Job Search Update: After much soul-searching and careful reflection, I have decided to decline the position offered me by Pajamas Media. When all is said and done, I just can’t bring myself to leave our wonderful World o’ Crap family. Also, during my interview, Roger L. Simon demanded to know if I was “in the closet,” then asked to see my plumber’s snake, and finally informed me that my duties would include the maintenance of his ball-cock.
But we have more important things to consider, with a mere ten days remaining to the Bush Administration. The clock is ticking, the hagiographies and autopsies are being hastily cut-n’-pasted, but as both First Lady Laura Bush and her scheming, Eve Harrington-like understudy, Condoleeza Rice have recently stated, only History is qualified to judge George W. Bush. And no doubt Bush, a philosophical man, is content to leave the final word to the future, for while History can render a verdict, it can’t actually follow that up by sentencing him to Leavenworth for war crimes and aggravated asshattery.
Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for History to conclude its deliberations — not as long as Townhall columnist Ross (“[A]pplies the lens of historical significance to today’s headlines in his weekly nationally syndicated column”) Mackenzie is on the job.
Before we begin, I’d just like to mention that Ross’s grimacing headshot always reminds of a line from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode, Revenge of the Creature:
Never let the smile touch your eyes. That’s the rule with John Agar.
The left and the media and the ever-expanding blogosphere, and of course the Democrats, never permitted George Bush to recover from the circumstances of his 2000 election.
Congressional Democrats abused the power of their minority status to bully Bush from the very beginning. Who can forget those poignant tales of the First Hundred Days, when Bush took to his bed, a helpless invalid like Woodrow Wilson, while Dick Cheney fretted over the President, spoon-feeding him laudanum and applying hot compresses to his feet and bowels, never leaving Bush’s side, except briefly, to shave, don a fresh collar, and order a civilian jetliner shot down. Only rarely was the President glimpsed, from a distance, as he sat in the Rose Garden, swaddled in a traveling cloak and a lap rug, turning his squinting face toward the weak rays of the late winter sun. Damn those Democrats for kicking a man when he’s down!
Yet from Social Security and judges to the surge and terror and continuation of the tax cuts, malign leftists dug in and sought to foil him on every front — to deny him any victory, any success, anywhere.
Well, apparently that part of our plan worked out nicely.
“Malign” is too harsh? Consider:
Television, blogospheric, and newspaper commentaries slammed President Bush 24/7. Nicholson Baker wrote “Checkpoint,” whose protagonists weigh whether to assassinate him. Twelve thousand San Franciscans signed a petition to rename an Oceanside sewage plant for him.
That does seem unfair, when Clinton only had to put up with impeachment. And it’s certainly true that Nicholson Baker put George W. Bush’s life in danger by writing about a psychotic day laborer who wants to kill the president using “depleted uranium boulders, flying radio-controlled CD saws, homing bullets trained to target the victim by being ‘marinated’ in a tin with a picture of the president, and hypnotized Manchurian scorpions.” The threat of a copy-cat killer inspired by these methods is clearly something to be taken seriously, which probably explains why the Secret Service has been keeping Rube Goldberg under surveillance.
But I don’t think one can simply pigeonhole Baker as a purveyor of liberal agit-prop, since he also wrote Vox, a book-length phone sex call which even Bill O’Reilly admits changed his life.
Hollywood went apoplectic, with Oliver Stone — director of the detestable October-released flick “W” — declaring: “We are a poorer and less secure nation for having elected (Bush) as our president. . . . America finds itself fighting unnecessary and costly wars and engaging in dangerous and counterproductive efforts to fight extremism. Even more significant and troubling, I believe, is his legacy of immorality.”
It’s a sad day for invective when Oliver Stone sounds muted and magisterial in his remarks. I don’t want to come off like Norma Desmond bemoaning the Talkies, but remember the 90s, when Hillary Clinton was a lesbian Lady Macbeth who murdered her male lover in a public park, and Bill was a homicidal serial rapist who ran the northern hemisphere’s largest cocaine cartel out of the Arkansas Governor’s mansion? In those days, we had apoplexy!
Despite this vicious stream, George Bush persevered and prevailed. 9/11 changed him.
That’s good. Because if ever I’ve seen a look on a man’s face that says, “I think I’ve just soiled myself…”
Mistakes abounded, but no subsequent domestic jihadist strike ensued. As he noted at the Army War College last month, this staggering security success was “not a matter of luck.”
It was a matter of dumb luck. Give the dumb it’s due.
The enterprise in Iraq…
Wait, it’s not even a war now, it’s an investment opportunity? And you didn’t tip me off to the IPO, even after I sent away for the free prospectus?!
…following the surge, now approaches victory –
Much the way Tom Ewell approached Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch.
Barack Obama repeatedly pronounced Iraq a distraction and — from beginning to end — a mistake. Yet a resolute Bush was true to his values, to his nation, and to mankind’s ultimate cause.
Which is, apparently, to barge into some distant country uninvited and shower billions of dollars on a small group of its inhabitants for the privilege of killing a large group of other inhabitants. Basically, Bush has sent the entire U.S. military to The Most Dangerous Game Fantasy Camp. And while I, personally, would not have suggested that this was the ultimate purpose of mankind, who am I to argue with Intelligent Design?
Last month he told The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel that liberty can be extended beyond Iraq as long as America continues to believe “in the universality of freedom.”
And peanut butter.
His early tax cuts helped the country out of the recession Bill Clinton left him. The budget exploded, as did deficits — largely a result of expanded defense spending for the war on terror. (Said Bush in the Strassel interview: “I refused to compromise on the military” — for which thank heaven, given that the first obligation of every administration is the people’s protection.)
Bush was correct about Social Security, despite a spineless, risk-averse Congress unwilling to get its game together. While vastly more nominations would have been better, he managed against obstructionist Senate Democrats to gain approval of 61 federal appellate judges (compare Clinton’s 65), now constituting majorities on 10 of the 13 appellate courts. And he gave us the estimable Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito.
Now, I realize every single sentence above is flatly contradicted by any rational interpretation of the present circumstances, but remember — this isn’t Ross talking — it’s History! From the future! And thousands of years from now, when we’ve all grown a sixth digit and developed a huge, lightbulb-shaped cranium like David McCallum in The Outer Limits, our ancestors will look back on 2009 and pity our primitive, microcephalic, five-fingered ways, and our inability to foresee that in a universe of 23 orthogonal branes, George W. Bush is actually the shit.
Yes, spending blew out of control — albeit with congressional concurrence. Problems plagued the war’s conduct in Iraq. Post-Katrina New Orleans was mishandled.
Passive voices ran wild through our online essays. It was nuts.
Still, Bush can boast hefty tax cuts, major assistance for HIV-infected areas of Africa, significant gains in health care and in education accountability, a multi-ethnic Cabinet (including the first two African-American secretaries of state), and massive improvements from surveillance to strategic policy.
Not to diminish George Bush’s pioneering advances in the field of civil rights, but do you still get to take credit for the first two African-American secretaries of State when one of them hates you and voted for the other party’s candidate?
Yet Bush carried two added burdens: (1) difficulty in articulating his goals and (2) relentless hammering by leftists hostile to his values and his success.
Hey, wait, you said we denied him “any victory, any success anywhere.” No take-backs!
Then, perceiving him harmful to the Republican brand, many conservatives abandoned him as well.
Because he was so successful.
George Bush a perfect president? Hardly. The worst president of the past half-century, as too many with ideological axes to grind would have us believe? Compare, oh, Carter and Clinton. A more prudent categorization: The most consequential president since Reagan.
As witnessed by the fact that we are indeed facing some serious consequences. You and your sidekick History have trumped me, sir.