Does Dowd Miss Bush Now?

It is hard to remember the euphoria, particularly on the part of the Left and the Left’s spokes people when President Barack Obama was inaugurated into office in 2009. There was weariness and apprehension after President George Bush’s eight years and the new president came into office amid hope and approval percentages approaching 70%. With a struggling economy, an unpopular health care program, and a number of missteps, Obama’s approval has quickly submerged below 50%.

When Obama was inaugurated there was every reason for the Left to walk with a cheerful step in their gait, and little reason to be snarky. Some could not resist. Appearing on a news program, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, could not help but nod in knowing agreement with the interviewer that the “nightmare” was over. She compared Bush’s leaving office to the feeling of lightness and relief when an exorcist manages to cast away evil spirits. According to Dowd, Bush was the president who let New Orleans drown and trumped up the Iraq War.

Post-presidency, Bush has exhibited more class than his critics, remaining largely silent, letting the current president govern without the second-guessing of a previous president. Bush showed this admirably restraint even as Obama has been quick to blame current economic woes on his predecessor, after more than eighteen months and a trillion dollar stimulus package that hasn’t seemed to jump start the economy as promised.

Now that Obama has grossly mismanaged the controversy about the potential construction near ground zero, with a muddled message, Dowd wants Bush to pull Obama’s bacon out the political flames. Dowd writes:

“The war against the terrorists is not a war against Islam. In fact, you can’t have an effective war against the terrorists if it is a war on Islam. George W. Bush understood this. And it is odd to see Barack Obama less clear about this matter than his predecessor. It’s time for W. to weigh in. This — along with immigration reform and AIDS in Africa — was one of his points of light. As the man who twice went to war in the Muslim world, he has something of an obligation to add his anti-Islamophobia to this mosque madness. W. needs to get his bullhorn back out.’’

It would have demonstrated more charity than Dowd can apparently could muster to have made similar acknowledgments as Bush was leaving office. Now it just appears as uncharacteristically obsequious praise to urge Bush to do Dowd’s bidding. Perhaps she can increase the praise ante by also agreeing that the recent removal of combat troops from Iraq, on Bush’s negotiated schedule, was a consequence of the successful surge strategy. This was a strategy she previously mocked as a “girdle,’’ and once “Peaches Petraeus, as he was known growing up in Cornwall-on-Hudson, takes the girdle off, the center will not hold.’’

Dowd is tone-deaf if she believes that the opposition to the mosque is anti-Muslim. In this way, she mimics Obama’s style in always assuming the worst motives for those who disagree with her. Could there not be people legitimately concerned that the mosque was built as a trophy of the 9/11 attacks as people as reputable and knowledgeable and with as much moral authority as Ayaan Hirsi Ali suggest? Is it not legitimate to ask, if the purpose of the mosque and community center is to encourage healing and reconciliation, that mosque backers be sensitive to the feelings of people who they are ostensibly building a bridge to?

In the 2009 interview, Dowd made one accurate observation. The American people look to their leaders to represent their values and are displeased when the leaders do not. In the case of the mosque, most are not pleased with Obama. Dowd blames the two-thirds of Americans who wish that the mosque be built a littler further away from the place where radical Islamists killed more 2700 in the name of Islam.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.