Thursday, July 26, 2007
"We have a lot of work to do. The president already has the mark of the American people - he's the worst president we ever had. I don't think we need a censure resolution in the Senate to prove that." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Perhaps not but you at least need an argument, and the senator, of course, offers us none. Reid, who has led a congress whose approval ratings have sunk to less than half of those of President Bush, is like the skunk criticizing the horse because he smells. The fact of the matter is that George Bush is far from the worst president in history (worse than Kennedy? Johnson? Nixon? Carter?) and may even turn out to be one of the best. Harry Reid, however, will be forgotten the day he leaves office.
Bill Kristol makes the case that we've been making, only not so well as he, for the fact that history will view George Bush's presidency much differently than current approval ratings would indicate. There are still two years to go, but Bush is on track to be regarded as a successful, perhaps even outstanding, president.
Those who get their opinions from the MSM, the opposition journals or Senator Reid will recoil from such a claim in shock, but I think it's true.
Here's part of what I wrote in October of 2005. I think it still holds today:
The economy is growing steadily. Note that the Democrats rarely refer to the economy anymore by way of criticizing the president. Yet our economic health is the most crucial issue, as the Dems insisted in 1992, in determining which party will prevail in an election. If the Democrats could use our economic condition against Bush they would be doing it, but they can't so they aren't. If the economy continues to grow - and with gas prices falling to less extortionist levels there's reason for optimism in this regard - the public will forget the troubles of the last two or three months like one forgets a dream upon waking.
Iraq seems to be progressing steadily toward a historically unprecedented Arab democracy. Despite the steady drizzle of left-wing criticism and negativity, Bush's strategy in Iraq might well ultimately succeed. It's still unclear if it will, of course, but if it does, history will hail his effort, and that of our military, as an astonishing political, strategic, and human rights achievement, perhaps the greatest that any president or world leader ever accomplished. Success in Iraq will reverberate and ramify throughout the entire region and around the globe for generations. It's very difficult to overstate the significance and importance of such a consummation.
With the withdrawal of Harriet Miers the president has been given an unusual second chance to appoint someone of the very finest timber to the Supreme Court. Miers may have been a good appointment, but there was cause for serious skepticism. Mr. Bush can now name someone about whom there is no doubt. Another conservative justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia, as we were promised in the campaign, and the legal course of this country could be altered for the good for the next thirty to fifty years. Such a nomination would also unify the president's base and make him much more politically formidable.
Assuming there are no further indictments, the Scooter Libby affair will scarcely register on the historical record. On the other hand, it could serve, as did Katrina, as a prod to rouse the administration from complacency. There are signs that this is already happening. We're beginning to hear noises about getting the budget and our borders under control. Success breeds success. If the administration recovers its legislative momentum it may even try again to reform social security. If by 2008 just some of these things are happening, or at least appear to be under way, George Bush, to the everlasting chagrin of the portside media, will be regarded as surpassing even Ronald Reagan and FDR.
This is not to say that the President hasn't tried to undo the legacy he's building. His immigration reform proposal was awful, but it lost and will consequently be forgotten, just like the Harriet Miers fiasco has been forgotten now that Samuel Alito is on the Supreme Court, if real reform is eventually enacted.
Add to all this the failure, so far, of terrorists to strike again within our borders and the fact that European elections have thrust into office in both France and Germany leaders much more compatible with Bush than their predecessors and all, or many, of the ingredients necessary to be regarded as a successful president are in the pot.
If it should happen that Bush's presidency comes to be highly regarded Harry Reid will probably have to be carried out of the Senate in a straight jacket, twitching and muttering, like Inspector Dreyfus in the old Pink Panther movies.RLC
The New York Times asks just who is the "Baghdad Diarist"? Is he legit or is The New Republic, and its readers, being scammed again? Here's the NYT story:
It is a question that many people are asking The New Republic, the Washington political magazine that has been running articles attributed to an American soldier in Baghdad.
The author, who used the pen name Scott Thomas, has written three articles for the magazine since February, describing gruesome incidents in Iraq. Last week, The Weekly Standard questioned the veracity of The New Republic articles and invited readers with knowledge about the military or Baghdad to comment.
Since then, several readers and a spokesman for the base where the soldier is supposedly based have written in, raising more questions.
"Absolutely every piece of information that's come out since we put that call up has cast further doubt on that story," said Michael Goldfarb, the online editor of The Weekly Standard. "There's not a single person that has come forward and said, 'It sounds plausible.'"
Franklin Foer, the editor of The New Republic, will not reveal the author's identity but says the magazine is investigating the accuracy of his articles. In the late 1990s, under different editors, the magazine fired an associate editor, Stephen Glass, for fabrications.
The diaries have described some shocking incidents of military life, including soldiers openly mocking a disfigured woman on their base and a private wearing a found piece of a child's skull under his helmet.
The magazine granted anonymity to the writer to keep him from being punished by his military superiors and to allow him to write candidly, Mr. Foer said. He said that he had met the writer and that he knows that he is, in fact, a soldier.
It will be interesting to see if the liberal press has once again fallen victim to their own preconceptions, prejudices and wishful thinking. When you just know that our soldiers are cruel and callous killers then reports which confirm what you already know just have to be true. We'll see.RLC