March 01, 2004

Good Will Wasting

Kudos to Stephen for getting us a mention both in Glenn Reynolds' Tech Central column and over on InstaPundit. (There's a little name confusion on the Tech Central piece, but we're working on sorting that out.) Glenn concludes his column with this thought:

Does Bush want to be portrayed as the minion of religious extremists who'd stifle science even at the cost of lifesaving medical technologies?

Here's what disturbs me the most about the reshuffling at the President's Council on Bioethics. The media and the Democrats often talk about how Bush "wasted" the good will that the whole world had for us after 9/11. As has been demonstrated by many the charge of good will wasting is a bogus one. We may have received sympathy from the rest of the world after 9/11, but our detractors were never going to support our taking action to defend ourselves, no matter how "tactfully" or "multilaterally" we went about it. Ironically, it seems that through some of the recent stances he has taken -- medicare, immigration, gay marriage, and now this -- the President now really does run the risk of throwing away the support that many of us have had for him for the past two and a half years.

I was, at best, lukewarm on George W. Bush until September 12, 2001. I have been a stauch supporter ever since, believing that he has done exactly what was needed by taking the war to our enemy. I understood that the war had to take precedence over everything else, but I'm beginning to wonder...does President Bush understand that? If he does, then why is he pandering left and right? The smart thing would be to move to the center on all these social issues and keep his support solid. As it is, in November I plan to hold my nose and vote for Bush. The fact that I have to put it that way indicates that he has, indeed, wasted the good will that I had for him.

And some are ready to go further even than that.

Posted by Phil at March 1, 2004 11:35 AM | TrackBack

I think the brutal realtiy of fighting for reelection overrides reason. I don't condone it, but it's the truth. Poor G.W.'s got to be going crazy. I know I am! I'm listening to Kerry say that Peter Jackson does a better job creating jobs than G.W. because of the 25,000 extras he hired for LOTR. I'm listening to Daniel Shore (who sounds like he slobbers) on NPR who can't say anything good about what we're doing with the interim government in Iraq unless he tones it down with a disclaimer like: "the Iraqis are increasingly critical of the Bush administration." I'm listening to the black caucaus rant about how we kidnapped Aristede (sorry if I mispelled his name, I didn't take time to look it up.)

It's all so irrational. I'm disappointed with some things G.W.'s done, too. But the alternative is way too scary!

Posted by: Kathy Hanson at March 1, 2004 05:38 PM

Sorry, Phil -- I didn't notice that you'd added a co-blogger. I've sent in the correction.

Posted by: Glenn Reynolds at March 1, 2004 05:54 PM

It seems to me that the President may have plans for after re-election that require a mandate rather than a squeaker like the last time.

Posted by: John Davies at March 1, 2004 06:45 PM

Andrew Sullivan has some interesting comments about Churchill's electoral demise after the British public perceived "victory" at the end of World War Two. The British public had apparently only "used" the conservative Churchill to fight for liberalism vs "right wing extremism" (instead of freedom vs nationalist socialism).

Is that what is going on with us Americans now? Have we been letting Bush fight the Muslims in order to eventually have our sought after gay rights around the world? The thought terrifies me that dumb "swing voter" Americans might have been subconsciously perceiving that the Republicans have been fighting for liberalism vs Islamic that, when the fighting looks like its dying down, we can go hog wild again with the liberal agenda that brought us up to 9-11 iu the first place.

As the Old Testament shows (in its historical context - I am not religious) is that a superpower is not going to be given too many chances to stay on top if its challenged from the same place without effectively countering the threat (possibly as Rome finally had to do to Carthage). If we pendulum back and forth too much, nukes will take care of our more liberal cities courtesy of the Islamic hardliners who see the ideology more as a threat than conservative Americans do.

Who do you think America's conservative enemies want to win the 2004 election here? My feeling has been that they want Kerry to win in order to buy themselves time to arm themselves with nukes and keep their dictatorships. But would they really want the type of sugary and horrifying liberal "it takes a village" ideology that the Clintons poured like tree sap over the world in the nineties? It is a tough question.

Let us take Mushareff. His life wouldn't be worth much if a weak liberal entered the White House. Too many testosterone laden Pakis would see Bush's defeat as "the defeat of the USA in the war on terror brought about by the inherent weakness of Americans - the Paper Tiger Osama had been talking about. It would give testosterone laden Pakis the chance to "break out" and send Mushareff the way that Bush went. They would blame Mushareff for bowing before a loser.

Ditto for Tony Blair. A Kerry win would be a huge defeat for Blair for the same reason.

Ditto the leaders among the 50 allied countries that helped us liberate Iraq.

I see major reversals in our fortunes (and the fortunes of many good people overseas) if the Democrats even make this election close.

Posted by: Jim Peterson at March 1, 2004 10:34 PM

Jim P., what can we do with swing voters anyway except what you are doing in expressing this mechanism as a possibility, should Bush be defeated?
It helped me see that there could be such a dynamic at work, which might also be useful in trying to convince non-voters to vote. I know bunches of non-voters who are basically conservative, that is pro-Bush Doctrine, and anti-Liberal excesses, such as gay marriage, affirmative action, and increased taxation, to say nothing of the Liberal's obsession with surrender at all possible opportunities before enemies and parasites.

The idea that there may actually be a dynamic which will lead to runaway Liberalism if Bush is defeated can maybe be used to scare these people into action. It's a good thought, at least.

Posted by: Joe Peden at March 2, 2004 12:26 AM

Let's look at the Bush record:

1. 2.3 million jobs lost
2. A soaring federal deficit
3. A misleading war
4. A horrific environmental record
5. NCLB (enuf said)
6. Supporting the writing of hate into the Constitution itself
7. Attacking scientists(!) based on politics not policy

And you say the "alternative" is scary!

I just don't understand it when conservatives say the "war on terrorism" should matter above all else when 3,000 died on 9/11 but millions and millions of people are living today in poverty, unemployed, without healthcare, choosing between medication or food, etc. There needs to be a little perspective here.

Posted by: phatfordean at March 2, 2004 09:45 AM

I started to write a response to Phatfordean, but I think I'll keep working on my science fiction novel instead. Even though I'm making up a story, it's not as far out as I thought, relatively speaking.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Posted by: Kathy Hanson at March 2, 2004 10:34 AM


First, I assume your remarks are aimed at the commenters generally. I don't consider myself to be a conservative. As an aside, I think the liberal/conservative dichotomy has outlived its usefulness by a couple of decades or so.

I just don't understand it when conservatives say the "war on terrorism" should matter above all else when 3,000 died on 9/11 but millions and millions of people are living today in poverty, unemployed, without healthcare, choosing between medication or food, etc. There needs to be a little perspective here.

On 9/11 it became very clear that we are up against an enemy who wants to destroy us and who will stop at nothing. Look at the damage they did with a few box cutters. Try to imagine what such an enemy would do with a nuclear weapon or two in their arsenal -- 2.3 million could easily be the number of lives lost, instead of the number of jobs. That's the "scary alternative" that one or more commenters referred to.

The only rational "perspective" is to destroy that enemy first and worry about other concerns later (however legitimate and important they may be). Even if your assessment strikes me as little hysterical, you hit the nail right on the head with this: "millions and millions of people are living in poverty..." etc. That's right. They're living. Defending their lives and protecting the security of this nation has to come first.

Your namesake candidate couldn't seem to get a grip on that very basic idea, nor can any of the Dems left in the race. (Leiberman was the only one of the bunch who got it.)

Kathy and All:

President Bush himself seems now to be going wobbly -- pursuing multiple controversial domestic agendas instead of keeping his focus on winning the war. It's a dangerous game he's playing. He should be running on his war record; the only domestic issue he should be spending time on is the economy. There, he should work to get the word out that the economy is growing and that he is genuinely concerned about the plight of those who've lost their jobs. That's all he needs to do, and all he should be doing.

If he wants my single-issue support, he needs to act more like a single-issue president.

Posted by: Phil at March 2, 2004 10:44 AM

I understand completely that we need to guard the national interest against fundamentalists who seek to "destroy" us with dirty bombs, nukes, airplanes, etc.

But what is the right way and what is the wrong way? Is the right way going into Iraq at the cost of untold billions to unseat a dictator with little or no ties to Al Queda? Or would those billions have been better spent on better intelligence, securing ports and airports, building relationships with friendly nations and even Islam ones?

For mere millions, we can help many poor people around the world and win friends -- that will guard us against fundamentalism. On the other hand, the Bush doctrine will produce another 9/11 because of its wrongheaded "war on terrorism."

Posted by: phatfordean at March 2, 2004 11:03 AM

Phil, I agree, Bush has gone reactive with these issues. It's like he stopped trusting in his own agenda. And he doesn't trust us to support him unless he takes a stand on these other issues. He's letting the critics find the chink in his armor. The irrationality meme is spreading.

I wish I could have a heart to heart talk with Laura. I'd say something like, "Girl, you need to remind your husband that it's a good thing that he was the president when 9/11 happened. We all want him to focus on getting the job done! Many of the other issues are just slings and arrows ... straight from you-know-where - don't take let him take his eyes off the prize!"

This is not to minimize the importance of some of these moral and social issues. The rest of us (it is our country, after all. We don't need to "take it back!) need to rise above our comfortable, middle-class, conservative moral outrage and "be willing to suffer for doing good." There's a verse in 1 Peter that talks about always being ready to give an answer for the hope we have in the Christian life. That includes giving an answer to how we use the good earth with which we are entrusted, and how we care for each other. We can collectively help the president if we do our part in dealing with these issues. If anyone asks us what we're going to do about them, we should have an answer that begins with ourselves, not a hysterical response that blames the president.

Posted by: Kathy Hanson at March 2, 2004 12:18 PM

The case against Bush from Andrew Sullivan:

"Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership in difficult times. You made some tough decisions, and we are safer as a result. But the very qualities that made you a perfect pick for the war so far are the very ones that make you less effective from now on. You are too polarizing a figure to bring real peace to Iraq. You are too unpopular overseas to allow European governments to cooperate fully in the attempt to hunt down terrorists. And your deep unpopularity in half the country makes it impossible for you to make the necessary compromises that the country needs domestically. Thanks for all you've done, but bye-bye."

Posted by: phatfordean at March 2, 2004 12:43 PM