and he names names. For his part, Truman waged the Cold War because he recognized that evil exists in the world, and you either combat it or you become its accessory. And for men of honor, the latter course is never an option.
In Truman’s day, the appeasers claimed the Soviet Union was not a danger to America or the world. They claimed Joseph Stalin was, at worst, a tinhorn dictator ruling a backward nation; at best, a heroic leader who had helped defeat the Nazis. When he gobbled up all of Eastern Europe, enslaving hundreds of millions of people, they defended him. Stalin needed a buffer – after all, mother Russia had been invaded by Napoleon and Hitler. They pointed out that Germany had slaughtered millions of Russians, while ignoring the brutal fact that for a quarter of a century, Stalin had done the exact same thing with never a peep heard from the American left.
Now the children and grandchildren of these people cast Bush, not Saddam Hussein, in the role of villain. It doesn’t matter to them that Iraq invaded Iran and Kuwait and launched missiles at Israel – just as it doesn’t faze them that Hussein gassed Kurds by the thousands, and reneged on the terms of his peace treaty. Ask them whether or not it would have been a good thing if the Western democracies had done something about Adolf Hitler before he invaded Poland and Czechoslovakia, and watch them change the subject to sports or the weather.
These four-flushers will praise the likes of France, Russia and the United Nations, as representing the conscience of mankind, while accusing Bush of being beholden to the oil interests – all the while ignoring the fact that it was France and Russia that had billion-dollar oil deals with Hussein, and Kofi Annan who had cut himself in for a piece of the action. Obviously, if Bush were out to gain control of Arab oil, he would have gone to war against such pushovers as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
If we had merely wanted Iraqi oil, we’d have bought it, the same way we get the stuff from Mexico, Venezuela and the rest of the Middle East. Hussein would have been only too happy to sell it to us. No, if it were really about oil, the way the pinheads insist, would George Bush so openly side with Israel, the one country in that part of the world whose oil supply comes strictly from olives?
Because Bush’s detractors lack principles themselves, they can never acknowledge the virtue in others. Because they despise America, they regard patriotism as villainy. Because they indulge in double-talk, they abhor plain-speaking. They claim that North Korea became suddenly hostile and dangerous because Bush dared to call them evil, disregarding the fact that he called them evil because they had broken their nuclear treaty within a few months of brokering the agreement with the Clinton administration.
The hypocrisy of the left is boundless. They demanded that Bush get congressional backing before invading Iraq. He did. They then demanded he take the matter up with the Security Council. He did. Then they demanded that he do it all over again. In the meantime, they insisted that he not rush to war. If that was their idea of rushing, one has to wonder what they regard as slow and steady.
No matter how patient Bush might have been, no matter how much he kowtowed to the United Nations, it would never have been enough for these people. You notice, though, that they never said a discouraging word when Clinton dropped bombs in Serbia, Somalia and the Sudan. There was no outcry that he was being imperialistic, that he wasn’t being analytical, that he was trying to conquer the world. Martin Sheen and Susan Sarandon didn’t demand that he go hat-in-hand to the United Nations. I don’t recall liberals claiming he went into Kosovo without a plan for winning the peace, just as I don’t recall any of these aging hippies offering themselves up as human shields in Somalia.
George W. Bush’s being a devout Christian embarrasses these folks, but Bill Clinton, the man who turned the Oval Office into the back seat of a Chevrolet – him they’d enshrine on Mount Rushmore.
To show you how foolish and out of sync with the American people those on the left truly are, you have merely to consider that they call Bush a Texas cowboy, just as they used to call Truman a Missouri haberdasher – and that’s their idea of an insult!