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CATEGORY: Politics

This article originally appears in The American Thinker

When the history of our times are written a hundred years from now, it is probable that historians will be scratching their heads in puzzlement over contemporary reports regarding the challenges faced by the Bush Administration and how the President’s people managed them. They will take note of the super-charged partisan atmosphere that permeated Washington at the time and the extraordinary hostility of major opinion makers in the media to the President and his policies. And when all is said and done, they may very well conclude that the President’s contemporaries were suffering from some kind of mass delusion, a sickness of thought and reason that not only clouded their judgement but contributed to the deliberate formulation of a powerful myth: The myth that the Bush Administration was incompetent in its stewardship of the republic.

Historians being historians, there will be many who will posit the notion that this judgement of history is in fact, no myth at all. They will take the arguments of the President’s contemporaries at face value and point to the problems associated with winning the War in Iraq, hurricane preparedness, intelligence failures, and a host of domestic missteps in areas as diverse as Medicare reform and ports management.

But if historians took the reports of a great man’s contemporaries at face value, we would not be celebrating Washington, Jefferson, Adams, nor especially Lincoln who engendered as much hate and loathing as any past President in history. Lincoln’s contemporaries indulged in an orgy of name calling and criticism of his war policies to the point that his own party sought to throw him off the ticket in 1864.

As for Washington, a cursory examination of his military efforts during the revolution would elicit little more than contempt. The General lost more battles than any other general in American history. His amateurish New York campaign in 1776 almost lost the war before it started and only the luckiest of circumstances kept the Continental Army from being destroyed en masse .

And Washington’s stewardship of the young republic is replete with contemporary accounts of mismanagement, cronyism, and dark hints of the General’s monarchical tendencies. His second term was one long nightmare of criticism of his foreign policy, his close relationship with the bane of Jeffersonians Alexander Hamilton, and his handling of the “Whiskey Rebellion” where the President himself rode at the head of an army of 9,000 men into western Pennsylvania to put down a challenge to the primacy of the federal government. And yet, Washington is beloved to us today not because of what his contemporaries thought of him but because his record taken in its totality reveals a man of vision and steady leadership through some of the most turbulent times in American history.

The point isn’t that George Bush is like Washington or Lincoln. The point is that historians will be able to look back at this two term President and find a record on the economy, on foreign policy, and even on several domestic issues that will give the lie to charges of incompetence and instead, reveal a President who initiated strikingly bold initiatives that changed the course of both American and world history.

There is nothing new in Democrats and the media charging that a Republican President is incompetent. They’ve been doing it since the Eisenhower Administration. The ex-general was accused of sleeping through the 1950’s. Nixon’s incompetence was ieven highlighted in his administration’s scandals as his detractors were always fond of pointing out that Watergate was the result of “a second rate burglary” and that the White House plumbers resembled the Keystone Cops. His prosecution of the Viet Nam war and handling of the peace negotiations as well as his relationship with the Democratic Congress were also skewered by his critics as evidence of Nixon’s unworthiness for high office.

But these critics saved their most venomous invective for Ronald Reagan who was constantly called a “dunce,” a “stupid actor,” and much worse. It says something about Reagan that even when the White House press corp treated him with contempt, he never lost his sense of self-deprecating humor, making fun of his age, his work habits, even his own intelligence.

The way critics tried to draw the President’s father also degenerated into caricature as Bush #41 was belittled constantly for his optimism and enthusiasm. Trying to portray the President of the United States as a glorified cheerleader, his detractors succeeded in tarring George H. Bush as a shallow, substanceless rich man who never thought deeply about anything.

Why should it surprise us that Democrats and their allies in the press are seeking to apply the same broad brush to this President?

A more objective observer would note that the standards of competency being applied to this Administration by both the President’s opponents and now many erstwhile Republicans are impossibly high. In this media saturated age where perception is reality and the present merges seamlessly into the future, hindsight has been flipped on its head to become foresight. The President’s tormentors have twisted, mangled, and mutilated the truth and the facts so often that the legends they have created are now accepted as reality. In a truly Orwellian way, history is being written before events actually occur. And when something happens that in any other reality would be considered insignificant, it is pointed to as “proof” that the Administration’s actions, or policies, or plans are an abject failure.

A recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed by Daniel Henninger noticed this very same phenomenon:

Rational problem-solving generally requires adhering to the rules of the game, and in politics those rules are often informal. One such rule in Washington is that a politician is as good as his word. Perhaps nothing has been more destructive to Washington’s current ability to function than the belief that “Bush lied” about WMD, most notably Joe Wilson’s foundational charge in the New York Times that Mr. Bush lied about Iraq’s attempts to buy uranium from Niger.

This persistent belief that George Bush committed a major moral crime, which was refuted by the Robb-Silberman Commission, had consequences. It has led many people in Washington’s standing institutions—Congress, the press, the intelligence and foreign-policy bureaucracies—to think they’ve been released from operating inside the normal boundaries that allow political Washington to function, that allow partisans to do business, whether on foreign policy, Social Security or homeland security.

Henninger specifically points to the Valerie Plame case as proof that the President’s detractors leap upon the most insignificant matters to prove Administration perfidy. The fact is, as Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald admitted in court last week, there was no “outing” of a covert agent and that he didn’t intend to offer “any proof of actual damage caused by the disclosure of Wilson’s identity.”

But it is the prosecution of the War in Iraq that the President’s critics have used their powers of hindsight to the fullest. There may be no human endeavor more fraught with uncertainty nor more open to the vagaries of chance than war. And yet, every setback in Iraq whether by our military or in the political arena is held up as “proof” of the incompetence of the Bush Administration. If these critics had been around in 1943-44 and had access to the same kind of information they have about the situation in Iraq, I can imagine the howls of protest against Roosevelt’s competency. The list of American missteps on both fronts – mistakes that cost many times more lives than those lost to date in Iraq – read like a military bad dream. The Italian campaign, the Tarawa landing, and a host of smaller catastrophes would have sapped the will of the American people and made prosecution of the war that much more difficult.

In Iraq, the President’s critics have had a field day dissecting both military and political strategy from the comfortable perch of hindsight, always able to come up with some report or leaked intelligence estimate that puts the Administration’s efforts in the worst possible light. The question is never broached about what other information the Administration had access to which would put any decisions made in context. I daresay that if such second guessing occurred during the slow progress made by American forces during World War II where there were numerous defeats and even political troubles with Charles DeGaulle of the Free French Forces, the American people may very well have thought Roosevelt an incompetent boob.

Critics of the President are using what engineers refer to as a “Six Sigma” model of critical analysis regarding Administration actions. “Sigma” is a Greek letter used as a statistical term that refers to a measurement of how far a given process deviates from perfection. The higher the Sigma number, the closer to perfection. The central idea behind “Six Sigma” is that if you can measure how many defects you have in a process, you can systematically figure out how to get rid of them.

But for Bush detractors, this kind of analysis becomes a convenient weapon. It ignores the thousands of variables that go into everything from war planning to hurricane preparedness and relief. It also has the virtue of of immediacy in that defects – both real and imagined – can be offered as proof of policy failure before the policy has a chance to work. We saw this with the Katrina relief effort as the Federal government pre-positioned millions of tons of supplies prior to the hurricane making landfall and within 24 hours Administration critics were already declaring the relief effort a failure, the result of the President’s disinterest in the plight of poor black people. With New Orleans 80% underwater, critics were wondering why supplies were not getting to people who needed them.

The fact is these critics weren’t asking President Clinton the same thing following Hurricane Floyd where flooding prevented FEMA from acting in anything approaching a timely manner. The Reverend Jesse Jackson interviewed FEMA Director James Lee Witt almost 30 days after Floyd devastated the east coast:

“It seemed there was preparation for Hurricane Floyd, but then came Flood Floyd,” Jackson began. “Bridges are overwhelmed, levees (my emphasis) are overwhelmed, whole town’s under water (my emphasis). . . [it’s] an awesome scene of tragedy. So there’s a great misery index in North Carolina.”

When Jackson asked what was being done for the thousands of families left homeless by Floyd after nearly a month had passed since the storm first hit, Witt said Bill’s FEMA was “just beginning to address the problem.”

Sound familiar?

There is no better example of this Six Sigma mindset among the President’s critics than the recent sectarian violence in Iraq which had many in the press especially salivating for a civil war. The violence was serious and continues to the present at a reduced level. But the exaggerated reports of attacks and casualties – the result of both the inability of the press to see the big picture as well as the probability that reporters were getting much of their information from al Qaeda propaganda cadres – did not include any reports of the counterweight being applied to the prospects of a civil war by the Iraqi Army whose performance was generally praised in the aftermath of the Shrine bombing and the tens of thousands of ordinary citizens who marched in “Unity Demonstrations” across the country.

Despite all the provocations by the insurgents and al Qaeda terrorists, Iraqis from all walks of life, all sects, and all parts of the country are working together to keep civil war from happening. And while it is still an open question whether or not civil war can be avoided, this unity among so many Iraqis is a direct result of Administration efforts to promote democracy. The people of Iraq have been given a stake in their own future by the government of the United States. Whether they can take advantage of this is still open to question. But to call the policy a “failure” at this point is wrong. The Iraqis may be taking two steps forward and one back in their march to the future. But the fact is the only way for our policy to fail is if we pick up and go home. In this, both Administration critics and al Qaeda terrorists have something in common.

Criticizing the day to day ups and downs of progress in Iraq would be considered irrational in almost any other context except that which seeks to perpetrate the myth that the Administration is incompetent. The same holds true for Katrina relief efforts, the scope of which dwarfed any other similar effort in American history. But the Six Sigma group, having control of mass media and taking advantage of the Administration’s curious inability to defend itself, has been able to pick and choose the decisions and circumstances that best contribute to their skewed incompetence narrative while ignoring other efforts that have proved to be successful.

How much have we heard about the economy recently? Low inflation, historically low interest rates, low unemployment, rising incomes, high productivity, and the prospect of further, sustained growth is a spectacular record of achievement. Predictably, the Six Sigma group concentrates instead on the systemic unemployment of minorities and the rising cost of health care.

Similarly, the President’s bold initiatives in education reform and prescription drug assistance receive scant attention except to highlight the problems with the programs. No one mentions that millions of at risk students will finally have schools that must demonstrate that they are trying to raise standards or that seniors will have coverage for prescription drugs that they didn’t have before. Problems with both these programs can be fixed. But shepherding them through Congress in the first place along with tax cuts, faith based initiatives, and other issues that the President’s critics confidently predicted would never fly in the legislature bespeaks a level of competence not vouchsafed by the President’s critics who tend to forget their own incompetent powers of prognostication on these and other matters.

It is easy to pick out mistakes made by any President. And believe me when I say I wholeheartedly agree that this President has made his fair share of them. One could even point out the incompetence of the Administration to specific challenges like government spending, social security reform, and even some aspects of Iraq reconstruction and yes, hurricane relief. But generally speaking, President Bush has tackled some of the biggest challenges to face this country in more than a generation. He has done many things well. He has fallen down in other respects. But to have the President’s critics slap the label of incompetence on his Administration doesn’t stand up to any kind of objective scrutiny.

In the end, Bush will be judged by the totality of his Presidency not by the Six Sigma analyses that pass for serious critiques by the Presidents detractors. In fact, they are not serious at all. They represent a political tactic that seeks to undermine rather than improve. And for that, they should be ashamed of themselves.


I’d like to publicly thank long time House reader Fritz who sent me the idea for the “Six Sigma” Democrats. One wonders that if Bush were to bring unemployment to “0” whether these critics would complain that government bureaucrats would have nothing to do!

By: Rick Moran at 8:34 am
  1. 1
    clarice feldman Said:
    10:00 am 

    Another really brilliant piece of work, Rick. Congratulations.

  2. 2
    SShiell Said:
    10:19 am 

    Another President caught up in the crosshairs of the press and his opponents was Lincoln. You have noted in other entries how Lincoln was ridiculed for his supposed lack of intelligence, his appearance, and his administration’s conduct of the war – and this one was a real Civil War. For a man, whom many historians rate as the greatest President, to persevere in the face of all that adversity makes me wonder at the incredible will he must have had.

    Now I am not equating Bush with Lincoln but the similarities in their situations warrant scrutiny. And the one area that intrigues me most is their unwavering will to do the right thing in the face of all that adversity.

    Will history judge Bush as kindly as it does Lincoln? If you can mneasure that by equating the levels of hatred and acrimony adressed to the man – maybe so.

  3. 3
    Don Gillespie Said:
    11:04 am 

    I just discovered your website with this article, and I must say I’m looking forward to reading more. You have put a rational, well-researched voice to feelings I have had for several years regarding GWB. I voted for him twice and would do so a third time if I could, if for no other reason than his policies regarding Iraq and the Mideast. His critics just don’t realize that in undertaking the Iraq war he has chosen the path of least bloodshed and violence in the necessary undertaking of turning the Mideast democratic. He understand the big picture, that terrorism, if fought only on the military front, will cost us millions of lives over the years, but if democracy is installed in the Mideast it will catch like wildfire and sweep the region. With democracy comes prosperity, and with prosperity comes an unwillingness to tolerate murderous extremism. I believe that most Muslims are no different than us: they want happy, propserous, safe lives. They can turn a blind eye to terrorism now because they have no hope of prosperity, but once they see that it is possible, they will never turn away again. GWB not only sees this, he has the moral strength to see it through although he is the most vilified president in my lifetime. I often wonder how he must feel day after day facing such hatred; a lesser man would have given up long ago. I disagree with him on plenty of things, but on foreign policy, the American economy, and our national security, he is every bit a great leader, and worthy of the respect of the entire world. I believe that in years to come he will be known as the man who brought Mideast terrorism to an end, as much as President Reagan is known as the man who brought down Communism. Thanks for such great thinking and writing!

  4. 4
    Fritz Said:
    11:56 am 

    WW2 is a perfect example, the Nazi Army was very efficient, tremendous kill ratios, but the Allied Army, while inefficient, was effective. Sounds a bit like the carping about Halliburton’s effective, while inefficient cost wise, supply activities in Iraq. Take the Pentagon’s study of how effective body armor was. The hindsight Six Sigma Party used this data to pin point incompetence. Information about defects, unknowable prior to actual body armor use and a proper and big picture necessity, is disgracefully used as a foresight damnation. Human interaction has too many variables to quantify to achieve quality of Six Sigma, that is why it only works with machines or human processes where the human counter party has no control.

  5. 5
    tyk Said:
    12:19 pm 

    Thanka, Rick, for articulating the perspective. MSM must be in death throes. Nothing else can explain the venom.

  6. 6
    lakestate Said:
    12:57 pm 

    Excellent article Rick. I am in total agreement, I just wish I could have put it so articulately.

  7. 7
    Bill Baar Said:
    2:53 pm 

    I agree with you. I think you’re right. But it’s a long road ahead of us before we get to History’s judgement. It’s not going to be easy.

  8. 8
    Joshua Said:
    4:38 pm 

    If the MSM really is taking a Six Sigma approach to Presidential criticism, it’s a good bet that Bush won’t be the last target of it. A mindset like that has a way of becoming internalized (indeed, in a quality-assurance setting this is to be expected).

    As President, Bill Clinton was often accused of being divisive. George W. Bush, even more so. But if the trend continues with the next president – whomever he, or she, may be – that would tell me that the divisiveness really had, and has, nothing to do with any of them.

  9. 9
    bubbaj Said:
    6:01 pm 

    Excellent Rick. This article is timely. My husband, who has an unquenchable appetite for American history (especially the civil war), was just last night giving me a lesson on how very much Lincoln was despised by politicians and journalists during his presidency. He compared it to President Bush. Our conversation was preceded by a story we were watching on the news about the school in New Jersey who put the president on trial for war crimes.

    We have discussed many times the level of hatred that President Bush faces day after day after day. I have no doubt that the president’s strong faith in God is what sustains him. I for one will be glad when his time in office is over but only because I fear for his safety. I’m sure that Laura Bush feels the same.

    My own mother has claimed that he is no Christian.

  10. 10
    Hawkeye Said:
    6:40 pm 

    Thanks for a good piece.

    I have noted to others, on a number of occasions, the similarities in the opposition to Lincoln and Bush, even down to the nature of the insults. McClellen called Lincoln a gorilla and expounded on his stupidity. One of his own cabinet officers remarked on his “painful imbecillity.” Major papers trashed his Gettysburg Address with one saying he was a national embarrasment to enlightened foreigners.

    It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

    The same venom, for many of the same reasons, from essentially the same people.

    Anyone who will dare to challange the status quo and its vested interests to follow the moral course will end in the same position. Whether that interest is in maintaining the oppression of slavery or the oppression of compliant middle eastern tyrants matters not, the reaction will be the same because the threat to those who benefit from the oppression of others is the same. They are on the wrong side of history, but they will never see or admit that and the struggle against them will always be difficult. No tyrany goes away of its own accord.

    There are many parallels between the mid-nineteenth century and our own time. Many of the fundamental principles in contest then are being contested again, right now, though often disguised in different issues. In 100 years, public perceptions of this president will likely undergo a great shift, as they did with Lincoln.

  11. 11
    Hawkeye Said:
    7:38 pm 

    “WW2 is a perfect example, the Nazi Army was very efficient, tremendous kill ratios, but the Allied Army, while inefficient, was effective.”


    Though the other points in your comment are well taken, I must respectfully suggest that here you are in the grip of a myth that deserves deconstruction.

    The early high kill rates and successes of German arms were made possible more by the incompetence of their enemies than their own competence. This did not last even through the first part of the war, and in the later part of the war, their kill ratios really do not live up to expectations for an army fighting mostly on the defensive from prepared lines of resistance. The fact is that the allies all dispalyed a steep learning curve, and very quickly caught up to and passed the German forces in most catagories: weapons, overall were as good or better, training at all levels was superior, and operational skill superior.

    Even on a strategic level, German perfomance was disappointing. In spite of the damage inflicetd on Soviet industry by the invasion, the USSR still managed to produce 2x the thanks, planes, and heavy guns that Germany did on half the German output of coal and steel. This was in 1942-43 BEFORE the bombing campaing could reduce German production. And production by the USSR and other allied nations paled in comparison with the US which produced 65% of ALL war material world-wide. General Motors alone produced 10%, and Ford alone produce more than Italy.

    This industrial superiority did not, however win the war, though it did hasten its end. Allied training and learning in operational arts mattered more. The tide of the Axis advance, world wide, was turned in a roughly 6-8 month period beginning in late 1942:

    The land and sea battle for Guadalcanal-Aug 42

    El Alamain offensive- 28 Oct 42 &
    Operation Torch (invasion of N. Africa) 8 Nov 42

    Operation Uranus (encirclement of German forces in Stalingrad) 19 Nov 42.

    Within 6 months of the beginning date of each of these operations, Axis forces had suffered crushing defeats and lost the initiative the theater.

    The period from Aug 42 – ~Mar 43 is the tipping point when the Axis tide was stopped and began to edd. The great flood of American production did not even start until late 43-early 44, and it hit full stride even later.

    It has been the conventional wisdom for at least 50 years that the allies won against superior opponents (or at least one superior opponent – Germany) simply because they because they swamped the better force in oceans of men and machines of inferior quality. That may be a comforting idea to talk about over a beer at Wehrmacht unit reunions, but it does not accord well with the facts.

    If you have a genuine interest in the subject, may I recommend Richard Overy’s Why the Allies Won. It is a 1995 work available in hardcover or paperback, and is a pretty good read; Overy writes well and it is only a bit over 300 pages plus notes, index, etc.

  12. 12
    hunkafunk Said:
    10:28 pm 

    I Loved this post. Claiming you’re not comparing Bush to Lincoln and Washington, then comparing Bush to Lincoln and Washington. Classic! It’s also indicative of the mindset that will lead to the inevitable failure of conservativism in America in the 100 years necessary for the historians in your article to look back upon this era.

    I stumbled onto your site quite by accident, and I must say it’s very interesting to delve into the writings on this blog. I’m not your average liberal, tree-humping, tax & spend, gay loving, abortion embracing Air America listening, Hillary obsessing left-wing nutcase, so hear me out. I enjoy reading and debating those with a dynamic array of viewpoints, and I find yours interesting. Incorrect in the end, but interesting nonetheless.

    As I was reading, I couldn’t help thinking to myself that an avid left-wing blogger with similar writing ability could easily type an article that held the reverse assertion about Reagan, how in 100 years he would be thought of as a very average or even poor president. It would be a direct refutation of the right-wing bloviaters that insist on elevating Reagan to iconic, Mt. Rushmore status through strategic muddling, selective memory loss, intellectual dishonesty and drooling hero worship. It would be called “The Myth of the Dragon Slayer”, in reference to the myth that Reagan and his administration single handedly obliterated the Soviet Union, an idea cherished by sycophantic conservative revisionists but scoffed at by anybody with a contemplative brain.

    When you say, “The President’s tormentors have twisted, mangled, and mutilated the truth and the facts so often that the legends they have created are now accepted as reality,” you provide few examples, and rightfully so since they don’t exist. For the political derision you see from the Left may not be a symptom of the times, but rather a reaction to warped reverse-reverse psychology of statements like yours above. When those on the Right manipulate and mutilate truth and fact as a fundamental operational code for political action, then calmly accuse those on the Left of using such nefarious techniques themselves while simultaneously absolving themselves of any similarly culpability, it’s difficult for the opposition to maintain standards of decency in debate. It’s tough to play with sincerity against an opponent that cheats with impunity, then cries foul about perceived cheating.

    That aside, I’m interested in this imaginary historical perspective used to discard present-day critical analysis of the Bush presidency. What I’m interested in is the “historians” you refer to with Orwellian repetition. From what I can surmise, these “historians” are some legendary group held in an air-locked antechamber somewhere deep in the earth’s crust, surrounded by molten lava and wily ninjas. As I read onward through your site, it became apparent you were not interested in what historians may consider when examining the events of our era through the prism glass of a hundred years. Instead, it became obvious that you were interested in the systematic and purposeful revision of the very definitions ‘truth’ and ‘history’ as simply ideas relative to one’s political leanings.

    It got me thinking about the attempts of mainstream right-wing demagogues to accomplish this very feat. As though marrying ambition, repetition and ideology, the way our distant relatives will see our history could be influenced. This technique is prevalent today, and disconcerting. It is the unspoken idea that simply because these purveyors of ideology may convene their ideology as history in the present, that future historians just may dare to take seriously the inane ramblings of right-wing mainstream figures like Michele Menkin, the strange woman who tried to justify the internment of innocent Japanese Americans in order to grab national attention, or Ann Coulter, the bizarre square jawed neocon attack dog that has made a desperate plea for the revival of the “McCarthy was right” demagoguery.

    These are the rude partisan toadies that defy logic, reason and truthfulness to either blur coherent analysis or work to rehabilitate lifeless ideologies or viewpoints long declared incorrect. This, of course, is accomplished with gusto and pizzazz, all the while attempting to hide it under the guise of logic, reason and truthfulness. These are the lackeys of the established political machination, the ones that work diligently and tirelessly to “rewrite” history in their own time before that ‘100 years’ when it goes to print, so long as what has occurred may not size up with the bizarre utopia dictated by their political leanings. They are the ones ruining the ability of history to be written with a modicum of sincerity and truth, for seeking the truth is secondary to “the cause”. The willful destruction of intellectual honesty is not only acceptable, it is an intrinsic element of their vocabulary. It is often the only mechanism they know to accomplish their so-called “goals”. The mechanism for achieving this is nothing less than the purposeful blurring of that which need not be blurred in order to pursue a predestined conclusion based on a failed conservative ideology.

    So every opposing party in the history of the United States has claimed incompetence and malfeasance on the part of the ruling party. Wow, what an amazing revelation. That’s truly deep. Did you know that the sky is blue and monkeys throw their poop? Shocking, I know! It was a good attempt at obscuring true inquiry into historicity. The entire premise you stipulate is based on a red herring to begin with: that historians will side with present-day critics and find the Bush administration incompetent.

    It is not up to historians to bestow a ribbon on either the ruling party or the opposing party; it is not up to historians to say “You were right, they were incompetent” or “You were right, they were not incompetent.” True historians don’t do this at all. To claim this is a complete misunderstanding of the purpose of history and those stewards who devote their lives to collating it for the masses.

    It’s likely a purposeful misunderstanding on your part, since as described above there is a movement in mainstream neo-conservativism to commit willful obfuscation of cogent historical analysis if it means a furthering of “the cause” or a consolidation of power that may lead to the promise of “the cause”.

    Believe me, I understand. The Left has done this in the past to renew interest in its own iconic figures. You must compare Bush, your present horse in the race, to those in America’s past with historical virility for the political purpose of providing weight in the present-day to ideological pursuits of which you have a vest interest. But the historians of 2100 will have no such need. Thus, in surmising a place in history for Bush, their presidential comparisons will not be the illustrious presidents past like Lincoln and Washington or even Eisenhower. Their context will not be the presidents whom the problems and complexities of our era would be utterly foreign; to force such comparisons would ignore the duty of context in historical analysis.

    Instead, historians’ basis for comparison will be what they would consider Bush’s contemporaries, or at least those presidents closer to his own era. This means historians will compare Bush to LBJ, not to Lincoln or Washington. They will compare the implementation, philosophy and decisions of LBJ in Vietnam and Bush in Iraq. They will, by default, compare Bush’s domestic policy with LBJ’s. Historians will compare Bush to Eisenhower. Not in terms of the potency of criticism endured by both from their opposition, but rather a comparative analysis of Eisenhower’s warnings about the ‘military industrial complex’ and the manifestation of such worries during the Bush administration’s enactment of the Iraq War.

    They will compare Bush to Nixon not in reference to whether criticism of the opposition was justified. Historians will not see the inability of Democrats to pursue impeachment or resignation of the former as proof that contemporary criticism of the Bush administration was unfounded. Rather, they will look at the Bush era as a means to dissect the relationship between the legislative, judicial and executive branches in regards to the history of balance of power and oversight in American democracy. It will be a means to compare Nixon and Bush, the difference of governmental function when opposing parties control areas of government with oversight, the danger of having a singular, blindly partisan party controlling all 3 branches of government and how the death of oversight leads to significant breeches in successful democracy.

    The Iraq War will not be compared to World War II, as you compare in a paragraph designed to elevate the ‘War on Terror’ to the concrete. A hundred years from now, such a politically motivated contextual bait and switch will be superfluous and absurd. Instead, historians in the future will compare the ‘War on Terror’ to the only other war on a word in this era: the ‘War on Drugs’. Despite their obvious differences, as the only two distinct ‘wars’ of this era that have no legitimate concrete enemy to destroy to signify the wars ‘end’, historians won’t be able to ignore the similarities and will often lump them together, and will likely lump together the impotency of any leader that attempted (and inevitably failed) to ‘win’ those ‘wars’. Historians will hold in low regard those American leaders that failed to define in concrete terms what ‘success’ in the war on drugs and the war on terror truly meant, unlike real wars that have discernible ends explicated by the leaders who undertook those wars, like Lincoln and FDR. Real wars with concrete enemies whose destruction signified the ‘end’ of that ‘war’, elements devoid in both the war on drugs and the war on terror.

    I respect your ingenuity in attempting to convey that you’re not committing the same error in judgment while committing that error in droves. By comparing Bush to the great leaders of America’s history, you commit the same foul you accuse partisans on the left of committing in reverse. You bestow greatness in Bush’s presidency while offering no evidence beyond the statement and the faint hope of an historical acquittal of your man. Instead of blindly criticizing from the “Sigma Six Model”, you are blindly whitewashing the Bush administration by comparing Bush to greatness without bolstering such claims with real content, assuming your core audience will accept that the content exists without actually presenting it.

    Nevertheless, I see the historian’s dilemma in dissecting the Bush administration a hundred years from now not a dissertation on the validity of the criticism of present-day peers, but rather an investigation of purpose, action and result. Historians will not see our era through the prism of the perceived incorrect assumptions of Bush’s enemies. Just like all contemporary criticism of those in power have been forgotten in historical context, no matter whether the political leanings of the enemies were Left or Right. Instead, historians will look at the Bush presidency as a string of lofty, idealistic utopian concepts implemented through wrongheaded policy, bad decisions and fallacious philosophy.

    Historians in 2100 will not care about the criticism of Bush’s peers. They will care about the end product of Bush’s actions and the direction it pointed our nation as a result. Save a dramatic and sweeping policy that changed America on par with the civil rights movement, superficial gains in economy or minor victories in domestic policy will be swept away with time as they have with all other American presidents that didn’t accomplish truly monumental, earth-shaking feats. Bush’s foreign policy record will only be of interest to historians if and only if the path and philosophy of this policy led to some great achievement in our history down the road. Since ‘terror’ can never be eradicated completely, just as drugs can never be eliminated entirely, Bush has by his own definition doomed himself to historical failure. As a result, I am certain Bush will be considered by these historians to be mediocre at best. Thanks for your time!

  13. 13
    brian Said:
    5:40 am 

    Hunka funk is a liberal, while claiming not to be a liberal. How clever! What a self assured tyrade about historians 100 years from now. Why is it that Bush must instead be compared to LBJ? Why so certain all of his policies are either insignificant or an outright failure? Hey, Reagan was mentioned without reminding everyone that he wasn’t so smart, and hated gays and blacks and the poor, and the Soviet Union just quit on their own. Thatcher and the Pope had no part either. Riiiight.

    Excellent article, I do agree that the Idealogical aspects of the GWOT do parrallel with WWII and the Cold War in some respects.

    Like Iraq today is somehow chiseled away from the GWOT by some, Vietnam being part of the larger Cold War against the USSR was denied endlessly by leftists as “Imperialism”. That was the change. No one said that “Germany didn’t bomb Pearl Harbor! U.S. out of Europe! North Africa has no connections to Pearl Harbor! U.S. out of Africa now! Arrest Tojo and let the ACLU defend him in the 9th circuit!” The threat was clear, and there wasn’t much room for debate. That doesn’t even start with intelligence intercepts. How would FDR have handled today’s WH press corps over Japanese internment, or listening in on ALL cable communication in and out of USA? You have a much better perspective than some on these events.

  14. 14
    Rick Moran Said:
    5:48 am 

    Funny how Mr. Hunkabunkum’s bandwidth eating screed appeared on that well-known moderate’s website Al Franken.

    I debated whether or not to delete the comment because I owe it to my readers not to intentionally put them to sleep. Next time, I’ll charge him by the word.

  15. 15
    Another Moran Said:
    10:14 am 

    Funny how Mr. Hunkabunkum’s bandwidth eating screed appeared on that well-known moderate’s website Al Franken.

    I debated whether or not to delete the comment because I owe it to my readers not to intentionally put them to sleep. Next time, I’ll charge him by the word.————————————————————
    How is that funny, looks like the guy tagged you pretty good and the best you can do is wonder why his post was on another board. What does that have to do with points of his post? Why don’t you comment on that instead of appearing to concede your point through meaningless insults?

  16. 16
    D-man Said:
    3:15 pm 

    From my perspective, hunkafunk’s post was loaded with insults directed at anyone who subscribes to a mindset other than his own, along with a heavy dose of conceit & condescension With that post as evidence, I’d have to say this guy is a self-obsessed, elitist jerk with a big bad superiority complex.

    He didn’t “tag” Rick at all; he didn’t even offer an original argument. All he did was critique the original opinion piece, just like a college professor would. And he did so by offering his own opinions as fact, which reflects the mindset of most liberals I have met. Conservatives have opinions, which are all wrong, but liberals have the truth; that’s why liberals are always morally superior to conservatives!

    If the guy wants an honest and serious reply, he should try writing an honest post, free of insults and indicative of an open mind.

  17. 17
    Hawkeye Said:
    4:14 pm 

    Re #12, I think hunkafunk told us pretty much what we need to know to evaluate his comment in these brilliant passages:

    ” . . . attempts of mainstream right-wing demagogues . . . right-wing mainstream figures like Michele Menkin, the strange woman . . .or Ann Coulter, the bizarre square jawed neocon attack dog . . . These are the rude partisan toadies . . . These are the lackeys of the established political machination . . .”

    I find it interesting that I don’t ever recall seeing a conservative critic of Coulter’s writing (and yes hunkafunk, they exist and are rather numerous) bring up her physical appearance. That only seems to be a target of those on the left. You know, the ones who are always railing about right wing sexism . . .

    I’m not sure who “Michele Menkin” is.

  18. 18
    SShiell Said:
    5:57 pm 

    Yo “Hunk”

    George McClellen was considered a shoo-in for the presidency in 1864. He was the “Hero” of Antietam, led the Army of the Potomac for a number of years and it was considered, at the time, to be the perfect opponent of the “Ogre” (Lincoln). The young Republican Party was saddled with an unpopular and expensive civil war, a universally despised president (even by his own cabinet), disaster after disaster in the first 2 years of the conflict and what appeared to be an unwinnable general election. And McClellan’s “ace in the hole” – the Army – they would be allowed to vote en masse for the first time in the Republic. An Army of almost a million men (remember – this was before women were allowed to vote).

    The results – the first “swift boating” in history. Even though the Army loved their “Little Mac”, they also recognized his position against the continuation of the War (The real Civil one) was the wrong. The Army voted for Lincoln in unbelievable numbers (the estimate of the day was in excess of 90%) forever repudiating Kerry (Oops, I mean McClellan), the Democrats, and their anti-war position.

    Before you project History 100 years from now and the coming condemnation of the present Commander-In-Chief, take a moment to read a little of your own history first!

    What a Buffoon!

  19. 19
    hunkafunk Said:
    8:33 pm 

    Well, glad to see you decided not to delete my post. The best it seems you have come up with is that my post was “long”. Next time I’ll remember to add a few more epithets or nasty generalizations, so you can more easily dismiss my valid criticism as a flame. It’s simpler that way, isn’t it?

    Oh, and the best refutation you could come up with was that I post on Alfrankenweb. Well, so do a lot of conservatives, libertarians and moderates. Which proves my point, you have no valid arguments, and must therefore dismiss any and all contrary arguments based on the biases of your readers. In other words all you could muster was “My readers don’t like this poster, they don’t like this website he posts on, so I’ll be able to ignore him simply by reminding people of this website my readers don’t like.”

    Here are a few snippets of the above responses, and translations from neocon to English.

    “Hunka funk is a liberal, while claiming not to be a liberal. How clever!”

    Translation: I didn’t actually read what hunkafunk wrote. Or perhaps I did, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to argue on the issues, so I had to find a way to make him look silly. Even though hunkafunk never claimed not to be a liberal, I’ll pretend he did. It makes it easier for me. Editor’s note: I stand by my original statement. I am “not your average liberal.”

    “What a self assured tyrade about historians 100 years from now.”

    Translation: Even though the original post hunkafunk responded to was a self assured tirade, I’ll pretend it doesn’t matter as long as I agree with it.

    “Why is it that Bush must instead be compared to LBJ? Why so certain all of his policies are either insignificant or an outright failure?”

    Translation: I’m afraid of opinions contrary to my own. Even though those opinions on speculating what hypothetical historians might think 100 years from now are no more or less valid than those of the original post. The difference? I agree with the original post.

    “Hey, Reagan was mentioned without reminding everyone that he wasn’t so smart, and hated gays and blacks and the poor, and the Soviet Union just quit on their own. Thatcher and the Pope had no part either. Riiiight.”

    Translation: Even though hunkafunk was talking specifically of the “Dragon Slayer” mythos so cherished by the right, I’ll pretend he said Reagan had NO Part in the USSR’s collapse. Why? It’s easier than arguing the premise he actually typed.

    “From my perspective, hunkafunk’s post was loaded with insults directed at anyone who subscribes to a mindset other than his own,”

    Translation: Any and all arguments contrary to my point of view are “insults”.

    “along with a heavy dose of conceit & condescension With that post as evidence, I’d have to say this guy is a self-obsessed, elitist jerk with a big bad superiority complex.”

    Translation: My armchair psychology is used as a crutch to avoid actually addressing any of the issues in his post. I could have picked any of them. No really, it was a long post. Stephen King rough draft long. Somebody call Random House, we need an editor with a hacksaw. And since hunkafunk likely has a big ego, all his arguments are moot, because nobody on the right with good points ever has an ego.

    “He didn’t “tag” Rick at all; he didn’t even offer an original argument.”

    Translation: The argument of the post hunkafunk responded to was so original. I mean, to argue that the political opposition has claimed an administration’s incompetence throughout their tenure. To argue that time will vindicate the Bush administration. NOBODY has argued that before. What singular ideas.

    “All he did was critique the original opinion piece, just like a college professor would.”

    Translation: Those disgusting, filthy liberal professors. How dare they critique? Could somebody please help me Google David Horowitz’ home phone?

    “And he did so by offering his own opinions as fact, which reflects the mindset of most liberals I have met.”

    Translation: An opinionated, confident opposing viewpoint is “offering opinion as fact”, wherein an opinionated viewpoint that I agree with is just “tellin’ it like it is” and “callin’ em’ as they see em’”.

    “Conservatives have opinions, which are all wrong, but liberals have the truth; that’s why liberals are always morally superior to conservatives!”

    Translation: Liberals have opinions, which are all wrong, but conservatives have the truth; that’s why conservatives are morally superior to liberals!

    “If the guy wants an honest and serious reply, he should try writing an honest post, free of insults and indicative of an open mind.”

    Translation: The only honest post this liberal scum could present would admit that he is a horrible person that has scatterbrained ideas, is a closet communist, beats his wife, hates America, sleeps with hundreds of men weekly, wants to take all our hard earned money and give it to welfare queens, does reconnaissance for Al Qaeda, doesn’t have one original thought, gets his talking points from Howard Dean, burns the flag every morning, watches Brokeback Mountain in a never-ending loop, thinks he’s superior to all those ign’ant rednecks, wants to confiscate my guns, kills babies in back alley abortions on young teens without parental permission for free. That would be the only honest post we could hope from this idiot.

    “Re #12, I think hunkafunk told us pretty much what we need to know to evaluate his comment in these brilliant passages:
    ” . . . attempts of mainstream right-wing demagogues . . . right-wing mainstream figures like Michele Menkin, …“

    Translation: Again, I have no real arguments, so I must resort to the “He mistyped MALKIN!” Since he misspelled one word I can therefore discard his opinion. Except if I agreed with it, in which case such superficial errors are ignored. As Margaret Thatcher once said something along the lines of, “I like it when my opponents resort to nitpicking and name-calling. It means they have no valid arguments left.” Editor’s note: funny how when I read back my post I knew that the grammar police were going to use that as an excuse to avoid addressing me in real debate. It’s up on that nasty frankenboard you guys are so afraid of (yet visit, since somebody found me there!)

    “I find it interesting that I don’t ever recall seeing a conservative critic of Coulter’s writing (and yes hunkafunk, they exist and are rather numerous) bring up her physical appearance. That only seems to be a target of those on the left.”

    Translation: Pointing out somebody has a square jaw is an insult. Why? Because I have to find a way to prove the mythology that those on the left are a bunch of closet chauvinists. This, of course, does nothing to prove that the right isn’t that either, but it sure does make me feel good. Editor’s note: I stand by my statement. Coulter does have a square jaw, it is a fact. May I recommend you peruse the sexy square jawed females here- – then get back to me on any assumptions you might have had.

    “The young Republican Party was saddled with an unpopular and expensive civil war, a universally despised president (even by his own cabinet), disaster after disaster in the first 2 years of the conflict and what appeared to be an unwinnable general election.”…..

    Translation: Ignoring completely the entire purpose and point of the post I am purporting to refute, I will continue to attempt to compare the Bush administration to the noble administrations of the past in order to justify the actions of the present. By generalizing that the Civil War and the Iraq War were “unpopular”, ignoring any sort of historical context, exigent elements, intrinsic circumstances, mitigating factors, or realistic analysis of any sort, I can conflate the two wars as though they were interchangeable. As a result co-opt any and every positive nuance, notable exception or helpful tidbit I find useful and spin it to rehabilitate the damaged goods of the president I must now defend.
    Instead of actually delineating the similarities between the administrations that would make such arguments palpable and realistic, I will depend on the fact that 97% of the readers here will take my comparison as a given, nullifying my need to have any relevant facts on my side. Yet in the end, I will fail miserably, because although I lace my post with all sorts of lovely factoids that make it obvious I once scanned a civil war website or two, I have no real content.

    “What a Buffoon!”

    Translation: Only the left insult, so this was just an honest observation of what hunkafunk truly must be.

    I’ve enjoyed my time here. Thank you for unconsciously proving the crux of my original post. Thanks to all. And I look forward to seeing you at the polls in November!

  20. 20
    Michael L. Cook Said:
    3:47 am 

    Reagan defeated communism and Dubya is whipping up on Islamo-terrorism by attacking the thugs where they can be found, not where resentful leftist Americans give him permission to find them. I myself was a little upset at the Katrina response, but I was more appalled at the total inability of the welfare class to self-organize and police their own surroundings at the Superdome and the Convention Center. I will believe to my dying day that a random sampling of Japanese or German citizens thrown into those environments would have spontaneously organized sweeping brigades for the floors and bucket brigades or alternative latrines to deal with the
    toilet problems. They would have helped the authorities to make the situation better. Of course, they would have had better local authorities to start with.

  21. 21
    Shaw Said:
    8:18 am 

    Valerie Plame, Christine Keeler to Condi Rice?

  22. 22
    SShiell Said:
    11:23 am 

    Reference Post #19 – Start Charging! According to MS Word, it is 1,499 words.

    And I would like to apologize – to all the Buffoons of the world. To have me associate “hunk” with you is indeed insulting.

  23. 23
    hunkafunk Said:
    8:20 pm 

    “Reference Post #19 – Start Charging! According to MS Word, it is 1,499 words.”

    Good idea: charging for free speech. Fits right in with the other neocon ideas I’ve read on this blog. Besides, how could you trust a product made by Bill Gates, that Leftist jerk who gives twice as much in campaign contributions to Democrats, gave $35,000 to support gun control, $80,000 to fight a rollback in state taxes, donates vast sums money to nutty art museums, millions to improve libraries. The guy’s obviously a liberal nutcase. He golfed with Clinton, for God’s sake!

    “And I would like to apologize – to all the Buffoons of the world. To have me associate “hunk” with you is indeed insulting.”

    Awww, come on. You could have come up with something better than a hack joke rehashed again. At least use a good quote, maybe Groucho Marx:

    “He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don’t let that fool you. He really is an idiot.”

    or maybe:

    “You’ve got the brain of a four year old. I’ll bet he was glad to be rid of it.”

    But then that would lead you to search for Groucho talking political, and you’d end up with:

    “In America you can go on the air and kid the politicians, and the politicians can go on the air and kid the people.”

    And then wonder what Groucho thought of the two parties in America:

    “All people are born alike – except Republicans and Democrats.”

    Wow, this again has been an invigorating exchange of interesting ideas. Good to know the best and brightest of your political kind can only muster a jab at length and an empty insult. Thanks again for unconsciously proving the crux of my posts. I look forward to seeing you at the polls in November!

  24. 24
    babaram Said:
    10:30 am 

    3rd generation union construction worker here w/ opinion. The reason for the defence of G.W. is that SOME people’s stock and trade are lies and insults.,doom and gloomers,thumbsuckers, deadenders etc. The reasons Iagree w/ the President are summed up nicely in your article. As for history, that’s why we must come out now and remind people of how events unfolded in the past 5 yrs. I’m sure history will judge G.W. as a truly great president. It reminds me of Reagan/ with ALL the’smart’ people telling us he was gonna start ww3 etc. Yes, I remember the marches in Europe over our deployment of missles, the UNRELENTING assault by the media whores. I also remember the wall coming down and thinking ‘geez, whatta ya know, Reagan was right!’ So all you libs can piss and moan while G.W. takes it to ‘em, and I’ll see ya on the other side, reading your twisted version of history, your pathetic excuse[ or more accurately your silence] That’s the problem w/ Reagan, those wholived thru it see the brazen manipulations that you lefties tried. It didn,t work then and it ain’t a gonna work now. I’d be more interested to see in 100 yrs. what,s gonna be said about the left and the treasonous democrats. You can’t twist reality any more libs/ get used to it. A couple other points-verona transcripts-look it up- war on poverty!- and since we’re talkin George Bush 1984 blues- what is a hate crime- no, rally stand in front of a mirror and say hate crime- if you laugh-you’re on the road to recovery. See ya’ at the polls PAL

  25. 25
    hunkafunk Said:
    4:10 pm 

    “The reason for the defence of G.W. is that SOME people’s stock and trade are lies and insults.,doom and gloomers,thumbsuckers, deadenders etc.”

    I’ll refer you to my original post and description of the above phenomenon: how the right attempts to muddle and obscure by claiming the opposition is guilty of the very thing they are guilty of, integrity and honesty be damned, all in the name of the “cause”. I know that those here will accept that what progressives, liberals and Democrats say are “lies and insults”, that any analysis that isn’t utopian in favor of the decisions of the Bush administration is “doom and gloom”, that those who dare bring up easily preventable policy blunders are “thumbsuckers”. You don’t have to provide anything other than a wink and a nudge and they’ll all jump on the bandwagon like groupies backstage at a Motley Crue concert. History is a tougher crowd, the bleating from the herd on this website and others is testament to that. There’s a whole lot of wishful thinking, a lot of pseudo-analytical cheerleading, a lot of sycophantic hero worship poorly disguised as intellectual editorializing. There’s a lot of empty comparison to epic moments and leadership of America’s past, but little content beyond the usual vacant rhetoric that those who agree will gobble up and those who disagree will dismiss as pipedreams of the converted. That’s all good and well, but to claim that the content is more, that somehow there’s cogent thought and incontrovertible dialectics going on here is beyond ludicrous. You can go on hoping the Malkins and Coulters of your mainstream thought will continue to bludgeon honest historicity and sully it with ugly half-truths that fit better with your philosophy, a philosophy that even neocon founding father Francis Fukuyuma has declared dead and a failure. Keep plugging away with your retroactive revisionist rhetoric all the while claiming that, no, it’s the other side that is revisionist, yeah, that’s the ticket. I’m sure there will be active little pockets of you in alcoves of the internet like this long after neoconservativism is a relic at the bottom of the garbage bin, whining and moaning daily about what some Democratic Congressman said about this, and what left-wing blogger said about that, and how you’re right and they’re wrong and how if only the world would just look at what was accomplished instead of being influenced by the knee-jerk propaganda of the “liberal” media, everything would be just fine. And you’ll wake up 35 years from now to a better world, but one not of your making but rather the making of your opposition, and so instinctually you’ll consider it evil by nature and work tirelessly to bring it down, talk negatively about it endlessly, and work force its decay from the inside out. You’ll be miserable. You’ll be a “victim” in your mind. And you’ll live out your remaining days embittered and fuming, not understanding where things went wrong. I do look forward to seeing you at the polls, buddy. Hopefully your computer screen be calibrated incorrectly, have to wait 7 hours in line to vote, or be forced to use a Diebold machine without a paper trail. Good luck!

  26. 26
    babaram Said:
    6:38 pm 

    pathetic- ive lived thru your lies-you think im cheerleading? bully for you/ i only pay attention cuz you wont go away/ you’re easily bought/ a couple of pulitzers/a peabody award/ a trip to davos/please go away-we’re not buying it this time-going to someones funeral to insult the president-going to a foreign country to lecture me-thats class- sorry-not this time- you wont print the danish cartoons but you’ll slander Mary- you don’t think im paying attention? Diebold!-i’m more concerned w/people who’ll cut my head off. Too bad our intelligence is no good thanks to the Church commission-yeah- ive had one eye on you weasels-you’re tricky.where’s the half truth here-we are at war. Diebold! pathetic!

  27. 27
    booboo Said:
    8:54 pm 

    What a diorganized rant, barbaram. Can’t you come up with something better than to tell hunkawonk to go away and whine somewhere else.

    Diebold? Are you so afraid of “people that will cut my head off” that you’ll give up verifying that your vote is counted correctly? You must be kidding, barbaram. why wouldn’t you be concerned that diebold refuses to give a paper trail?

    That’s the problem with conservative neocons. They’re so full of fear that they’re willing to give up their liberties. It’s a treasonous line of thinking if i’ve ever heard one. You didn’t hear Patrick Henry shouting “give me liberty, but make sure nobody cuts off my head.”

  28. 28
    hunkafunk Said:
    10:42 pm 

    There isn’t much else for me to add; without realizing it, I think barbaram made a good case for me. Our government shouldn’t be controlled by those trying to appeal to those who are overwhelmed by such slapdash, disjointed thought processes and bizarrely misplaced paranoia.

    God forbid this were to happen. But to put it in perspective, if there had been tragedies similar to 9/11 every single month in the United States for the entire year, you STILL would be more likely to die in a car accident than at the hands of a terrorist. Talk up all the ‘doomsday scenarios’ and ‘dire consequences’ you want. You’re much more likely to have your ‘head chopped off’ by a drunk in a Camero than by some terrorist sleeper cell. Do you support a Patriot Act granting the U.S. government right to confiscate your car today without going through the conventional legal channels? I’d suspect not.

    But you shouldn’t be so fearful, right? Especially with Bush keeping us “safe”. Or do you have so little faith in Bush’s policies that every day after work you must cringe in fear in the fetal position every day while wearing a kevlar suit, sucking your thumb behind bullet proof glass in your bomb shelter three stories underground? I refuse to have my nation’s foreign and domestic policy run by people who base their every move on the exploitation of fear to expand the scope and power of the federal government while consolidating their own power within that government. See you at the polls in November!

  29. 29
    SShiell Said:
    9:42 am 

    Hunk, you’ve made a good point. Security has risen to the top and fear is driving it. I agree with you. And you’re right; a 9/11 a month still does not equal the mayhem that occurs on our highways, as an example. But no matter how many car accidents you witness, how many gruesome examples of highway carnage you relate, none of them will be seared on the American psyche like that of airliners crashing into the twin towers. And the fear generated by this scene is not the thought of a repeat but what could be, as Clancy wrote of recently, “The Sum of All Fears” or a similar type occurrence. Do our enemies have the wherewithal to do something like that? It is debatable. If they had the wherewithal, would they do it? And this is the answer that generates the fear – YES. I am a retired military veteran of 24 years service and it has my utmost attention. And the reason for their hatred, their anger, their desire to bring harm to us? You can talk all day about our support of Israel, or this or that. What generates their desire to hurt us is the very freedoms we live under. Think of that for a moment. The freedoms that we take for granted is the cause for their hatred of us. If that does not generate fear, I cannot think of many things that could top it.

    You state “I refuse to have my nation’s foreign and domestic policy run by people who base their every move on the exploitation of fear . . .” I agree with you that their motives are fear. And if I were in Bush’s shoes I would be greatly feared too – of another occurrence of 9/11 or an even worse one. I believe the Bush administration is trying to do the right thing. I may be wrong but I do not believe there is a cold blooded effort on his part to profit from fear. You disagree? Fine, but that does not make you wrong nor me right – and nor will the polls of this or any other November prove the rightness or wrongness of either position.

    You study history in order to learn from it. Simply said but not so simply done. You can try to equate today’s situation with another one from history and you will still not find a pure correlation. The article Rick presented, from The American Thinker, was one way to approach it from a historical perspective. Was it all inclusive? No. But was it wrong? You got your opinion, so do I. See Ya!

  30. 30
    hunkafunk Said:
    4:37 pm 

    Hey SShiell, thanks for your level headed and interesting response to my posts. I appreciate that there are some people on the board that understand what a respectful approach to a discussion actually is.

    “I agree with you that their motives are fear. And if I were in Bush’s shoes I would be greatly feared too – of another occurrence of 9/11 or an even worse one.”

    I don’t think Bush is fearful of another terrorist attack and therefore acts accordingly out of pure necessity. Although this may be one element, more importantly to me is that I see Bush using this displaced fear as a means to build momentum in the populace for unrelated agendas.

    There was an unending and immediate fear of instant nuclear annihilation of all civilization for 50 years in the last half of the 20th century. It could be argued that the danger of assured mutual destruction from our enemies in that time was more immediate and deadlier than any potential terrorist threat today. Yet during the Cold War, those in charge of the government rarely used fear as an everyday impetus to pursue unrelated agendas in regards to their political parameters, which is what I’ve seen done in this administration.

    In my view, Bush and those who have molded his administration have misused their position in history to corrode essential elements of American government, blurring the lines of the three branches and unnecessarily bloating government and expanding executive power in ways that don’t really help fight terrorism (or any enemy for that matter).

    Whether or not this was done in the name of ‘protecting’ me, doesn’t matter to me. A parent can protect me from the dangers of the world by locking me in the basement, but that doesn’t make it the correct move. Likewise, the decisions of the Bush administration may have been “in the name” of protection, but that doesn’t mean they are always correct, simply because they were done “in that name”.
    And the Congress’ kow-towing has been even worse. Whether you agree with the legislation that has been pursued abusing fear of terror as an impetus to stymie dissent is beside the point. Massaging mass fear into the populace in order to keep them submissive and porous for the rest of your agenda is an abuse of power any way you cut it.

    Kennedy didn’t exploit the missile crisis in Cuba to scare the American populace in order to pursue civil rights legislation or increase the power of unions. “Today’s Cuban Nuclear Threat Level is Code Orange. Americans should be fearful for their very lives yet stay the course in fighting the Godless Commies that want to kill you. Oh, and I need to pass this transportation bill.” Truman tried to take over the steel mills and was shot down- that was in an era where oversight meant something, when our government was still functioning as a democracy of checks and balances. It speaks to the limits of the presidency, and how Congress shouldn’t act as a rubber stamp for the wants of a particular administration, even one that may parallel much of their own agenda, ESPECIALLY during wartime.

    I’m not afraid of terrorists. I AM afraid that I may wake up one day in a democratic dictatorship, rather than a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. I’m more afraid of that than any hypothetical terrorist attack.

    As you describe correctly, you have your opinion and I have mine. I respect that. Many, especially those in power, do not, and show this daily through their statements and actions. My concern is, as Edward Murrow said, we must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. My experience, day in and day out for 5 years now has been to endure a barrage of constant slandering, smearing, unwarranted insults from those on the right and those in power. To be called a traitor by those on the right-wing, the party that has control of most of our government, its agenda and its actions, all simply because I hold a different viewpoint, or vocally disagree with the powers that be, or dare to uphold the Constitution unconditionally, or differ in approach to foreign and domestic policy…that’s unprecedented in America since Murrow’s time. And it’s horribly disconcerting to be occurring here, in the land of the free. It means those in control may not fully understand what makes America distinct: these inalienable rights.

    I have heard many an argument that tries desperately to claim because I’m vocally and constantly critical of the Bush foreign policy that this is egregious in and of itself; that somehow the terrorists win because I dare to use the very freedom the terrorists supposedly hate. I actually agree with Bush. I think terrorism is bad. I think we should protect ourselves from it. I think civil liberties are important. When he condescends in his press conferences, insisting against an imaginary opposition that we must be vigilant, as though we didn’t agree with him, I still agree we must be vigilant.

    But I also think respecting the Constitution and the written law is imperative and non-negotiable. So just because I don’t agree with the WAY Bush is trying to protect us, doesn’t mean I don’t want America protected, doesn’t mean I hate America, doesn’t mean I’m a commie, doesn’t mean I’m with the terrorists. This kind of sycophantic accusation has been rampant and concerns me. I can agree with the idea that terrorism is a threat to Americans, yet disagree with the major tenets of how Bush is going about combating that threat without being a traitor. In fact, Teddy Roosevelt might think I was a consummate patriot, as he constantly harped on Woodrow Wilson for his actions in World War I.

    Bush apologists regularly try to frame the conversation this dishonest manner. Scott McClellan most recently perpetrated it when, after both Democrats and Republicans voiced disapproval of Bush trying to ignore FISA, that insisting on judicial oversight of the executive branch’s actions was tantamount to Democrats arguing “that we shouldn’t be listening to Al Qaeda communications.” Such a statement is absurd. It’s that kind of bald-faced dishonesty in the forum that makes it impossible to have a coherent discussion with anyone, for the most fundamental elements of the conservative rhetoric is from a foundation of dishonesty.

    As far as correlating today with bygone eras- It’s just sad when the need to justify the actions of today’s administration can’t be found within is a false analogy with the sole purpose of either stroking the comfort level of supporters or the anger of dissenters. Comparing Bush to Lincoln and the Iraq War to the Civil War is just as false as comparing Bush to Hitler and the Iraq War to World War II. The differences are stark, and any comparison is politically motivated, not analytically. My entire point throughout all of this is that political diatribes such as the ones on this site are perfectly fine, so long as they’re seen for what they are: politically motivated opinions. They are not articulate, well-reasoned, well-rounded, incontrovertible analysis. And whether you believe me or believe someone else, you are a true patriot if you understand that.

  31. 31
    babaram Said:
    6:50 pm 

    you’re right/ i’m wrong but to say kennedy didn’t use the missile crisis to pass…i wasn’t there-hindsight is beautiful-i just don’t understand the reflexive No! to the bushbots ‘plan’. he speaks english-i understand what he’s saying- i see the honor killings/ acid facewash/murdering a film maker in the streets in broad daylight-wheres it going? i’m scared-i’ll cast my lot with the man with the bullhorn- i hear you-the world hears you/blah blah/don’t misunderestimate the people-i read history- i understand what this country’s capabilities are- i also read what my enemy say- i do understand english- i saw beslan[what they showed] the dc snipers/ the unc attack/ricky reid/munich 72/ war-what is it good for? business? if it’s truly global i don’t want to be dealing with someone who’s religion tells them a contract with an infidel don’t mean squat/paranoid/yeah- but when the hurt comes guess who im blamin/what’s your plan? talk? the un’s doing a hellavu job w/ iran/ for crying out loud-europes giving up their free speech- i’m scared/sure/ aren’t you? why not and what’s your plan? iran did say they’d wipe israel off the map- i’ll take them at their word/ bin l el said kill 4 million americans/ i’ll take him at his word- sure/ put me in a box/ i’m comfortable w/ that-peg me for your bias’/ i can live w/ that- but may the lord forgive you if we get hit-cuz a lot of people will demand a response that will not be pretty-all i’ve heard from your side is NO/i’m sure you’ll blame me/ comparisons to history are irrelevant-it depends on your argument/ how you frame the question-wwII-we had a common enemy[do we now?] fdr had internment camps[do we now?]did we do the right thing then? will we do it now?awww-fiddlesticks-the 60’s screwed everything-rouss-O/de-construct/moral relativist/i got the taling points/ just give me my daddy w/ his bullhorn/sorry bout diebold/ everytime i say voter id i get called a racist and…words hurt

  32. 32
    mjoeg Said:
    10:34 pm 

    Are you rapping? I don’t understand a damn thing you write.

  33. 33
    hunkafunk Said:
    3:43 pm 

    I’m not sure what babaram is doing, but he’s certainly not providing a cogent defense of his, or anyone’s, views.

    This will be the shortest post in the history of my submitting here. Rejoice!

    And I’ll see you all at the polls in November.

  34. 34
    mjoeg Said:
    5:53 pm 

    If religion is the opiate of the masses, legacy is the opiate of failing politicians.

  35. 35
    Jack Sigil Said:
    7:41 pm 

    Why don’t you discuss US military incompetence/
    there is much evidence that most of our generals are incompetent warfighters. has published 8 current books dealing with US military incompetence and 22 books dealing with CIA and US Military Intelligence incompetence. If you want to understand the state of imcompetence in this nation, you should read some of those books.
    There is also nothing available elsewhere except a few silly treatises.
    Or are you adverse to even discussing the incompetence of US generals?

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