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Bush . . . in a Cakewalk
Headlines abound questioning whether George W. Bush will be able to avoid the mistakes his father made in seeking re-election. Given the gravity with which these predictions are uttered, I have to think that the liberal media are envisioning some sort of karmic sins-of-the-father debacle that will seal the fate of those damned imperialistic, God-fearing, do-gooder Republican conservatives once and for all.
The nerve of President Bush! seems to be the prevailing sentiment. First he appoints a 70-year-old cock-of-the-walk Defense Secretary who has the temerity to fight with the Joint Chiefs of Staff about how to reform the U.S. military into a fighting force capable of supporting America's interests in what is indisputably not your father's world any more. Then he proceeds to respond after 9/11 with high nerve and mettle to a devastating terrorist insult to the country whose Chief Executive he has recently been elected.
With the help of his Defense Secretary and his military advisors, he mounts and wins decisively, and with unimaginably few American military and enemy civilian casualties, two armed conflicts, in both of which he makes a mockery of the whining and bitching of left-leaning print and broadcast journalists who, with their tremendous numerical and logistical superiority, mobilize a savage, not to say embarrassingly unpatriotic and wide-of-the-mark, assault against the President and everything he and our country stand for. To top it off, during all of this his Defense Secretary becomes something of a celebrity. For which the President is rewarded by the media with simpering questions about whether he'll be able to win election to a second term in 2004.
Let's take a look at the situations of George W. Bush and his father. Bush 43 has achieved resounding victory over Iraq, as Bush 41 did. The economy, as it was in 1991, is perceived by many as faltering. This analogy is used by the Left to assert that once again Democrats will rise up and elect one of their own as they did in 1992. What they fail to take into account is that, while, as in 1992, there are any number of unqualified candidates for Dems to choose from, no one has yet surfaced who demonstrates the particularly sordid and degenerate mix of philandery, lying, and lack of leadership Bill Clinton was able to bring to the fray and which Democratic voters seem to find irresistable.
To the point of the former President's idea of leadership, you'll recall that Clinton recently recommended that "We should let [Hans] Blix lead us to come together." None of the declared Democratic candidates has evinced anything close to this type of venality and irresponsibility, and, unless and until they do, it's my contention that W is a lock. Democrats are just not going to rally behind someone who stands for honesty, positive moral values, and a strong military.
I don't see any Democratic candidate who has to date displayed Clinton's in-your-face flouting of the very essence of what is meant by the term "character." While Carol Moseley Braun is certainly duplicitous, she lacks Clinton's flair for the patently absurd lie in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Indeed, every Democrat candidate should be required to screen test by having to utter the sentence, "I did not have sex with that woman . . . Miss Lewinsky." Appropriate substitutions, if necessary, would be made for female candidates.
And although Howard Dean frequently plays fast and loose with facts, he's too busy snotting at John Kerry about courage and the validity of the War in Iraq (It's over! The good guys won! Deal with it!) to focus his attention on serious national issues. Among the remotely electable Democrats, Dick Gephardt is certainly too "whitebread" for Democrats: no possibility of his being the next Black President. Finally, Joe Lieberman is Jewish, and not even hardcore, card-carrying Democrats will give up their right to be anti-Semitic and pro-Arab just so one of their own can get elected.
The only candidate who had a remote chance of truly energizing the Democrat base was Gary Hartpence, aka Gary Hart. During the summer of 1988, then-Democratic presidential hopeful Hart was hounded into obscurity by TV and print journalists for his indiscretions with Donna Rice. By 1992 times had changed, and Bill Clinton was carried to the Presidency on the shoulders of the same journalists, despite the overwhelming appearance of being guilty of the same "crime of character" as Hart. And now Hart, the Libs' last best hope for 2004, has decided not to throw his hat in the ring. Without him, there's no candidate with the requisite sleaze coefficient to take advantage of Democrats' propensity for coming together in support of someone who epitomizes cowardice, corruption, and dissolution.
Which translates to Bush in '04 . . . in a cakewalk.