Column: Still the right man

Is President George W. Bush still the “Right Man,” as author and presidential speechwriter David Frum branded him in the wake of 9/11? Public dissatisfaction with the Iraq War damaged this image, and perhaps undermined Bush’s place in history. However, after the success of the Iraqi elections and a powerful State of the Union address, Bush may have re-established himself as the right man, at the right time.

With the courageous cast of a ballot and the simple drop of a dyed finger, the Iraqi people vindicated the president’s vision for a democratic Iraq and the possibility of an Arab world that is free from totalitarianism and terrorism. We must hope that the Iraqi election will send a permanent shockwave across the region – a catalyst for democratic reform in the heartland of Islamic fanaticism. On the fundamental question of whether Arab Islam and democracy are compatible, a verdict has now been rendered: free societies in the Middle East are well within our grasp. The nay-sayers were wrong, again.

For Massachusetts Sens. John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, this is the second time around. These men have an uncanny penchant for consistently placing themselves on the wrong side of history. From day one of the Reagan presidency, Kerry and Kennedy doubted the President’s goal to topple Soviet communism and end the Cold War. Together they voted against Reagan’s massive defense build-up that became an essential factor in starving the Soviet government and bringing that regime to the bargaining table. When President Reagan proposed the creation of a missile defense shield, Ted Kennedy mockingly labeled it “Star Wars.” Kerry also lectured us, “We cannot fight communism all over the world.” Need I say more? In fact, it was precisely Reagan’s S.D.I. program and his willingness to thwart communist expansion “all over the world” that contributed to the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Now they are back and ready for more embarrassment in the current war on terrorism. Kennedy, just days before the Iraqi election, and apparently without concern for the morale of American soldiers or Iraqi guardsmen and voters, demanded the Bush administration “withdraw some troops now,” further lambasting “the disaster we have created in Iraq.” Not to be outdone, of course, was Kerry, who with a straight face and in his distinctively “nuanced” fashion said that Iraq is now more of a terrorist threat, and “I believe the world is less safe than it was two and a half years ago.” Kerry’s political tone-deafness is astounding. It’s like d?j? vu – Election 2004 – all over again. Even veteran Democratic strategist Bob Beckel remarked after Kerry’s latest gaffe, “Whoever is advising him politically made a terrible mistake.”

Kerry’s comments actually came after the overwhelming success of the Iraqi elections, an event hailed as an achievement by everyone from France to Germany to the New York Times. Kerry and Kennedy remain the few holdouts. Why? In their insatiably partisan world, it is accepted dogma that the bumbling hick from Texas, George W. Bush, can never, under any circumstances, do anything right.

After seeing the pictures and hearing the stories – mothers cuddling their children as they waited to vote in deadly neighborhoods, handicapped Iraqis venturing to the polls in wheelchairs – who would dare suggest that the United States is not more secure, that the terrorists have not been dealt a crushing blow, with freedom now spreading in the Middle East? Who would be willing to say to Ted Kennedy or John Kerry, “Yes, you were right?” In these historic and trying times, as the Middle East rests on the very precipice of democratic reform and peace, Kerry and Kennedy can only offer cynicism and the language of defeat. By contrast, we have President Bush, whose unyielding faith in freedom inspired countless Iraqis to vote, risking life and limb, last month. Such a monumental feat would have been all but impossible with Kerry, and his defeatist liberal ideology, at the helm. It’s no secret then, why President Bush – the man who has so profoundly moved an Iraqi nation once immersed in despair and hatred – is the indisputable “Right Man.”

-The writer, a sophomore majoring in political communication, is a Hatchet columnist.

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