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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 30, 2008 / 2 Mar-Cheshvan 5769

Running against Bush

By Caroline B. Glick


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In recent months, conservative commentators have devoted countless commentaries to the American media's open bias in favor of Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barak Obama. Although there is no question that their criticism is accurate, it is wrong to root that bias merely in the media's leftist sympathies.

The American media's pro-Obama bias is also the consequence of their misrepresentation of outgoing President George W. Bush's record in office. And that misrepresentation too cannot be ascribed merely to the leftist sympathies of the media. For the media are not the source of that misrepresentation. Bush himself is the source of that misrepresentation.

Bush's record in office is the key issue in the campaign. The outgoing President's abysmal approval ratings in his last two years in power caused both parties to recognize that to win the election, their candidate had to distinguish himself as much as possible from the current occupant of the Oval Office.

In selecting Senator John McCain as their party's nominee, the Republicans adopted this approach. Throughout his long career in Congress, McCain has served as the consummate party outsider. Yet, in his own way, and now to his detriment, he has also been loyal. And so until recently he avoided attacking Bush outright preferring instead to ignore him.

But by ignoring the President, McCain gave Obama full freedom to define Bush's presidency in the manner that best advanced his electoral prospects. And Obama's success in defining Bush has enabled the Democratic nominee to set the terms of debate on the central issue of the campaign: how America finds itself in the situation it now finds itself, and what policies should be adopted to improve its situation.

Obama has successfully cast Bush's presidency as a repeat of Ronald Reagan's presidency. Obama has portrayed Bush's foreign policy as a reenactment of Reagan's muscular, pro-American foreign policy which was based on Reagan's belief in American exceptionalism and his willingness to disregard what America's enemies and its erstwhile allies thought of America's actions. Obama has also portrayed Bush's economic policies as a reenactment of Reagan's policies of free market capitalism characterized by deregulation and tax cuts.

Obama has claimed that European and Muslim estrangement from the US; the increased strength of the insurgency in Afghanistan' Russian aggression; the resilience of the insurgency in Iraq; Iran's unimpeded drive towards nuclear weapons, and every other major US foreign policy problem are the consequences of Bush's embrace of Reagan's foreign policy approach. Obama claims that the financial crisis too, is a consequence of Bush's Reaganesque tax cuts and his general embrace of supply-side economics and the conservative preference for limited government.

By so defining Bush's record in office, Obama has been able to make a case for his own policies, which are diametrically opposed to those he ascribes to Bush.

There is only one problem with Obama's description of Bush's record in office. It is utterly false.

During his first term in office, Bush's foreign policy was raft with internal contradictions and intellectual confusion. Books have been written about the two competing factions in Bush's inner circle. Vice President Richard Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld championed a Reaganesque model of statecraft. And opposing them, Secretary of State Colin Powell pushed for a UN-centered, European-style foreign policy more similar to the one adopted by Bush's father.

Throughout his first term, Bush refused to side with one or the other of the factions. Instead he tried to simultaneously implement two mutually exclusive foreign policies. His indecisiveness rendered his foreign policy intellectually incoherent and doomed much that he did to failure. Bush's speechwriters were evidently more sympathetic to the Cheney-Rumsfeld view and so many of his speeches during his first term echoed Reagan's soaring rhetoric. But on the ground, Bush's policies adhered much more closely to Powell's program.

This intellectual disarray was perhaps nowhere more evident than in Bush's refusal to define the enemy in the war. The men who attacked the US on September 11, 2001 were more than simply terrorists. They had a plan and a cause: They were Muslim jihadists. And they were not the ideological fringe of the Islamic world. Their beliefs are propagated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and are advanced in the most prestigious academies in the Islamic world.

By claiming that the enemy in the war is generic "terror" rather than a worldview embraced by millions of people throughout the Islamic world, Bush made it impossible for his advisors to develop a coherent strategy for war. He also denied the American people the tools necessary for understanding either the meaning of the struggle or the necessity of fighting it. He deprived the public the basic intellectual framework for understanding for instance why he decided to imprison terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

Bush's two-headed foreign policy made it difficult for the public to recognize that the war being waged against the US and its allies in Iraq is not simply an Iraqi struggle, but a battlefield in a regional war fueled by neighboring regimes. His intellectual confusion blinded him to the fact that his democracy agenda was harmed, not advanced by holding popular elections in which jihadists - whose views and aspirations are inimical to the notion of human freedom - were permitted to participate.

In Bush's second term in office, and particularly since the Republican defeat in the 2006 Congressional elections, Bush abandoned the intellectual incoherence of his first term in favor of a full embrace of Powell's policy preferences now championed by his successor Condoleezza Rice. Throughout his entire first term in office, and due to his refusal to adjudicate between two contradictory foreign policy visions, Bush failed to adopt any policy towards Iran. After the 2006 Congressional elections, Bush embraced the Powell-Rice policy of European style appeasement. This has been demonstrated most recently by his stated plan to open a US embassy in Teheran.

Bush's wholesale adoption of the Powell-Rice appeasement policy is also reflected in his policies towards North Korea and the Palestinians. And this week, according to statements by White House officials, he stands ready to apply it towards the Taliban with whom he is considering opening ties.

In Bush's last two years in office, the only surviving remnant of the Cheney-Rumseld Reaganesque foreign policy has been Bush's counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq. And in spite of its military success, the fact that this policy is contradicted by the President's policy everywhere else casts doubt on the durability of America's victories on the ground.

Bush's acceptance of the Powell-Rice foreign policy doctrine has not been widely recognized. In large part this has been due to Bush's own refusal to tell the public that he has in fact embraced appeasement. Moreover, Bush's reluctance to come clean with the public has been exacerbated by the media's denial of the change.

Whether due to blindness fed by an underlying hostility towards the President, or to ignorance of the significance of Bush's policies, the media have failed to report that Bush's policies today are a repudiation of the ideals and policies Bush gave voice to in his speeches during his first term. Those effectively repudiated speeches were the embodiment of Reagan's foreign policy doctrine.

The same pattern has been followed in popular characterizations of Bush's economic policies. Aside from his tax cuts in his first term - tax cuts that include a "sunset" provision rendering them temporary measures rather than enduring tax reforms - Bush's economic policies during his two terms have been anything but Reaganesque. Bush has vastly increased the size of the federal government. And he has introduced massive new regulation into the US economy.

Emblematic of Bush's eschewal of Reagan's legacy on both foreign policy and economic levels is his newly created Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The establishment of this new position - and the large bureaucracy supporting it - was how Bush chose to contend with US intelligence agencies' failure to foresee and prevent the Sept. 11 attacks.

But like most failures in governance, the failure to anticipate, uncover and prevent those attacks was not due to an absence bureaucracy. Rather, the failure stemmed from the ideologically-driven unwillingness of the directors of the FBI and the CIA to recognize the threat of al Qaida and focus their efforts on tracking and capturing al Qaida members and sympathizers. The proper response to that failure would have been to fire the heads of those agencies and replace them with people who understood the nature of the threat and were capable of contending with it.

Instead Bush decided to increase the size of the government, add a new layer of bureaucracy to the failed intelligence community and staff it with people of the same mind as those who had failed to anticipate, expose and prevent the September 11 attacks. Not surprisingly, the newly appointed, ideologically uniform bureaucrats continued to underestimate the threats of jihadists or pay attention to any new significant trends in other areas.

It was this failed bureaucratic groupthink that produced the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's nuclear weapons program last year. That report, with its demonstrably false assertion that Iran ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003, scuttled all of Bush's efforts to use economic sanctions to dissuade Iran from building nuclear bombs and pulled the rug out from under any plan to take military action against Iran's nuclear installations in the event of the sanctions' failure.

So too, led by officials of limited intellectual curiosity and blinding ideological cowardice now sitting atop a new bureaucracy, US intelligence agencies failed to anticipate or prevent Russia's invasion of Georgia.

Bush's establishment of the behemoth Department of Homeland Security was yet another attempt to solve a personnel problem by creating yet another department. And just as the National Intelligence Directorate has failed to solve the problems it was created to contend with, so the Department of Homeland Security has simply continued the same failed immigration policies and domestic intelligence policies that caused the INS and the FBI to fail to identify and arrest the Sept. 11 hijackers.

In short then, both in foreign and domestic affairs, Bush's record is completely at odds with Reagan's record in office. Indeed, his policies have been far more similar to those that Obama - who runs as the anti-Reagan -- promises to advance than those that Reagan adopted.

And this is the great irony of the campaign season. By failing to accurately represent his policies to the public, Bush invited Obama to misrepresent his record and so wrongly ascribe Bush's failures to policies he never adopted - much less implemented. By failing to correct Obama's misrepresentation of Bush's actual record, McCain has allowed Obama to characterize him as the candidate who would continue the Bush presidency when the fact is that the small government policies and the relatively more robust foreign policy positions that McCain has adopted render him the candidate most unlike the sitting president.

If Obama wins the elections on Tuesday, his victory will find its roots not in media bias, but in Bush's insistent misrepresentation of his record as president.


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JWR contributor Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2008, Caroline B. Glick