Saturday, November 06, 2004

Here’s E.J. Dionne

“Let's be honest: We are aghast at the success of a campaign based on vicious personal attacks, the exploitation of strong religious feelings and an effort to create the appearance of strong leadership that would do Hollywood proud. We are alarmed that so many of our fellow citizens could look the other way and not hold Bush accountable for utter incompetence in Iraq and for untruths spoken in defense of the war. We are amazed that a majority was not concerned about heaping a huge debt burden on our children just to give large tax breaks to the rich.

“And we are disgusted that an effort consciously designed to divide the country did exactly that -- and won.”

Vicious personal attacks: This is the sound of an otherwise bright guy in deep and whiny denial. The “vicious personal attacks” on John Kerry involved skepticism about his Vietnam record and rage about his betrayal of veterans upon his return from combat. George W. Bush, in contrast, had to put up with Fahrenheit 911, the rantings of every known rock star and most Hollywood celebs, bogus stories about his National Guard record, “lost” munitions, human-rights abuses, etc. The only conclusions one can draw here are that E.J. hasn’t read his own side’s rantings.

Strong religious feelings: This has become the central gripe in the after-action kvetching. The president stands accused of whipping up religious fervor. So here’s a question: How? What did he say? Name one statement.

Fact is, John Kerry talked more often about “faith” on the stump than the president did. He’s the one who pelted us with altar-boy remembrances and confessions that he had grown beyond the boundaries of the Magisterium. Here’s the dirty little secret: The left long ago killed God and replaced Him with an assemblage of bureaucratic gnomes – clerks, check-cutters, and form dispensers who claim godlike powers to heal the sick, comfort the afflicted, console those in mourning and – at least in John Edwards’ calculation – raise the dead and let quadriplegics leap to their feet and join the cast of Riverdance.

It all comes down to this: Conservatism is the doctrine that absolute truth exists. Our Creator endowed us with inalienable rights and more. We enter this vale of tears possessing senses of right and wrong, good and evil, freedom and obligation. Socialism and its watered-down progeny regard absolutism as a dangerous and silly thing. They also reject the notion that individuals bear principal responsibility for their actions -- preferring to reduce all to debris swept forward by the stream of history. By the same token, the left prefers to outsource good deeds to the state -- hence the weird phrase, "government compassion."

Leadership: As for the claim that George Bush “created the appearance of strong leadership:” Wrong. The president practiced strong leadership – and that was John Kerry’s chief complaint against him. The president stood up to a dissolute and corrupt United Nations, a dissolute and corrupt Europe and a dissolute and corrupt Arab world. Oh yes, he also took on the Taliban, bin Laden and Saddam. In failing the “global test,” he passed the test of leadership.

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