First of all, Andrew, nobody is saying that debate should be stymied.
It’s rather the tone of dismissive contempt toward George W. Bush that
emanates from the Corner–and I’m sorry, Ramesh, but what matters in
a blog is quantity; a blog is not a democracy–that is so dismaying.
You’re disappointed that the president made a political decision on
campaign-finance reform? Welcome to the real world. It is simply not
true that the president’s poll numbers would have kept him insulated
from trouble. Do you remember what was going on in this country after
Enron collapsed? And as for your shock that a president might sign a
piece of legislation he doesn’t like, that’s part of the woof and warp
of American politics. No president should sign a piece of legislation
he doesn’t like, right? Wrong. Bill Clinton was forced by political
circumstance to sign the most important piece of legislation in the
1990s, welfare reform.
As for John Derbyshire and Rod Dreher fretting over the president’s
“performance,” all I can say is: I wrote the same nonsense in February
2000 about Bush as the “English patient” and fretted that he could
never compete with Al Gore in argument. I’m proud to say I don’t write
this nonsense any more, and I invite John and Rod to retire this
oldie-but-baddie. We should know better by now than to misunderestimate
the president in this manner–but perhaps some on the Right need to
re-learn this lesson.
Anyway, none of this matters in the historical scheme of things. None
of it. What matters is the war on terror. Let me say it again: What
matters is the war on terror. You know what? I’ll say it a third time:
What matters is the war on terror.