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Jewish World Review April 19, 2002 / 8 Iyar, 5762

Tony Snow

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Musings | You've got to give President Bush credit for brass.

America's commander in chief has decided to stake his reputation, and possibly his presidency, on an attempt to pacify the Middle East -- something nobody has done successfully in nearly 4000 years. The president wants to usher in a Pax Americana -- an era of global peace, defined and promoted by the United States. Now our European allies may bristle at our presumption -- some of them still think of us as a bumptious colony -- but the president is right in setting as his goal the establishment of democracies.

If you take an inventory of our enemies, you'll discover they share two traits: They aren't free and they aren't democracies. Well free democracies aren't pains in the neck. Despotic regimes are.

George W. Bush thus has managed to combine Jimmy Carter's emphasis on democracy with Ronald Reagan's appreciation of military muscle. And why not. In a crazed and violent world, somebody has to play the role of Dad. And that somebody is the United States.

The reinvention of Bill Clinton has begun in earnest, with Clinton aides, acolytes, sycophants, hangers-on and worshippers fanning out across the 50 States to spread the word that our 42nd president was a special, wonderful, indispensable guy.

The effort no doubt arises in part from a meeting held last year in Harlem, when the ex-president urged his crew to start promoting the virtues of a presidency who was more notable for scandal and entertainment than actual achievement.

In any event, former Clinton pit puppy Paul Begala decided to sing his old boss's praises recently in an interview with the Buzzflash. com website. Among Begala's more memorable mots: "I think Bush is a much bigger phony than Al Gore could ever be."

Of conservative Republicans: "I believe these people hate themselves. I believe they hate our country. I believe they hate our culture. And they can't deal with that ... so they project it onto (Bill Clinton.)"

And finally, of the Clinton presidency: "We were the most ethical administration in history."

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