July 30, 2004


Many thanks to Bunker for pointing me in the direction of The Case for George W. Bush. I do not understand the gut feelings of distaste that many have for President Bush, for when I look at him I see a man who is sincere and down to earth. But despite Junod's revulsion, he manages to look past the ad hominem. The part that gave me chills:

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, and historians today applaud the restraint he displayed in throwing thousands of American citizens in jail. By the middle of 2002, George W. Bush had declared two American citizens enemy combatants, and both men are still in jail at this writing, uncharged. Both presidents used war as a rationale for their actions, citing as their primary constitutional responsibility the protection of the American people. It was not until two years later that Congress took up Lincoln's action and pronounced it constitutionally justified. Our willingness to extend Bush the same latitude will depend on our perception of what exactly we're up against, post-9/11. Lincoln was fighting for the very soul of this country; he was fighting to preserve this country, as a country, and so he had to challenge the Constitution in order to save it. Bush seems to think that he's fighting for the very soul of this country, but that's exactly what many people regard as a dangerous presumption. He seems to think that he is fighting for our very survival, when all we're asking him to fight for is our security, which is a very different thing. A fight for our security? We can handle that; it means we have to get to the airport early. A fight for our survival? That means we have to live in a different country altogether. That means the United States is changing and will continue to change, the way it did during and after the Civil War, with a fundamental redefinition of executive authority.

Posted by: Sarah at 08:46 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 Hi Sarah. Hope all is well your way. I do not understand the gut feelings of distaste that many have for President Bush, for when I look at him I see a man who is sincere and down to earth. Ron Reagan Jr. wrote an item which may aid your understanding; it's essentially a laundry list of the past three plus years. Perhaps it will help: The Case Against George W. Bush Politicians will stretch the truth. They'll exaggerate their accomplishments, paper over their gaffes. Spin has long been the lingua franca of the political realm. But George W. Bush and his administration have taken "normal" mendacity to a startling new level far beyond lies of convenience. On top of the usual massaging of public perception, they traffic in big lies, indulge in any number of symptomatic small lies, and, ultimately, have come to embody dishonesty itself. They are a lie. And people, finally, have started catching on. None of this, needless to say, guarantees Bush a one-term presidency. The far-right wing of the country—nearly one third of us by some estimates—continues to regard all who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid (liberals, rationalists, Europeans, et cetera) as agents of Satan. Bush could show up on video canoodling with Paris Hilton and still bank their vote. Right-wing talking heads continue painting anyone who fails to genuflect deeply enough as a "hater," and therefore a nut job, probably a crypto-Islamist car bomber. But these protestations have taken on a hysterical, almost comically desperate tone. It's one thing to get trashed by Michael Moore. But when Nobel laureates, a vast majority of the scientific community, and a host of current and former diplomats, intelligence operatives, and military officials line up against you, it becomes increasingly difficult to characterize the opposition as fringe wackos. Does anyone really favor an administration that so shamelessly lies? One that so tenaciously clings to secrecy, not to protect the American people, but to protect itself? That so willfully misrepresents its true aims and so knowingly misleads the people from whom it derives its power? I simply cannot think so. And to come to the same conclusion does not make you guilty of swallowing some liberal critique of the Bush presidency, because that's not what this is. This is the critique of a person who thinks that lying at the top levels of his government is abhorrent. Call it the honest guy's critique of George W. Bush. And there's so much more. Best wishes, Al.

Posted by: Big Al at July 30, 2004 09:00 PM (aaw7a)

2 Oops! Here's the link: http://www.esquire.com/cgi-bin/printtool/print.cgi?pages=5&filename=/features/articles/2004/040729_mfe_reagan.html&x=64&y=6

Posted by: Big Al at July 30, 2004 09:01 PM (aaw7a)

3 Section 9, Clause 2 of the United States Constituion reads: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. " Pundits and journalists who write about Lincoln suspension of Habeas Corpus as outside of constitutional law should first read the Constitution. The southern states were clearly in rebellion against the country. Public Safety clearly required Lincoln take drastic action including the arrest of rebels throughout the country wherever they be found. Today however we face no such crisis. Terrorism is a criminal matter not one of national survival. England fought the IRA, Germany fought the Red Brigade, and numerous other western democracies fought terrorists using both their military and international law enforcement agencies as well as domestic police forces. Those who see the fight against al quida in purely military terms are playing right into the hands of the terrorists strategy: make it a battle between the Christian West and the Islamic countries. By falling for this Crusader mentality we grow our enemies faster than we can ever defeat them. The solution takes wiser leadership than we currently have in Washington. Bush and the neocons are certain in their convictions, I'll give them that, but haven't a clue beyond belligerance.

Posted by: dc at July 31, 2004 01:27 PM (s6c4t)

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