November 17, 2004


The Bush Revolution (NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF, 11/17/04, NY Times)

The central question of President Bush's second term is this: Will he shaft his Christian-right supporters, since he doesn't need them any more, and try to secure his legacy with moderate policies that might unite the country? Or, with no re-election to worry about, will he pursue revolutionary changes on the right? To me, it looks increasingly like the latter. [...]

So what should we expect in a second term?

A squeeze on North Korea The hawks have been impatient with what they see as the coddling of North Korea, and unless there is progress soon, there will be a push to get tougher and apply sanctions.

A continued embrace of Ariel Sharon With Mr. Powell out, there will be no one in the administration pushing Mr. Bush toward a more balanced policy. Tony Blair will try, but he's too far away.

A collision with Iran When Iran's new agreement with Europe on curbing its nuclear programs falls apart, the U.S. will resume its push for regime change in Iran (ironically, pushing for regime change in Iran and Cuba is what keeps those regimes in power). Then the U.S. will discuss whether to look the other way as Israel launches airstrikes on Iranian nuclear sites.

Dithering on Darfur Mr. Powell traveled to Darfur, proclaimed the slaughter there to be genocide and quietly pushed within the administration to get some action. I wish he had done much more, but, by contrast, the White House has been lackadaisical.

It's a hilarious list, not least because it was State that dithered on Sudan, while the issue was driven by the Christian Right and Jack Danforth (one would note that Mr. Kristof's recent series on the sex-slave trade derived from what has been exclusively a concern of evangelicals as well). But check the others: if the nutty Christians get control they'll tilt towards Israel and against Kim Jong-il and the Mullahs in Iraq. So to be a moderate these days is to oppose democracy?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 17, 2004 9:20 AM

Mr. Kristoff hasn't been paying attention to what's going on in NorK.

A Cesesceau (sp) moment may be in the making. We'll see how reasonable the replacements are.

Posted by: Sandy P at November 17, 2004 9:23 AM

No, the moderates don't oppose democracy, they favor nuanced opposition to tyranny.

I love the line about advocating regime change actually strengthening oppressive regimes. Tell it to Saddam.

. . .As if the Mullahs & Castro would have been more democratic & less severe without U.S. opposition. Sheesh. Maybe if Iran & Cuba didn't get support & encouragement from the rest of the world (and tepid opposition from NYT & Co.) they would have fallen long ago.

I do appreciate his assumption that Iran's going to violate their agreement on uranium enrichment.

Posted by: Twn at November 17, 2004 10:19 AM

The election must really have pissed off Kristoff. He's making even less sense now than before. Who'dathunkit possible?

Posted by: Barry Meislin at November 17, 2004 10:29 AM

Bush holds solid united majorities in the House and Senate and has already booted out his chief in house obstructionist, General Disaster. What possible reason does he have to compromise one bit?

Posted by: Bart at November 17, 2004 11:09 AM

>So to be a moderate these days is to oppose

Of course. Democracy (except in the acceptable form of People's Democratic Republics) means rule by the Common Rabble instead of their Educated, Enlightened, Concerned, Compassionate, Nuanced, and ANOINTED Betters.

Posted by: Ken at November 17, 2004 12:18 PM

What does "a more balanced policy" on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict mean ?

Does Kristof want Bush to endorse suicide bombings ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at November 17, 2004 7:10 PM


No, he probably hopes that we will feel their pain, understand their plight, be sensitive to their aspirations, and respect their dignity (among other such terms of psychobable).

Posted by: Ben at November 19, 2004 10:27 AM