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Bush Country
How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane
By John Podhoretz
St. Martin's Press
HC, 288 pg. US$24.95
ISBN: 0-3123-2472-3

Welcome to Bush country

By Carol Devine-Molin
web posted February 23, 2004

Bush Country: How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals InsaneThe book Bush Country: How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane proffers some of the best analysis on the Bush presidency and the nature of Democratic "blood sport" (the politics of personal destruction) that can be found in the literary marketplace. Author and journalist John Podhoretz has written a very clever, well-researched and entertaining tome, which explores eight "Crazy Liberal Ideas" leveled at President Bush. These Leftist allegations run the gambit from "Bush is a moron," "Bush is a puppet," "Bush is a fanatic," "Bush is Hitler – Only not as talented," to the attack du jour that "Bush is a liar."

Unquestionably, Bush "character assassination" has reached an all-time high during this Democratic primary season by Left-leaning politicos and ideologues, and their elite media cronies, who are all in the throes of a massive conniption. This motley crowd just can't tolerate being out of power – They crave Democratic control of the White House. It's only now that the systematic attacks against President Bush are marshalling rebuke from the Republican camp. In his book, conservative writer John Podhoretz is clearly helpful to the GOP cause, providing welcomed rebuttal to some of the bizarre claims being bandied about by the President's venomous political adversaries. Podhoretz notes that "The Bush-bashers have grown ever more alarmist over time, their rhetoric ever more purple, and their opinion of him ever more contradictory." Is Bush a "moron" or is he the Machiavellian "liar"? He is being cast as both by the crazed Left.

Podhoretz begins with the notion of "Energy in the Executive" that is characteristic of good government as cited in the writings of Alexander Hamilton. In short, Podhoretz explains that any president must act "decisively, creatively, and consistently" with an emphasis on "the protection of the community against foreign attacks." And Bush has been a shining example of these classic standards. In the wake of 9/11, Bush boldly eschewed the ineffective methods of the prior Clinton administration and its wrong-headed law enforcement approach to terrorism. Out with the old paradigm of "law enforcement" and in with the new paradigm of the global "war on terror." Interestingly, the presumptive Democratic candidate John Kerry appears poised to return to the antiquated law enforcement model of tackling terrorism, which failed miserably.

President Bush promptly grasped that the attacks upon NYC and Washington DC were part and parcel of a global terror war being waged by radical Islamists and rogue regimes that aided and abetted them. Podhoretz states that Bush took a "breathtakingly ambitious posture – one far more ambitious than anybody, friend or foe, expected. The most notable example of this was his announcement that we would make no distinction between the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and those (that) harbor them." It was also clear that "deterrence" and "containment" would not work with terrorists and their Islamo-fascist sponsors such as Iraq, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan.

Moreover, since there exists a "natural terrorist hunger to acquire WMDs," Saddam Hussein would have loved nothing better than to provide terrorist surrogates with catastrophic weaponry to use against mutual enemies, with America, Great Britain and Israel at the top of the hit-list. All this "combined to make Iraq a new kind of threat," a unique threat to America and the world at large. Therefore, bringing down the lawless Iraqi regime "was an integral part of Bush's war on terrorism," not an adjunct to the effort and certainly not a "war of choice." In Iraq, the Bush doctrine of preemption was correctly applied, since America ousted Saddam Hussein before he could pass on WMDs to his terrorist cohorts. Podhoretz states: "The world will never know what kind of threat Saddam Hussein might have posed with a fully reconstituted WMDs program…That is the gift George W.Bush has given to the world."

Despite President Bush's failure to win the popular vote, and no clear mandate, he was still a Reaganite intending to largely govern as such. Podhoretz underscores Bush's political savvy, discipline, moral clarity and political courage in the face of tremendously difficult circumstances. On the homefront, President Bush succeeded in two significant tax cuts that are spurring economic growth, and he continues to spearhead the restructuring and modernizing of the military. Furthermore, Bush has engaged in a bit of "triangulation," or stealing the issues of the other party, a strategy popularized by Bill Clinton's former advisor Dick Morris, and which led to the enactment of: "No Child Left Behind" legislation (education accountability, with uniform testing across the nation), Campaign Finance Reform, additional AIDS Funding (15 billion over the next five years for AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean), Medicare Reform with a prescription-drug benefit, and continued stem-cell research only on those stem-cells already isolated for research.

In foreign affairs, President Bush has presided over two major military campaigns, in Iraq and Afghanistan, as part of the "war on terror" to ensure our nation's safety and security. Bush's initiative to bring some semblance of freedom and democratic reform to Iraq is pivotal to improving the overall dynamic in the Middle East. As the author notes, "Bush again thought about what had previously been considered unthinkable, and he concluded that the solution to terrorism and militant Islam was nothing less than freedom…Freedom and democracy are his answers."

Podhoretz also cites one of the defining moments in Dubya's young life, when, at the age of 18 at Yale, the university's "rock-star-famous chaplain" William Sloane Coffin denigrated his father who just lost a Senate election. Coffin stated, "Oh yes, I know your father. Frankly, he was beaten by a better man." Apparently, the young George W. Bush said nothing, but Barbara Bush stated years later: "You talk about a shattering blow. Not only to George, but shattering to us." Podhoretz believes that this incident helped situate "George W. Bush at odds with the Eastern Establishment," and was instrumental in his decision to move back to Texas. My sense of it is this: It was probably a notable episode among other unpleasantness within these elitist circles. And it demonstrates that Bush was impeccably raised with good manners and understands the meaning of restraint.

Carol Devine-Molin is a regular contributor to several online magazines.

Buy Bush Country: How Dubya Became a Great President While Driving Liberals Insane at Amazon.com for only $17.47 (30% off)

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