February 3, 2005


George Bush Talks Big, and He Delivers
(Max Boot, February 3, 2005, LA Times)

I am not a weeper, but as I watched television coverage of the voting I found myself on the verge of tears. Tears of relief and jubilation and astonishment. The spectacle of millions of Iraqis braving bombs and bullets to cast ballots was awe-inspiring and humbling. It made me feel slightly ashamed about my own attitude toward voting. I, like many other citizens of well- established democracies, tend to view it as a chore, like taking out the garbage. Iraqis do not have the luxury of taking democracy for granted. They were dying to vote — and some in fact died in the act. But others stepped up into the voting booth anyway.

It was almost enough to make a hardened cynic think that indeed "the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul." Those words are from President Bush's much-mocked inaugural address, which struck even some of the president's supporters as too preachy and too utopian. Yet Bush doesn't simply talk big. He delivers, notwithstanding the nonstop naysaying of most of the nation's allies and our own foreign policy establishment.

Who, four years ago, would have dreamed that Afghans and Iraqis by the millions would take part in free and fair elections? That it has happened is primarily because of the men and women of those countries who have made clear their desire to cast off despotism, and because of the men and women of the coalition armed forces who have paid a heavy price to defeat terrorists and tyrants. But it's also a tribute to Bush, who has never wavered from his belief that the forces of civilization will prevail. [...]

To a lesser degree, the recent Palestinian Authority election also redounds to his credit. In 2002, Bush broke with foreign policy orthodoxy by announcing he would not negotiate with the Palestinians until they had taken firm steps toward democracy. All the experts predicted disaster. What we got instead was a pledge from the Israeli prime minister to pull out of the Gaza Strip and a pledge from the new Palestinian president to crack down on terrorism.

Much can still go wrong in the broader Middle East. Indeed, much has gone wrong already. There is no doubt that Bush has made plenty of mistakes.

The mistake he has not made, however, is the most important of all: He has not lost his nerve.

No, nerves don't seem to be a big concern.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 3, 2005 7:44 AM

The best thing about this President is his total indifference to what the pundits and "experts" and hysterical hyperventilating Chicken Littles say. He is Rock. Solid.

Posted by: Tom at February 3, 2005 10:07 PM