Jewish World ReviewJan. 3, 2001 / 8 Teves, 5761
Bush's daunting challenges
ADVANCE DISCLAIMER: While the tone of this column may sound
pessimistic, I want to assure you that I am optimistic about George W.
Bush's ability to lead this nation at this most difficult time. But
realism requires that we squarely acknowledge the enormity of the
challenges he'll face. Let's take a brief inventory:
Clinton and Gore will bequeath to Bush a multitude of significant
domestic and foreign problems and a disturbingly polarized nation. Only
purely partisan Democrats could relish the irony of Clinton luxuriating
for eight years in a robust economy and military he inherited from
Reagan-Bush and then squandering both just in time for a hapless
Republican to take the fall for them.
For two terms Clinton methodically established his principal legacy
of simultaneously undermining the cherished institutions of this great
nation while availing himself of all the advantages of their glory. He
reveled in the capital of our institutions while sucking them dry. He
used the military like a toy and left it in relative tatters. He made a
mockery of the rule of law, while hiding behind it to stay outside the
reach of justice. He deceitfully obstructed meaningful reform for
Medicare and Social Security while using both as political clubs for
beating Republicans. He demonized and taxed the fire out of the great
income producers of this nation but was exempted from the economic
consequences of his fiscal policy by congressional Republicans and Alan
Greenspan. He threw more and more federal money at education, and
exerted greater federal control over it while watching our students'
test scores plummet.
Clinton is retiring with a nation convinced that budget surpluses
will abound in the foreseeable future. Yet, these surpluses depend on
economic growth, and signs are pointing toward a major slowdown. Bush's
efforts to honor his pledge to enact tax cuts to reinvigorate the
economy will be met by resistance from class-warmongering Democrats, and
possibly a recalcitrant Alan Greenspan.
Clinton failed to articulate, much less promulgate, a coherent
post-Cold War foreign policy. Presently, no rules exist as to if or when
America should play a role in international relations and disputes.
Tensions are on the rise throughout the globe: between China and Taiwan
-- Clinton all but encouraged it; in the Middle East -- Clinton
intervened in the internal affairs of Israel, and his chosen leader, in
the name of peace, has undertaken a reckless policy of unilateral
appeasement; Iraq, aided by the absence of U.N. weapons inspectors,
whose efforts Clinton undercut, continues its development of weapons of
mass destruction; NATO, post Clinton and Blair, doesn't know whether
it's an offensive or defensive alliance; and Russia warns that we are an
As a parting shot, Clinton and Gore, after unsuccessfully trying to
misappropriate the election, have fostered the illusion that Bush was
the culprit, adding further fuel to the divisive embers that threaten
the fabric of our society.
In short, Clinton and Gore are leaving Bush and Cheney with a
monumental mess on a multitude of matters. If all of this weren't
enough, in addition, everybody seems to be against Bush, including many
in his own party.
African-Americans appear to be completely alienated from Republicans
(partially due to the Clinton-Gore politics of division).
Senate Democrats are preaching conciliation, but promising
confrontation, demanding from the Republicans a procedural power-sharing
and a substantive surrender -- or else.
Certain feckless congressional Republicans are poised to oppose
Bush's agenda in an effort to "get along." Sen. McCain has promised to
make Bush's beginning days in office even more trying by egotistically
insisting that his campaign finance reform proposal take center stage,
regardless of the damage to any momentum Bush will be trying to develop
for his own agenda.
Bush just can't seem to win; many liberals think he's conservative,
and many conservatives think he's liberal. On social issues, some in the
Christian right think he's too moderate, while the left thinks he's too
Bush faces the daunting task of replenishing the capital for all the
institutions of this country that Clinton has depleted. He must
undertake this task with an opposition party and national media
unwilling to recognize his legitimacy and committed to his failure. The
implementation of Bush's agenda will require no small amount of courage
and resolve. Early signs are that he has plenty of both. He'll need our
commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.
12/28/00: Ashcroft: A triumph for the rule of law
12/26/00: A tinge of revenge?
12/20/00: GOP: Breaking the race barrier
12/18/00: Civility doesn't require surrender
12/13/00: Al Gore: Innocent victimizer
12/11/00: Judicial restraint and ordered liberty
12/06/00: The four years war
12/04/00: Debunking Gore myths
11/29/00: Defending the smaller principles
11/27/00: Albert O'Gore and the little people
11/22/00: Doing 'anything to win'
11/15/00: Enough is enough, Mr. Gore
11/13/00: Al Gore: Thy country or thyself?
11/08/00: Bill and Al: Your time is up
11/06/00:The impending Bush mandate
11/01/00: Can't stop thinkin' 'bout tomorrow
10/30/00: George: Give Gore the ball back
10/25/00: Mr. Gore: A few more questions
10/23/00: It's the big government, stupid
10/18/00: Gore's down, so will he panic?
10/16/00: We're fresh out of new Al Gores
10/11/00: Gore: Fuzzy math = dirty politics
10/10/00:Gore: Renaissance man or unbalanced?
10/04/00: Where have you been, Albert Jr.?
10/02/00: Clintonís fragmented presidency
09/27/00: Liberal media doth protest too much
09/25/00: AlGore: Turning dreams into nightmares
09/20/00: Something fishy's going on
09/18/00: It's the liberalism, stupid
09/13/00: An open letter to open-minded cynics
09/11/00: The virtues of going negative
09/06/00: On a mission for marriage
09/04/00: Al Gore's 'Trivial Pursuits'
08/30/00: Lieberman and the paradox of liberal 'tolerance'
08/28/00: A campaign divided against itself
08/23/00: Al Gore's trickle-down populism
08/21/00: Prosperity without a clue
08/16/00: AlGore can run but he can't hide
08/14/00: When hate speech is OK
08/09/00: Bush: The pundits' enigma
08/07/00: GOP convention: Live or Memorex?
08/02/00: The first attack dog
07/31/00: The Cheney taint?
07/26/00: The anti-gun bogeyman
07/24/00: The raging culture war
07/19/00: Is Hillary 'Good for the Jews'?
07/17/00: How dare you, George?
07/12/00: Jacoby's raw deal
07/10/00: The perplexities of liberalism
07/05/00: Big Al and big oil
07/03/00: Partial-birth and total death
06/28/00: Some questions for you, Mr. Gore
06/26/00: Supreme Court assaults religious freedom
06/21/00: Waco: We are the jury
06/19/00: "Outrage" just doesn't quite cut it anymore!
06/14/00: Al Gore: Government's best friend
06/12/00: Say goodbye to medical privacy
06/07/00: Elian: Whose hands were tied?
06/05/00: Who, which, what is the real Al Gore?
06/01/00: Legacy-building idea for Clinton
05/30/00: Clinton: Above the law or not?
05/24/00: Not so fast, Hillary
05/22/00: Gore's risky, fear-mongering schemes
05/17/00: Can Bush risk pro-choice running mate?
05/15/00: Right to privacy, Clinton-style
05/10/00: Patrick Kennedy and his suit-happy fiddlers
05/08/00: Don't shoot Eddie Eagle
05/03/00: Congress caves to Clinton, again?
05/01/00: The resurrection of outrage
04/28/00: A picture of Bill Clinton's America
04/19/00: President Clinton: Teaching children responsibility
04/17/00: Elian, Marx and parental rights
04/12/00: Elian, freedom deserve a hearing
04/10/00:The fraying of America
04/05/00: Noonan: End Clintonism now
04/03/00: Bush: On going for the gold
03/27/00: Treaties, triggers, tobacco and tyrants
03/22/00: Media to Bush: Go left, young man
03/20/00: Stop the insanity
03/15/00: OK Al Gore: Let's go negative
03/13/00: Deifying of the center
03/08/00: The media, the establishment and the people
03/01/00: McCain's coalition-busting daggers in GOP's heart
02/28/00: Bush's silver lining in McMichigan
02/24/00: A conservative firewall, after all
02/22/00: Bush or four more of Clinton-Gore?
02/16/00: Substance trumps process
02/14/00: The campaign finance reform mirage
02/09/00: President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it?
02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina
02/02/00: SDI must fly
01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
01/26/00: The issues gap
01/24/00: GOP: Exit, stage left
01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
01/18/00: Do voters really prefer straight talk?
01/12/00: Media's McCain efforts may backfire
01/10/00: Conservative racism myth
01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics
12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
11/17/99: Trump's tax on freedom
11/15/99: GOP caves again
11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
10/25/99: A matter of freedom
10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
10/04/99: Clinton and his media enablers
09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
09/02/99: Character doesn't matter?
08/30/99: Should we judge?
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on
08/23/99: Should Dubyah start buying soap ... for all that mud?
08/16/99: 'W' stands for 'winner'
08/11/99: The truth about tax cuts
08/09/99: Hillary: Threading the needle
08/04/99: What would you do?
08/02/99: No appeasement for China
07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: Itís the 'moderates', stupid
07/21/99: JFK Jr. and Diana: the pain of privilege
07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clintonís faustian bargain: our justice
07/06/99: The key to Bush's $36 million
06/30/99: Gore: a soda in every fountain
06/28/99: 'Sacred wall' or religious barrier?
06/23/99: GOP must lead in foreign policy
06/21/99: Crumbs of compassion
06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?
© 2000, CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.