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Jewish World Review Feb. 18, 2004 /26 Shevat, 5764

James Lileks

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Guess Which Candidate Our Enemies Want to Lose in 2004? | Let's just be blunt: The North Koreans would love to see John Kerry win the election. The mullahs of Iran would love it. The Syrian Ba'athists would sigh with relief. Every enemy of America would take great satisfaction if the electorate rejects the Bush doctrine and scuttles back to hide under the U.N. Security Council's table. It's a hard question, but the right one: Which candidate does our enemy want to lose? George W. Bush.

And some conservatives will be happy to help, it seems.

Woe and gloom have befallen some on the right. Bush has failed to act according to The Reagan Ideal.

The actual Reagan may have issued an amnesty for illegals, but the Ideal Reagan would have done no such thing. So unless Bush packs freight cars full of gardeners and dishwashers and dumps them off at the Mexican border, some voters will just sit this one out.

The Ideal Reagan would have eliminated the National Endowment for the Arts; the actual Reagan proposed a $1 million increase in his final budget. But Bush increased NEA funding -- perhaps an attempt to placate people who wouldn't vote for him if he showed up in performance with Karen Finley and a can of Hershey's syrup. So angry conservatives might just sit this one out.

And if a Democrat takes office, and the Michael Moores and Rob Reiners and Martin Sheens crowd the airwaves on Nov. 3 to shout their howls of vindication? If the inevitable renaissance of Iraq happens on Kerry's watch, and the economy truly picks up steam in the first few years before the business cycle and Kerry's tax hikes kick in? If emboldened Islamist terrorists smell blood and strike again? Fine. Maybe the next Republican president will do everything they want.

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Oh, sure, Bush is fine on the foreign affairs stuff, and yes, there's a partial-birth abortion law, and the tax cuts were nice, and come to think of it, Sept. 11 wasn't followed by blow after blow after blow, for some reason. The nation endures, at least at press time. But that's hardly enough. Where's that bill requiring 60-foot Ten Commandments monuments in every capitol rotunda? Let Kerry win. Teach the GOP a lesson, it will.

So both sides have elements that seem unserious about the defining issue of the day: the war. But the right's malcontents snipe from humid redoubts of Internet message boards. The left's biggest spokesmen are parading their delusions.

No less than Al Gore has practically accused the president of treason. In a Feb. 8 speech in Tennessee, Gore went on an alarming rant, performed almost in an arr-matey pirate voice. "He betrayed this country!" Gore bellowed. "He played on our fears. He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place."

We've been manipulated into a state of fear, Gore shouted. Really. Which administration spent most of 1998 warning us about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, only to launch some missiles and walk away? Gore saw all the intel on WMDs. Gore was part of an administration that pushed for regime change because it viewed Saddam, correctly, as a danger to the region and to America. Does Gore think we don't remember everything Democrats said about Saddam and WMDs, when they felt responsible for the nation?

As for that state of fear, well, anyone out there feel afraid of Saddam today? Didn't think so.

Gore should give this speech at the convention. Why not? Why not stand up and give vent to all the poisons hatching in the muck? Why not tell America that Bush lied about everything, that he took the country to war for reasons he knew would be discredited, just so Halliburton could make another buck or two? It's what they seem to believe, after all. The delusions of their fringe have become articles of faith for the mainstream. Bush was AWOL! Bush knew! Bush lied! Bush never flosses! Skull and Bones! Plastic turkey!

At least we'll have a clear choice in November. Bush is serious about the war. The Democrats are serious about the war against Bush.

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JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


01/29/04: Every Laptop a Truth Squad
01/27/04: When the battle over artistic freedom goes over the edge
12/31/03: For the Left and Right, Some New Year's Resolutions
12/22/03: Dean's black helicopters
12/15/03: Dems Are Mainstreaming the Extreme
12/08/03: Does Dean Really Want to Be President? One Wonders, When He Opens His Mouth
11/24/03: The real story: Most Brits see U.S. as force for good
11/19/03: The Trouble With Al Gore's Screed on Civil Liberties
11/11/03: Can a fellow win with the Confederate Metrosexual vote?
10/22/03: Let's make Greenpeace pay
09/29/03: Ah-nold & Clark may be on different sides of the aisles, but their supporters are cut from the same cloth
09/19/03: All Hail the Ninth Circuit Court of Surreal
08/26/03: This time, the record industry doesn't stand a chance!
08/18/03: Assessing the Schwarzenegger Factor in Republicanism
08/08/03: No wonder Howard ‘Two Covers’ Dean gets all the buzz
08/04/03: Expect bad news for the foreseeable future
07/28/03: Despot's Deserts
07/21/03: No winners in this game of gotcha
07/14/03: Doing the right thing in Liberia may not be the right thing to do
06/27/03: On feet in Democratic mouths
06/16/03: The real story behind Hillary's book
06/09/03:America's new mission was and remains: Extirpating the flaming nutballs and the societies that nurture them
06/03/03: The Constitution as gag order
05/23/03: Sometimes the theme of world events is chaos itself
05/16/03: Newspapers are only human, after all
05/13/03: What McCarthy messed up
05/06/03: Still think the International Criminal Court was a good idea?
04/03/03: The world is ending, the world is ending! Doesn't anybody care!? Why won't anybody listen!?
03/14/03: Kerry and the Dems are banking on American electorate's tendancy to forget history
02/28/03: Roadmap to peace?
02/13/03: We live in an age where the poet has been cast out from the halls of power --- sob, sob
02/10/03: Found: League for International Justice and Peace talking points
01/30/03: The US can go to war whenever it likes for its own reasons, and all the UN can do is pass more worthless paper
01/23/03: People who'd volunteer for the Iraqi army if they saw Saddam wearing a "Free Mumia" button
01/16/03: One of those head vs. heart things
12/27/02: Whistleblowers?
01/06/02: The second year of this jangled millennium
11/16/01: Attack of the 'Patriotism police' and other Hollywood fare
11/12/01: From the bleats of dismay
10/30/01: Osama and the Genie
10/08/01: "We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut"
11/04/01: America, loathe or it leave it
09/25/01: Do the Europeans actually think that the war on murderous zealotry will be furthered by undercutting America?
08/27/01: If the economy is in a funk, why aren't we dancing?
08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
08/10/01: Hail to our co-chiefs?
08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2003, James Lileks