Friday, June 04, 2004
WRONG AGAIN: Here's Clinton's apparently subtle description of George W. Bush: "If you go back and read what (Bush) said in the campaign, he's just doing what he'd said he'd do. You've got to give him credit for that." Huh? Isn't it the most remarkable fact about this president that he will be remembered primarily as a radical interventionist in foreign policy, while he campaigned in favor of moderate, realist isolationism? And wasn't he supposed to be a "uniter, not a divider," reaching out to the socially moderate center? Yet he has governed domestically as a member of the hard-core Christian right and polarized the country more deeply than even under Clinton. Sorry, Bill. Try another back-handed compliment.I'm not so sure about this. Yes, Bush campaigned against nation building, and has now engaged in it, but as Sullivan himself endlessly points out, September 11 changed everything. As for social issues, why in God's name did any of us (including myself) think that Bush was not going to govern from the Christian right? He asked for their vote. He announced that he would appoint the judges they like. He announced that he was, in fact, a born again Christian. His party has many members who are openly hostile to gays and lesbians - and he said nothing to renounce them. We were supposed to ignore all this, because he said he was a "uniter, not a divider"? Wrong. He did exactly what he said he would. His rhetoric was softer; in fact, many of us took cues from his rhetoric and believed that he would break his promises to his base. But he kept his word - and, as Bill Clinton points out, that's the problem.
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