Monday, July 16, 2007

On the Right Side of History

Victor Davis Hanson vs. The New York Times

Burkean Reflections, Conservatism with Heart, Hugh Hewitt, and Flopping Aces all posted recently on the Bush legacy, linking to Bill Kristol's op-ed in the Washington Post. Go to one of the 3 blogs, for my own comment on the matter. In addition, Matt Lewis notes the following:
4. Or it could be our modern media world (cable, blogs, talk radio), means that no president can make it through two terms without getting banged up...
I think Lewis touches upon something vitally important, in the changing world: the information flow. Before President Bush took office, we had never had the kind of access to information at our fingertips, the likes of which we now possess. It has been a mixed bag of good and bad; and I think the nature of warfare is forever changed, due to today's technology in the hands of ordinary folk.

Bless Dean Barnett for thinking Peggy Noonan's BSD piece was creepy; and David Limbaugh for countering her criticism.
Bush Derangement Syndrome is not something that "used to" exist. It is alive and well -- and apparently growing. While Peggy says that no one thinks anymore that those afflicted with the syndrome are unhinged. I do, as do many others, and I deeply lament that Peggy is giving cover to the vicious, indefensible assaults against Bush from the left since 2000.
Donald Lambro has a good piece on why history will likely vindicate President Bush.

It's been a bit hard, finding myself at odds with some of my favorite conservatives on key issues for the last 3 years- Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin, Tammy Bruce (conservative Democrat/classic liberal)....from Harriet Miers, the Dubai Ports deal, immigration, to the current situation in Iraq. It's not so much that I didn't and don't share some of their concerns. I believe that the Republican Party should be a big tent party, with disagreements showing the health of the Party, and not the sickness. Sometimes, though, in airing our dirty laundry, I think we've shot ourselves in the foot by beating up on ourselves to the point of political harm, as exemplified in the '06 Election. We've weakened President Bush's political power, as much as his "true" political enemies have done. And in so doing, we've hurt the conservative movement- yet lay the blame squarely at the feet of the President, and behave like victims, abandoned by our Party.

Midnight Blue and Flopping Aces have important posts to be read today, regarding Vets for Freedom who will confront the surrender monkeys on Capitol Hill, face-to-face.

Let your voices be heard.

Other articles of note:
Rich Lowry's Last Hawk Standing

Thomas Sowell asks, "And then what?" Here's an excerpt:
But how many countries will continue to cooperate with the United States when they know that the terrorists are in this for the long haul, while the U.S. can abandon them to their fate at any moment, whenever it becomes politically expedient at home?
Here is an excerpt from Part II of Sowell:
What has gone right is that the Iraq war is already over. Our troops won it. But our politicians may once more lose the peace -- and with disastrous consequences for us and for the world.

Peace has not been achieved in Iraq, though pacification continues -- always at a cost in American lives -- and shows signs of progress, much to the dismay of those who have bet their political future on an American defeat.

Defeatists have not yet had the courage to directly ensure defeat by cutting off the money to continue military operations in Iraq.

That would be taking responsibility for the defeat.

Sometimes, Dennis Prager can be the Caliph of Clarity:
The sad truth is that moral courage is rare -- whether among private citizens or among political leaders. Even opponents of the war have to admit that, given the polls, it takes no courage for a politician to call for American withdrawal from Iraq. Whether or not you agree with those who want American forces to stay in Iraq, that is a far more courageous position in today's America -- just as, right or wrong, it admittedly took more courage for a politician to oppose the war when America deposed Saddam Hussein's regime.
Should America fail in Iraq, I will not hold President Bush up as the cause for failure. He has remained firm and unwavering, even as those around him seem to either blow with the breeze, like paper tigers knocked down by windbags; or suffer the contagion of "Bush fatigue" under the constant, unrelenting onslaught of BSD from the MSM. It's shaped perception, even amongst those of us who remain supportive of our President. We may still support our efforts in Iraq, but we are not unaffected by the saturation of negativity and pessimism.

More from Prager:
And how often in history did the right thing not take courage? And how often was the right position the most popular position?
I may be ridiculed for being in the minority position, amongst the 20-30 per centers....that I am out of touch with the mainstream. Good. I am proud to stand in the company of those who understand the consequences of withdrawal and defeat; of those willing to do what's right, even when it's not what is popular.

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Blogger The Liberal Lie The Conservative Truth said...

Great pics. Libs refuse to realize that fighting here at homw not only demoralizes our troops but emboldens our enemy.

They also refuse to accept that the only way to handle this enemy is to kill them first BEFORE they have a chance to kill us.

They have not slowed in their attempts not in their goal os Islamofising the world and killing all Infidels especially Americans even Democrats.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Hear that noise?? Thats me standing up and cheering. Extremely well said as always Word!! By the way, I did quote you on the radio show today because your last paragraph to liberal William was so priceless in my comments' section.

It is so nice to see I am not alone. Peggy Noonan, Michelle Malkin and Laura Ingraham have all really lost a lot of my respect in how they've chosen to deal with immigration and their treatment of Bush as a result. I don't understand the rational or logic at all.

The fact that Rush and Sean Hannity dealt so even handed with this whole issue just reminds me what class acts they really are.

I also not only quoted you on the show today but Kristol and Donald Lambro as well since you alerted me to his piece.

Thanks so much for being a fellow comrad and I too am proud to stand in the minority of those who are willing to do what is right.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

I just went and read David Limbaugh's column and while I am extremely proud of him I have to admit that Noonan's article is so upsetting to me that I may take her name off of my profile. I just don't understand what has gotten into her at all.

She has been getting progressively more pessimistic and I don't understand how she can't see the similarities between him and Reagan when she witnessed the Reagan presidency up close. I can't tell you how much this disheartens me. I can't fathom how she isn't able to see the bigger picture and what is at stake here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

I already had my post compiled for Wednesday but I am so upset about all of this I am preparing my Thursday post linking to you and talking about all of this.

You'll have to check it out, I'll be giving you big time props ;-)!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 11:18:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


Thanks for the warm comments, including the radio show mention. I wish I could listen in, but work keeps me away.

It's so strange to feel at odds with some of my conservative "heroes". Criticism of President Bush is okay; disagreement, is okay; but the manner in which they have gone about it, I think has contributed to his political damage. And that, in turn, hurts Republicans.

To those who think I put Party loyalty over loyalty to America's best interest: I believe my Party serves America's best interest. I can't think of a single platform I'd stand with the Democrats on. It's really not so much about the Party that I am loyal to, so much as their ideas, ideals, and values that I am loyal to.

The fact that Rush and Sean Hannity dealt so even handed with this whole issue just reminds me what class acts they really are.

I have never listened to Rush; and have not listened to a full Hannity radio hour.

In '04, Laura Ingraham kept me glued to her program. Since Harriet Miers, I've found myself less enthralled with her program. I still like her; but I no longer have the "need to listen" feeling, I once had.

Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt are my mainstay listens.

Sorry Peggy Noonan's piece has had such a negative effect on you. I've never felt one way or another on her, so I'm probably not as put off and hurt by her. She's jumped off the Bush train, some time ago.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 12:18:00 AM  
Blogger Nick Brunetti-Lihach said...

Let's not forget Barbara Boxer...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 6:03:00 AM  
Blogger Donald Douglas said...

Fabulous post. I've got my day's reading mapped out. Thank you so much, Wordsmith!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 6:14:00 AM  
Blogger Angevin13 said...


Here via Burkean Reflections. Great post, and blog. I wrote on both the Kristol piece and the Sowell piece. Re: the latter, Sowell - with characteristic clarity and concision - makes the case for why we must not pull out of Iraq until the job there is done. Those who kick, scream, moan, wail, whine and rant that we must pull out immediately are obligated (as I've said all along at my own blog) to offer up an answer to the question, after a pull out, "then what?" - not only as it relates to the issue of the morality of a pull-out, but also to just how a premature withdrawal is in the interest of U.S. national security.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 6:58:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Thanks for the visits!

I updated the post with Sowell's follow up piece.

Also, Strata-sphere links to latest poll numbers on the President and Congress, which will astound you:

The numbers coming out for Bush and Congress from Rassmussen and Zogby are
stunning. Bush is reboundin both (34 and 39 support) while Congress is
just scraping bottom (14) in Zogby. Amazing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 8:28:00 AM  
Blogger Gayle said...

Good morning, Wordsmith. Excellent post, as always. I left a comment over at Midnight Blue saying I commend our veterans for doing this and I pray that it will do some good.

One of your comments that you left in this thread is exactly the way I feel: " To those who think I put Party loyalty over loyalty to America's best interest: I believe my Party serves America's best interest. I can't think of a single platform I'd stand with the Democrats on. It's really not so much about the Party that I am loyal to, so much as their ideas, ideals, and values that I am loyal to." Exactly!

Thursday, July 19, 2007 5:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who knew Bill Kristol had such a flair for satire?

How else to read his piece for Outlook on Sunday, in which he declared, "George W. Bush's presidency will probably be a successful one"? Surely Kristol, the No. 1 cheerleader for the Iraq war, was mocking himself (and his neoconservative pals) for having been so mistaken about so much. But just in case his article was meant to be a serious stab at commentary, let's review Kristol's record as a prognosticator.

On Sept. 18, 2002, he declared that a war in Iraq "could have terrifically good effects throughout the Middle East." A day later, he said Saddam Hussein was "past the finish line" in developing nuclear weapons. On Feb. 20, 2003, he said of Saddam: "He's got weapons of mass destruction.... Look, if we free the people of Iraq we will be respected in the Arab world." On March 1, 2003 -- 18 days before the invasion of Iraq -- Kristol dismissed the possibility of sectarian conflict afterward. He also said, "Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more thoroughly than this one by this president." He maintained that the war would cost $100 billion to $200 billion. (The running tab is now about half a trillion dollars.) On March 5, 2003, Kristol said, "We'll be vindicated when we discover the weapons of mass destruction."

After a performance like this -- and the above is only a partial review; for more details, click here -- Kristol, a likeable fellow, ought to have his pundit's license yanked. But he's back again with a sequel: W. will be seen as a wonderful president. His latest efforts should be laughed off op-ed pages. But in the commentariat, he's still taken seriously. So assuming the joke is indeed unintended, I'll examine Kristol's most recent fantasy as if it's real.

Iraq: Kristol says "we now seem to be on course to a successful outcome." The war has been a mess from the start, and these days even leading Republican senators no longer buy the argument that Bush's so-called "surge" is succeeding or can succeed as promised. Kristol contends that with the recent escalation "we are increasingly able to protect more of the Iraqi population." Many in Iraq would find little comfort in his assurances. Despite the "surge," Iraqi civilian deaths are still running at 2,500 to 3,000 a month. And since the "surge" began, according to the Pentagon's own numbers, the number of attacks on U.S. and Iraqi forces and Iraqi civilians has marginally increased.

Still, Kristol advises, stick with the "surge," train more Iraqi troops, and all will be well. The United States has already spent $19 billion training 346,500 or so Iraqi troops and police officers, and now merely six battalions -- down from 10, according to Gen. Peter Pace -- can function independently. That is, only 3,000 Iraqi troops are operating on their own after all this time and money.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government is making little, if any, progress on key political matters that must be resolved, and the parliament is taking off August -- while American GIs continue to fight and die. What are they dying for? Kristol and Bush argue the war is a vital part of the battle against al Qaeda and international jihadism, and Kristol claims the U.S. military is "routing al Qaeda in Iraq." But, as the Los Angeles Times recently reported, of the 19,000 insurgents held by the U.S. military in Iraq, only 135 are foreigners. The United States is not fighting al Qaeda in Iraq; it's fighting Iraqis. Kristol is whistling past a graveyard -- filled with the bodies of thousands of American soldiers and probably hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians -- when he insists the United States is heading toward a "messy" victory.

And Kristol keeps arguing the past. The problems that have arisen in Iraq since the invasion, he maintains, have to be judged against what would have occurred had there been no invasion: a nuclear-armed Saddam conspiring with al Qaeda. To justify the war, Kristol is pushing the myth (debunked by U.S. intelligence) that Saddam was in cahoots with Osama bin Laden, and he's ignoring the fact that WMD inspectors were present in Iraq right before the invasion and (as we now know) doing a good job in determining Saddam had no unconventional weapons or nuclear bomb program. Such a policy could have been maintained.

Afghanistan: Steady as she goes, says Kristol. Well, not if you're one of those dozens of civilians who seem to be killed every few days in an errant attack from NATO and western forces. (Even Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is fed up.) And shouldn't this war have been over years ago? Reconstruction is at a crawl The Taliban is resurgent. Opium production is setting new records. And the Bush administration (last time I checked) had no high-level official solely responsible for Afghanistan policy. Afghanistan has been a job neglected and unfinished.

Terrorism: Yes -- thankfully -- there have been no attacks here since 9/11. But recent intelligence reports say that al Qaeda (the real al Qaeda, not al Qaeda in Iraq) is becoming stronger. The man responsible for the worst act of terrorism ever visited upon the United States remains free. And the Bush administration's excesses in combating terrorism -- Guantanamo, warrantless wiretapping of Americans, and more -- have undermined the cause at home and abroad.

Foreign policy: Kristol does not mention that, thanks to Bush's misadventure in Iraq and other missteps, the United States' image abroad is in the sub-basement. He does note that we now have decent relations with Brazil. But he forgets about the worsening conflict between Israel and the Palestinians (and the other Palestinians) -- a conflict arguably exacerbated by Bush administration blunders.

The economy: All is fine, Kristol claims, pointing to conventional indicators and hailing Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy. But most Americans tell pollsters the country is not on the right track. Are they stupid? No, they are coping with various forms of insecurity and stress that Kristol does not recognize. Since 2000, the median income of working-age household has fallen each year. The economy has been growing, corporate profits are up, and the stock market is on the rise, but this recovery has handed working Americans weak growth in wages and salaries. The share of national income going to salaries and wages is at the lowest level since such stats were first compiled in 1929.

Moreover, the high costs of health care and education also worry many Americans. Kristol praises Bush's Medicare drug plan -- which routinely is assailed by critics on the left and right -- but Bush has done nothing to make health care more affordable and more available for most Americans. Forty-five million or so Americans remain uninsured. And while Kristol cheers globalization -- which is causing employment instability for Americans -- we can celebrate by eating tainted shrimp from China.

The Supreme Court: In Kristol's world, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., Bush's contributions to the court, are titans of jurisprudence respected throughout the land. Yet the Roberts court's recent decisions have sparked (justifiably) much controversy and rancor. In two separate decisions, Roberts protected corporate speech but trampled on the free speech rights of students. Roberts was also slammed by Justice Antonin Scalia for not having the guts to admit he was overturning precedent when he was. Bush's Supreme Court has become another battlefront in the partisan wars--not a symbol of accomplishment.

It's remarkable what Kristol leaves out of his bizarro-world view of Bush the Great: Hurricane Katrina, the collapse of the Justice Department, global warming, and much else. An American city was practically destroyed on Bush's watch, but that merits no consideration in Kristol's case for Bush. The Justice Department -- run by Bush cronies accused of corruption, incompetence, or both -- is in tatters. (A former department official tells me the administration is having a hard time finding people willing to fill the vacancies at the top.) And though Bush begrudgingly conceded that global warming is underway and human-induced, he has taken no significant steps to redress this pressing problem. If one wants to peer into the future, it could well be that Bush will be judged a failure more for his inaction on global warming than for his action in Iraq. Vetoing stem cell research legislation, commuting Scooter Libby's prison sentence, rewriting clean air rules to benefit industry, pushing tax breaks for oil companies, suppressing the work of scientists, enhancing government secrecy -- Bush has repeatedly placed parochial interests over the public interest.

The Bush-Cheney years have been marked by ineptitude, miscalculation, and scandal. A successful presidency? Bush will be lucky if he gets a public elementary school in his adopted hometown of Crawford, Tex., named after him. He has placed this country in a hole. Yet Kristol, with shovel in hand, points to that hole and says, Trust me -- we're about to strike oil!

If it's true that history repeats first as tragedy and then as farce, Kristol has short-circuited the process and gone straight to parody. His Bush boosterism -- an act of self-justification -- would be amusing were it not for all the damage he has helped Bush to cause.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 9:07:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Hey anon, thanks for visiting and leaving the longwinded comment. Much appreciated that you took the time and effort. The Kristol derangement syndrome gave me a good chuckle.

As for your case of the BDS, really, you should read your history books.

No one knows how this will all play out. William Kristol is not the only one who believes President Bush will go down in history as a great president, despite the vitriolic hatred and hysteria that surrounds him today. It's not as if this is the first time that people such as you and the moveon.orgies, find yourselves on the wrong side of history. It's ok, though. I forgive you.

Thursday, July 19, 2007 10:57:00 PM  

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