Monday, June 05, 2006

Presidential Perspective

Or better put, the lack there-of. Michael Barone points out it's notable absence today:

Two weeks ago, I pointed out that we live in something close to the best of times, with record worldwide economic growth and at a low point in armed conflict in the world. Yet Americans are in a sour mood, a mood that may be explained by the lack of a sense of history. The military struggle in Iraq (nearly 2,500 military deaths) is spoken of in as dire terms as Vietnam (58,219), Korea (54,246) or World War II (405,399). We bemoan the cruel injustice of $3 a gallon for gas in a country where three-quarters of people classified as poor have air conditioning and microwave ovens. We complain about a tide of immigration that is, per U.S. resident, running at one-third the rate of 99 years ago.

Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds bemoans it's absence in his comments on Barone's keen observations:

The 1990s were a fool's paradise -- which I liked, too, but then I was one of those fools. That things aren't like the 1990s now, other than economically, is a case of returning to norms, not of an unusual deviation from them. That doesn't mean anything specific with regard to particular policy disputes, of course, but it does mean that people who are shocked and appalled that the situation isn't like the 1990s are missing the point.

How many critics of Bush in his first term decried what "he had done" to the world Bill Clinton left us? How many now I wonder still think we can find some magical way to get back there?

Just read about how many yearn for a return to the economy of the 90's (or at least a departure from the "Bush Economy,"). All despite a stock-market that, today not withstanding, is higher than it was in 2000 and an unemployment number that past Administrations could only dream of and this little bit of interesting under-reported news.

And of course there's the all-too-common assertion from similarly minded folk that today's government is run by crooks. Not just any ordinary crooks mind you, but moronic crooks:

Kerry agreed completely with someone's assessment that everything that Bush does is solely for the purpose of looting the country. He basically said that Bush and his cohorts are criminals and that history will judge them so. He said that he believes that the pendulum will swing back and that is why after 35 years in politics he is still involved, otherwise he wouldn't waste his time. He also said that he never stopped fighting after the election, and that he still hasn't, but I didn't get to ask why he conceded the next morning, though I wish I had. At some other point he referred to Supreme Court Justices Alito, Scalia, and Roberts as Idiots.

Barone is so on top of it: Reports of Bush's West Point speech noted that Truman had low job ratings -- lower than Bush's, in fact. But does that matter now? Bush, as Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis has written, has changed American foreign policy more than any president since Truman, and like Truman he has acted on the long view.

He's got perspective.

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