InstaPunk reminds us why George W. Bush deserves a wish of a belated Happy Birthday!:
But 9/11 happened. And our doofus president stepped up. He wasn't Lincoln or Truman, meaning that he didn't take office knowing he was looking down the barrel of a huge gun aimed at his forehead. He was a nice guy who thought he'd be fine putting in his time as another do-nothing placeholder president, which is actually the best we can ever hope for. He drew on his Texas simple-mindedness, which was an amazing attainment of character given his Andover-Yale-Harvard education, and spent the next six years kicking ass all over the world. Go figure.
Intellectuals suffer from a syndrome called "paralysis through analysis." Not GWB. He understood the schoolyard rules. Hurt one of mine and I'll go anywhere and do anything to bring the fight to you. That's what he did. He was the perfect president to deal with a lamebrain enemy who thought we weren't tough enough to stand up against a fanatical foe. That's why we went to Iraq. You struck at our heart and now we'll take out your biggest bully. See if you can stop us. Try to stop us, mother f____er. WMDs? Irrelevant. Even if they really were there.
It was actually kind of a miracle. That at the precise moment we needed a schoolyard mentality, we had one. What the liberals and progressives can never forgive Bush, or history itself, is that despite all the U.N. backing and filling and diplomacy-as-usual, Bush went into Iraq and al qaeda responded to the challenge. They sent everything they had at our cowboy president. AND WE KICKED THEIR ASS. Into the middle of the next century.
Here's the plain truth for the downtrodden Republican Party. The much bally-hooed "War on Terror," which was supposed to last for a generation, has been won in less than seven years. There remains a much greater threat -- western surrender to muslim fanaticism in cultural affairs -- but even there GWB has set a precedent that Americans will be yearning for less than a year after he leaves office. The nation that deep-down knows its citizens have the right to bear arms is not going to accept for long the idea that people who want to kill us get to hire a dream team of attorneys and vogue on bail all over Beverly Hills during their consequence-free trial. They can shut down Guantanamo, but they can't erase it from people's memories. When the shit hits the fan again, as it probably will when every terrorist can be an O.J. Simpson, people will know that there is an alternative.
The legacy of George W. Bush is already secure. It doesn't need a tidal wave of PR spin. Sometime after he goes home -- whether Obama or McCain is elected -- the American people will begin to miss him. Like Lincoln, he has his "one thing" that will endear him to the ages. He did not go gentle into that good night. He roared back at a world that thought the U.S. was like France in 1940, a lamb ripe for the slaughter. And while his enemies at home mocked and derided him, even the Old World remade itself in his image. France, Germany, Italy, and Canada all rejected anti-American governments in favor of "reactionaries" who remember how much the western "free" world owes to the United States. Al qaeda in Iraq is a dead man. Bin Laden, dead or alive, is an irrelevancy on the world stage, reviled by even his closest allies. Iran is so nervous about American "cowboy" foreign policy that it's trying to conduct international negotiations via Photoshop.