As some of you know, I've been interested in earning a spot on the American Thinker blog. Visually speaking, the site is reminiscent of something you'd expect to see coming from the Soviet Union if they'd had the Internet back then, but what AT lacks in style, it makes up for in cogent commentary.
The reason I'm pointing that out is because the other day, I was surprised to read a piece by John Lewis defending President Bush., for whom there is no defense, and I was doubly troubled after reading it because it was anything but cogent in my estimation, so being irritated, I wrote a response… which I then spiked for two reasons:
1) The people who commented on the Lewis piece reminded me of America c2c in that they saw Bush accomplishments where there were none, and they were quite willing to vociferously defend the guy who sold them out, and…
2) I felt that writing a rebuttal to a commentary that would be anything but kind to one of American Thinker's mainstay personalities would not be a great way to endear myself to the organization.
So I'm posting that response here, and I should note that AT did post a negative assessment of Bush subsequent to the Lewis piece, but it was directly addressing what Mr. Lewis had said, and while it did get the kind of knee-jerk response I'd expect from conservatives now, I was surprised at how many people see Bush the way I do – as weak, as a bad guy, and as a traitor to country, party, and… well, I can't say he's a traitor to conservative ideology, since he has never been accused of being a conservative. So then why do conservatives defend someone who is not one of them and who has sold them out so completely that they may never recover?
With that, here's what I wrote…
As conservatives, we seem to easily recognize when liberals are being irrational in their criticisms and assessments of George Bush. After all, it has become part of their essence to be irrational and unreasonable. But many on the right seem incapable of doing a cold, hard, objective assessment of the President in terms of how he stacks up against conservative values and ideals, as well as what he's delivered in terms of furthering both, and they continue to attribute and impute qualities in Mr. Bush for which there is little or no evidence that he actually possesses them.
I had hoped John Lewis's commentary might provide insight as to why I should support a President who has turned his back on conservatives and their principles and in the process, I hoped to gain some understanding as to why so many conservatives still support him. Instead, what I read was a general, emotional, and virtually fact-free plea which was nothing more than a compilation of value judgments that conservatives employ when preaching to the choir. What made it so disappointing was that conservatives will have to discard these rose-colored glasses if they ever again hope to see their ideology ascending.
There is no doubt that conservative principles – and only conservative principles – can get America back on track, but conservatives have to stop making excuses when they are ignored by their own representatives, for it's not just the principles that matter, to borrow from a tired election slogan, it's the backbone, stupid. Conservatives have not only had none when it counted, they also seem to prefer not even dealing with the uncomfortable issues that ultimately determine their own success or failure. Bush's facilitation of socialism doesn't seem to trouble them much, but when an atheist puts a poster next to a Christmas display in Washington State, then they're furious.
I was teary-eyed when the Supreme Court blocked Al Gore's attempt to steal the election, I was proud and reassured when Bush stood tall in the wake of 9/11 and told the countries of the world that they were either with us or against us, and I even speculated about where they would locate his likeness on Mount Rushmore at the height of his early success in Iraq, but I did all this amidst early signs of trouble.
One was that prior to us being attacked, Bush had big plans for amnesty for illegal aliens, and they would have been implemented long ago had the towers not fallen. Then, even as we were rolling into Baghdad, there were signs that we were not prosecuting the war all-out – that as in Vietnam, we were pulling punches, and the biggest eye-opener was when we let Iraqis throw down arms and run away. Did we assume they'd been converted?
And we didn't actually let them run away, we simply didn't have the manpower to stop them. Then, as the insurgency took form and al Qaeda moved in, we, and by "we" I mean he, George Bush, seemed almost oblivious to what was happening, and it took the disaster in Fallujah to wake him up – but only for a while, because let's remember, for all the credit conservatives want to lavish on the President for the surge, it wasn't his idea. He was virtually forced to do it by people like McCain and by poor election results. It was either that of give the liberals what they wanted – defeat.
As this was happening internationally, at home Bush not only refused to follow his oath and enforce the border, but he openly derided critics who demanded he do so, and all this reached its nadir with the subsequent conviction of Ramon and Compean – and Bush's steadfastness in refusing to consider a pardon. Even if he grants one now, it's too late, even though it will relieve the agents and their families of suffering. As a headline On WorldNetDaily so aptly put it, Bush pardoned drug dealers while allowing the Border Patrol agents to rot, and this must have a devastating effect on the morale of those doing the thankless job of patrolling our borders.
When conservatives attempt to defend Bush, their big fall-back line is that "he kept us safe," but there are two big problems they don't apparently want to account for:
1) He didn't keep us safe. Unless you think his term started on Sept. 12, 2001? At best, he kept us safe after the biggest attack ever, and he has not only not kept us safe from financial disaster, he's contributed greatly to it. Then…
2) Keeping us safe is his job. If you do your job, you don't get praised for it, you simply get to keep it. People get praise and rewards for doing things over and above their duties. So one could argue that Bill Clinton did his job properly, but not doing one's job is a reason to criticize him, and possibly reason for one to lose his job… and Bush hasn't done his job, and he especially hasn't done his job in accordance with conservative tenets.
Which is why I wonder how it is that conservatives cannot bring themselves to criticize Bush for his many enormous failures that have resulted in McCain-Feingold, open borders, financial chaos, Republicans losing Congress and conservatives losing their bearings? Do they not realize that it's Bush himself who is mainly responsible for Democrat majorities and now, a Democrat President? Or do they still think that, for example, John McCain is responsible for McCain-Feingold?
The worst part is that the longer it takes for conservatives to face facts, the worse off we'll be, and the longer any possible recovery will take. Because right now, despite the way some see it, there is not a single conservative leader in the wings – not Palin, not Jindal, no one. People like Goldwater and Reagan were not shy about standing up and forcefully advocating conservative principles. Sarah Palin has come close, but when push came to shove, she was depressingly weak.
And your average conservative is weaker still. He not only can't find the courage to call a spade a spade, he seems to lack the ability to distinguish fact from fantasy. Conservatives can't figure out what's important and what's not – who's with them and who's against them.
Which reminds me, what do you call a President does his job with one armed tied behind his back and who's become the biggest socialist ever? That's right, Lefty.