The Brazen Word

With a pair of audacious speeches in Pennsylvania and Alaska, President George W. Bush responded to his critics with a couple of tongue lashings after weeks of uncontested Republican bashing.

The criticisms of his critics were overdue for a president and a party suffering from declining job-approval ratings and persistent questioning on foreign policy.

While liberals have temporarily gained the upper-hand in the political mud-slinging war, their opposition to the President, and his defensive attacks, have produced a parody in American politics.

Why a parody? Well, for one, the opposition to the War in Iraq is ironically conservative (insofar that going overseas to fight a terrorist-harboring nation is far more liberal than sitting on our hands at home), and perhaps even shallow. There are a number of fair criticisms to be had in antagonizing the Bush administration’s policies and politics; claiming that the war is based on intelligence fabricated by the Bush administration is not one of them.

Going into Iraq was an aggressive, preemptive assault on a region said to foster terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. After finding no such weapons, liberals everywhere have rallied around the words of John Kerry. “The war in Iraq was and remains one of the great acts of misleading and deception in American history,” Kerry once said at a news conference.

While claiming this as their mantra, liberal Democrats have ignored the fact the Kerry, along with 28 other Democrats in the Senate, voted for the war authorization measure in 2002. The politicians that bash the president’s decision to invade Iraq today are the same ones that backed his decision three years ago.

Now, there is certainly a legitimate debate on whether or not congressional leaders had the same access to intelligence that the administration had.

But to support a political decision and then years later, with the advantages of hindsight and the backing of their constituents, bash the president for making the very decision that you would have made given the same intelligence- that’s just ridiculous.

The opposition to the war is a testament to the left-versus-right paradigm that has engulfed United States politics. It seems as if whatever Bush backs, from Judge John Roberts’ judicial nomination, to Condoleeza Rice’s appointment to Secretary of State, to the War on Terror, Democrats vehemently oppose. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, it is virtually impossible to defend the political left’s backtracking into Monday morning pacifism.

As Bush said in his speech in Pennsylvania on Veteran’s Day, “While it’s perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s criticism of Bush’s attempts at politicizing Veteran’s Day is a quintessential example of contemporary Democratic criticism.

“On Veterans Day,” Pelosi said, “we should come together to honor those who have served in our Armed Forces. Instead, President Bush is using Veterans Day to try to bolster his political standing.”

Pelosi continued, “The president does a disservice to the troops and the American people when he tries to silence those asking questions.”

While it might not have been the wisest decision for Bush to attack his liberal counterparts on Veterans Day, Pelosi’s insistence that Bush’s rally cry hurts the troops is baffling. By Bush bolstering his political standing, he bolsters the war, and in turn, sends a message to his troops that he believes in their fight.

He’s not about to withdraw those troops, so why not send them a vote of confidence?

Bush’s decision to attack his opponents on Veterans Day was a risky one. It was certainly an awful public relations move, as many will undoubtedly mimic Pelosi’s complaints that the president politicized a national holiday.

With a slue of diplomatic gaffs that appease his conservative base while distancing his moderate supporters, it is evident that the Bush administration is either blind and dumb (I know what you’re thinking) or partaking in honest conservative efforts.

Think about it. Would an entire administration, from top to bottom, back predictably unpopular decisions to nominate a no-name conservative in Harriet Miers, an ultra-conservative in Samuel Alito, and a speech in which their president called out an entire political ideology? On Veterans Day no less?

Either they’re unbelievably stupid, or they really believe in what they’re doing.

I’ll take the latter.