Bush for President................ Poppy Bush
vote for the man in the middle
The Apparent Heir
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Columnists for this newspaper are not allowed to endorse presidential candidates. But I think this election is so important, I am going to break the rules. I hope I don't get fired. But here goes: I am endorsing George Bush for president. No, no - not George W. Bush. I am endorsing his father - George Herbert Walker Bush.
The more I look back on the elder Bush - Bush 41 - the more I find things to admire and the more I see attributes we need in our next president.
Let's start with domestic policy. The elder George Bush was the real uniter, not divider, the real believer in a kinder, gentler political dialogue. Yes, he had a Democratic Congress to deal with, so he had to be more conciliatory, but it came naturally to him. In 1990, the elder Bush sided with Congressional Democrats to raise taxes, because he knew it was the right thing for the economy, despite his famous "Read my lips" pledge not to raise new taxes. While that 1990 tax increase contributed to his re-election defeat, it laid the foundation for the Clinton tax increases, which, together with Mr. Bush's, helped to hold down interest rates and spur our tremendous growth in the 1990's and the buildup of a huge surplus.
In short, the elder Bush understood the importance of acting in the world - but acting wisely, with competence and preparation. His great weakness was his public diplomacy. He wrongly antagonized American Jews by challenging their right to lobby on behalf of Israel. He could have given more voice to the amazing liberation of humanity that the collapse of the Soviet Union represented and to the American anger over the Tiananmen Square massacre. Although, in his muted response to Tiananmen, the elder Bush kept China-U.S. relations from going totally off the rails, which kept China on a track to economic reform. Although he raised taxes, he never really explained himself. So his instincts were good, his mechanics were often flawless, but his words and music left you frustrated. Still, the legacy is a substantial one. Over time, historians will treat the elder Bush with respect.
So as we approach this critical election of 2004, my advice, dear readers, is this: Vote for the candidate who embodies the ethos of George H. W. Bush - the old guy. Vote for the man who you think would have the same gut feel for nurturing allies and restoring bipartisanship to foreign policy as him. Vote for the man you think understands the importance of facing up to our fiscal responsibilities for the sake of our children. And vote for the man who has the best instincts for balancing realism and idealism and the man who understands the necessity of using energetic U.S. diplomacy to make Israel more secure - by helping to bring it peace with its Arab neighbors, not just more tours from American Christian fundamentalists.
Yes, next Tuesday, vote for the real political heir to George H. W. Bush. I'm sure you know who that is.
Talk about slapping W in the face. Saying that Kerry would be a better sucessor than he would to his own father. Gotta love it.
posted by Steve @ 4:52:00 AM