Sunday, November 12, 2006

Praising Bush 41 to criticize Bush 43

It is interesting that so many politicians, pundits, and journalists who didn't care much for Bush 41 when he was in office, now praise him as this great internationalist and pragmatist now that he is out of office. This is especially odd coming from journalists as at least one well-known study noted only 7% of them voted for him link
Basically, he generally gets praised by people who didn't really like him at the time but hate his son as way to act like they are criticizing the President in a more non-partisan way. There are many people who disdained President Reagan during his presidency, who now invoke his name on a regular basis in order to criticze the current President as if to say, "he is no Reagan" leaving aside the fact that they hated Reagan to begin with.

Many pundits also talk about the great stability we had in the Middle East under Bill Clinton and Bush I, while conveniently forgetting the kind of "stability" that existed. While things could be worse and maybe now are worse, they were not exactly paradise then. There were: corrupt oligarchs heading up most Arab countries, a plethora of religious extremists who occupied positions of power bent on spreading their hate-filled ideology, countries like Saudi Arabia used their oil money to finance madrassas and terrorism, and little comparative economic growth and high unemployment relative to other parts of the world despite tremendous natural resources.

While these problems still exist, it is false to act like the status quo was wonderful. The status quo helped bring about Al-Qaeda. Maybe this President's policy in Iraq is a failure (which I am not yet willing to concede) but at least he tried to change the Middle East. This President, to quote Bill Clinton’s recent remarks on Bin Laden can say, “At least I tried” to fundamentally change the status quo in the Middle East, this is more than I can say for either of the two previous Presidents.


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