I have always wondered about the visceral hatred shown toward Bush by the Left. Was it due to his very narrow victory in 2000? Possibly. Was it due to his religion? Perhaps, although one wonders what these militant atheists are so afraid of?
Certainly, it WASN'T because he thwarted their schemes to increase the nanny-state; heck, he joined in with Ted (Glug-Glug-Drunk-Drunk) Kennedy to expand the Federal Department of Education, which once upon a time we were *supposed* to abolish and send back to the state governments where it belonged. Bush also signed onto bogus and fraudulent "Comprehensive Immigration Reform."
So what was the reason behind all the Bush hatred exactly? William McGurn has an idea: it was because Bush didn't lose in Iraq like he was supposed to:
Simply put, there are those who will never forgive Mr. Bush for not losing a war they had all declared unwinnable.
Here in the afterglow of the turnaround led by Gen. David Petraeus, it's easy to forget what the smart set was saying two years ago -- and how categorical they all were in their certainty. The president was a simpleton, it was agreed. Didn't he know that Iraq was a civil war, and the only answer was to get out as fast as we could?
For many of these critics, the template for understanding Iraq was Vietnam -- especially after things started to get tough. In terms of the wars themselves, of course, there is almost no parallel between Vietnam and Iraq: The enemies are different, the fighting on the ground is different, the involvement of other powers is different, and so on.
Still, the operating metaphor of Vietnam has never been military. For the most part, it is political. And in this realm, we saw history repeat itself: a failure of nerve among the same class that endorsed the original action.
As with Vietnam, with Iraq the failure of nerve was most clear in Congress. For example, of the five active Democratic senators who sought the nomination, four voted in favor of the Iraqi intervention before discovering their antiwar selves.
As in Vietnam too, rather than finding their judgment questioned, those who flip-flopped on the war were held up as voices of reason. In a memorable editorial advocating a pullout, the New York Times gave voice to the chilling possibilities that this new realism was willing to accept in the name of bringing our soldiers home.
"Americans must be clear that Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave," read the editorial. "There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide." Even genocide. With no hint of irony, the Times nevertheless went on to conclude that it would be even worse if we stayed.
Worse still, Bush turned the Vietnam analogy around on the leftists, and then they *really* started squealing....
This is Vietnam thinking. And the president never accepted it. That was why his critics went ape when, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he touched on the killing fields and exodus of boat people that followed America's humiliating exit off an embassy rooftop. As the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti noted, Mr. Bush had appropriated one of their most cherished analogies -- only he drew very different lessons from it.And I suspect Obama's action is what *really* gets them steamed.
Mr. Bush's success in Iraq is equally infuriating, because it showed he was right and they wrong. Many in Washington have not yet admitted that, even to themselves. Mr. Obama has. We know he has because he has elected to keep Mr. Bush's secretary of defense -- not something you do with a failure.
Meanwhile. Bush speechwriter Marc A. Thiessen claims that in the end, Bush will be vindicated and thought better of by history, like Harry Truman was.
My own scorecard on President Bush the Younger:
Big minuses, in this order:
1. "Hispandering" and a mixture of romantic naivete and tone deaf greedheadedness on the immigration issue. Indeed, if Bush The Younger was really serious about being a "Compassionate Conservative" who would reach out to constituencies that Republicans normally are accused of not caring about (read: BLACKS / AFRICAN AMERICANS--that's why he appointed quite a few of them), he wouldn't be hell-bent on importing another underclass that crowds them out for entry level jobs, public assistance, etc. And then that new underclass turns around and votes down the Republicans anyway!
The once solidly Republican Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, NV) has largely been lost because of this foolish Hispandering. California may have been lost as an ironic outcome of the Cold War (defense industries decline, arts and entertainment industries increase, leading to weenie liberal gains), but Hispandering made matters worse in this state as well.
2. Caving in on the auto and bank bailouts. Bush's lack of spine in this sets the tone for the rest of this auto bailout saga and any other bailouts, particularly where TARP money is involved. Bush is handing Obama a precedent - using the largely unsupervised TARP funds for any random pet project, special interest pandering scheme, etc. that he chooses - that the GOP will be hard-pressed to fight now that Bush has used it.
Not only could have Republicans argued that it was bad economics, but they could have screamed bloody murder that that was not what that money was there for and it was being used as a dirty slush fund to bail out Obama's Democrat union campaign contributors. Now that Bush has already done it, the GOP will have a harder time opposing Obama's inevitable misuse of TARP money when he gets going in office.
3. "No Child Left Behind". He didn't create the bogus Department of Education (which we all know SHOULD be a state and local matter), but he did give the Frankenstein's monster new life.
4. Signing off on "McLame-Feinbrass". "SarbOx" is a nuisance, but it's not damaging to liberty in the way that "McLame-Feinbrass" is.
5. Inability to articulate and communicate just about *any* vision at all, making even his good ideas (like Social Security reform) crippled from the outset, although I still give him kudos for even *daring* to touch what has been "the third rail" of politics.
Valiant Tried But Fails:
1. Social Security reform. Yes, it failed, but to even TOUCH the 3rd rail of USA politics was gutsy, no doubt about that.
2. Reform of Fannie and Freddie, shouted down by Barney Frank and the Professional Minority Malcontents, back in 2003 and 2005. McLame, believe it or not, also sounded the alarm early on this too.
1. Roberts -- a REAL judge, in the mold of Scalia
2. Alito -- ditto
3. Iraq, which, when it is all said and done, he WILL be vindicated. Reverse Domino Theory.
4. Afghanistan, ditto. Then again, the Demunist Party Line is that this is the "Good" War, which Iraq supposedly diverted from. Which is bullshit, because Iraq is frankly a far easier task than Afghanistan, as it is not landlocked, not linked to the utterly unstable Pakistan, and has a literate population and oil revenue.
5. A new alliance with India, which I think will be very beneficial in the decades to come.
6. This was the first Administration whose Justice Departments, under both Ashcroft and Gonzales, fought for the 2nd amendment as an *individual* right, not a phony collective commie one. You can't get more libertarian than *that*. Which is also a reason why the hysteria about the Patriot Act is overblown to me. The federal "assault weapons" ban is DEAD, and I really don't think Barry O will touch it, as he doesn't want to reinvigorate that lobby and he would rather win battles elsewhere than spend political capital there.
(And I think is another reason why the lib media really hated him---here, he really did roll back their commie agenda)
For all the hysteria about Chimpy Bushitler, I don't recall anything remotely like the Waco Massacre under Attorney Generals Ashcroft and Gonzales, do you? As wacky as David Koresh and his cult may have been, the gov'ment had and still has yet to prove its case.