Jewish World Review Dec. 29, 2003 / 4 Teves, 5764
Alternative "Person of the Year"
In keeping with many American journalists' evasion of meaning, Time magazine has given its
"Person of the Year" not to a person but to a group of persons, or is it to a person who has no name? "The
American Soldier" is Time's "Person of the Year." That represents a very fine sentiment. The American military
once again deserves the citizenry's highest esteem, but the American military is not a person. I am glad that I
am not an editor at Time. Had I been one, I would have argued that the magazine celebrate our soldiers, sailors
and pilots. Moreover, I would have thrown in those duty-bound intelligence operatives who play such an
important role in American security, but I would not give the "Person of the Year" accolade to a non-person.
As it happens, I am an editor. In fact, I am an editor in chief, and as editor in chief of The American
Spectator, I am affirming that the magazine this year take up the burden of conferring a "Person of the Year"
accolade on an actual person, President George W. Bush. He has shown himself to be a president of colossal
achievement. He has faced up to international terrorism. If an earlier president had, America might not be
remembering September 11, 2001, as another "date which will live in infamy." A rather good book by Richard
Miniter, "Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton's Failures Unleashed Global Terror," irrefragably makes the case
that America did not have to await Osama bin Laden's slaughter to take on the terrorists.
President Bush faced up to his responsibilities. He adopted a clear-sighted strategic demarche to deal with
the terrorists' new threat to America, the doctrine of preemption. And he very successfully waged war in two
rogue nations, thus sobering up a region that has been the breeding ground for terrorists. Libya's sudden
willingness to give up its, Iran's and North Korea's weapons of mass destruction now under its control makes it
clear that the Bush policy has been prudent.
President Bush has also revived an economy that was in decline when he arrived in office. In doing so, he has
demonstrated that the policies of supply-side used so effectively by President Ronald Reagan are the modern
way to ensure a prosperous economy. Detracting from the president's success in reviving the economy is the
lavish government spending that is a threat to stable economic growth and the Medicare prescription drug bill
that is going to be far costlier than Congress predicts. Well, perhaps the president can rectify these matters in
the years ahead.
Finally, to the best of his ability, our "Person of the Year" has changed the climate in Washington as he
promised. He has not been guilty of the slurs, deceits and insults that characterized his predecessor. He has
not indulged in the vituperation and mendacity that the mediocrities seeking the Democratic nomination
regularly practice against him. For the first time since post-Civil War politicians sought election by "waving the
bloody shirt," Democrats have legitimatized anger against an opponent as a campaign tactic. Some of the
president's opponents in the Democratic Party and in the soi-disant intelligentsia
actually boast of their hatred of the president.
Our "Person of the Year" has not responded in kind. This is because he is a gent. The president has cultivated
the virtues of a gentleman, not the least of which is what New Frontiersmen once called "grace under pressure."
Attendant with his gentlemanly behavior, he does not draw inordinate attention to himself. While his prospective
opponents brag of their every quirk and vainglorious achievement, the president displays a seemly modesty,
even though he is the most powerful man on earth. One of his traits that I have noted in reading his biographies
is that he is reluctant to lay claim to achievements that are not his own. Not only will we not see him claiming to
have given us the Internet, he is even reluctant to boast of clever turns of phrase written for him by his very
capable speechwriters. In one anecdote I read, he joked about how someone else wrote something for him.
Such candor is very refreshing in an era when political candidates are so frequently being caught stretching the
truth and even plagiarizing.
Thus, in an era of gasbags, George W. Bush has stood out as a gentleman. Like the quiet, undemonstrative
men who captured the brutal Saddam Hussein, he allows his actions to speak for him. The actions constitute a
presidential record of historic import. Right now those actions place him on the presidential tier of Harry
Truman, just below the lofty estate of Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Doubtless he has five more years
to see if he can match those great leaders. Unfortunately, the challenge of international terror might give him
sufficient opportunities to do so.
For now he is faced with a smaller challenge. He is an ardent physical fitness buff, and the doctors have told
him sore knees will hamper his runs. Mr. President, I suggest ice on both knees and wearing a neoprene
sleeve on them when you run. If that prescription fails, face the fact of your middle-aged hinges and ride a
stationary bike. We at The American Spectator want our "Person of the Year" cheerful and vigorous for the year
ahead. It is going to be a demanding one.
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JWR contributor Bob Tyrrell is editor in chief of The American Spectator. Comment by clicking here.
12/18/03: Dean and me
12/11/03: Long live Bob Bartley
12/04/03: "Hit 'em when they're down!"
12/01/03: The Wright Stuff
11/13/03: How wrong the naysayers and the utopians have been
11/06/03: Will I be banned from America's campuses?
10/30/03: They don't care about restraint
10/24/03: "The Reagans" and the evidence of a historic life
10/17/03: The Moron Vote
10/09/03: The politics of groping and the groping of politics
10/03/03: Is there a witch doctor in the house?
09/26/03: Funny Girly-Boy
09/18/03: Send Arafat to Paris!
09/15/03: The soi-disant party of Latinos comes down hard on a successful Latino
09/05/03: Placating the carpers
08/29/03: A melange of one-issue enthusiasts will win?
08/07/03: Angry partisans
07/31/03: Why no holy cities in America?
07/25/03: They underestimate not only the president, but the American people
07/18/03: The irascible, bigoted Harry Truman was a product of his times
07/11/03: A grand affair of hot colors and surprisingly sedate audience participation
07/04/03: In search of anti-Americanism and the perfect bullfight
06/26/03: Calling on London
06/20/03: Too upsetting for the evening news?
06/12/03: Rain(es)ing Clintoon myths
06/05/03: Hillary-ous is pathetic
05/22/03: End of the last great persecution of the 20th century?
05/15/03 :Grey turns to grim at Times
05/08/03: The only intellectual force in Western history to gain moral superiority by being wrong
05/01/03: Dinning with Tom Wolfe: More lessons in nusual aspects of American life, hitherto ignored
04/28/03: Ambuscade at scholarly frontier
04/21/03: Stars in search of a galaxy
04/10/03: Baghdad Bob and Tom Daschle
03/31/03: When the media itself becomes the story
03/20/03: Revealed! Estrada is a gifted linguist -- a Japanese-American fluent in Spanish
03/14/03: Genuinely in charge
03/10/03: Stalin and Saddam
03/05/03: They just cannot stomach a protracted alliance with the Bushies
02/25/03: Identity gridlock
02/18/03: People calling Dean a fruitcake are underestimating his political savvy
02/13/03: The new political establishment
01/30/03: The time is now
01/27/03: Witnessing self-love by people completely incapable of self-criticism
01/21/03: Of course our kiddies are depressed
01/13/03: Why is it that Official Washington still believes that a tax reduction means a revenue reduction?
01/02/03: Missing Moi
12/27/02: The grizzled and menacing-looking senator in Confederate drag is … a Dem
12/24/02: Uprooting Christianity in the Holy Land
12/20/02: Under fire, Lott showed an ignobleness that is embarrassing
11/26/02: Bartley's enemies have been routed
11/14/02: Clarence Thomas and the segregationist Mississippi sheriff
11/07/02: I muffed up
10/31/02: Is the American university turning its back on change, on progress?
10/24/02: So why aren't the Dems buoyant?
10/17/02: Mourning the loss of the "yellow-belly"
10/10/02: American politics at its most ignominious
10/03/02: A man above the law, a bully
09/26/02: Is Bob Greene a victim of an anti-Clinton backlash?
09/19/02: I knew Mafiosi and …
09/12/02: Chickens and poseurs
09/05/02: Sympathizing with the Europols
08/29/02: 9-11 did not change us forever
08/22/02: Public persons frivoling with serious matters
08/15/02: Beachcombing among the fat of the land
08/08/02: They pave the way for corruption, not personal responsibility
08/01/02: Believing the unbelievable
07/25/02: The congressional posse comitatus
07/18/02: Cosmopolitan Arab fashion
07/11/02: What the prez actually knows
07/04/02: The vindication of a truly original thinker
06/27/02: The perfect book for Hillary
06/20/02: To say that they were ordinary is not to slight them
06/13/02: Daschle must begin to act like an adult
06/06/02: Lack of "intelligence" --- and sheer stupidity
05/30/02: Revealing a carefully guarded media secret
05/23/02: In these times, thank Heaven for Clinton!
05/16/02: Fast Times at the Church of the Nativity
05/09/02: "Name the Prettiest Suicide Bomber"
05/02/02: Vindication for the Boy Scouts
04/25/02: A topic almost no other columnist will touch
04/18/02: 'Conventional Wisdom' --- and those who defy it
04/11/02: Let the Sun shine in
04/05/02: Hooded men of color in sheets
04/01/02: A McCain-Feingold Act for Hollywood
03/21/02: Yakkin' on Yates
03/15/02: No role for Paul Volcker in Enron: the movie
03/07/02: My membership in the Communist Party U.S.A.
02/27/02: This award is bestowed by 'contrarians'
02/21/02: Mike Tyson: Made for Washington?
02/14/02: Enron as underdog?
02/07/02: Freed from the presence of money -- hard or soft -- most politicians would be just as bad
01/31/02: Needed: Bush to make a preemptive strike against his enemies …. Ones who'd like to see him fail even during war
01/24/02: Hucksters will move on to make their next marks
01/17/02: Debonair prez should begin to do the High Life
01/10/02: Move over Twinkies --- "the acne medicine made him do it!"
01/03/02: Leaving the Nazis looking comparatively humane
12/27/01: A "self-made journalist"
12/20/01: Calamities and unanticipated benefits
12/13/01: America's grief ought not to give comfort to those who caused it
12/06/01: Leahy, the strict civil libertarian!? A short-term exploiter of the Constitution is more like it
11/29/01: Welcome to Afghan, Maryland?
11/26/01: So, why don't more folks hate us?
11/15/01: America's quagmire and other certainties
11/09/01: No longer the smug statists, the prodigal Keynesians?
11/01/01: The New Seriousness
10/25/01: Bright lights and the Taliban
10/18/01: Is bin-Laden propaganda from Western intelligence?
10/12/01: No yellow ribbons
10/05/01: Bubba's back --- again!
09/28/01: Exposing peacetime's frauds
09/21/01: So protected, we're vulnerable
09/14/01: At Barbara Olson's home
09/11/01: Duh! All conservatives are racists
08/31/01: Arafat's terrorists have created their own hell
08/24/01: Time for some political prophecy
08/16/01: They claim to be doing so much good
08/10/01: Visiting the source of the White House braintrust
08/03/01: Morality and reality
07/31/01: Blinded by success?
07/24/01: The latest Kennedy capitulation in Massachusetts
07/13/01: Talk about tawdry
07/06/01: Delighting in the Dictator
06/29/01: The G-dphobes
06/21/01: Fashionable Washington is sempiternally in a stew
06/15/01: The limits of hypocrisy
06/08/01: Flagging our general apathy
© 2001, Creators Syndicate