43 and 41
John Wayne may have starred in the Sands of Iwo Jima but he sure as hell
never fought there and his real name wasn't John, it was Marion. I just
thought that 43 (that's the 43rd President George W Bush) should be told
that in case he never heard it from 41 (the 41st President George HW Bush).
43 learned much at his father's knees sometimes by following in his
footsteps sometimes by taking a different path. I'm a little troubled by
some of the lessons he seems to have learned.
41 came from Tom Browkaw's "greatest generation." 43 came from what Ann
Coulter (the liberal despising columnist) describes as the "least-great
generation." 41 was a flyer and a war hero in WWII. 43 followed 41 into the
cockpit but only after enjoying his college deferment from the draft. 43
didn't serve in Vietnam but flew for the Texas Air Guard. Missing the
call-up to active duty was an unlucky break.
43 didn't just follow 41's footsteps into the Presidency. Both were
wildcatters. These are the storied men who gamble by drilling for oil. They
were both successful. 41 found oil. 43 found millionaire investors.
43 picked up 41's love of baseball and used his investor's money to buy a
part interest in a professional baseball team.
43 learned from 41 that the public hates taxes. However, unlike 41, when 43
said "read my lips" he meant it, even if the result was deficit spending.
43 learned from 41 that the new God-fearing Republican Party distrusts
liberals and moderates. 41 never could shake the Party's suspicion that he
was a closet liberal. 43 became a fervent, Israel supporting, conservative
Christian. Rather than keep a tight reign on Israel, like 41 did, 43 has
given Israel a blank check.
As a Presidential candidate 43 seemed to take a page from 41's book when he
told voters that a humble America would find more favor with the world than
an arrogant America. This wasn't surprising since 41 had been America's
Ambassador to the United Nations.
Avoiding quagmires is easier when you have friends. 41 knew this and built a
huge alliance for the first Gulf War. 43, on the other hand, has a clever
Defense Secretary who has insulted our allies with relish. Faced with a
small coalition going into the Gulf 43 has taken to calling his Father's old
ambassador post an irrelevancy.
43 learned the dangerous lesson from 41 that America had gotten over
Vietnam. I say "dangerous" because, it may not have occurred to 43 that
while we've gotten over Vietnam we could still stumble into another such
41 failed to teach 43 the important lesson learned by President 36, that we
can't afford a "guns and butter" policy. During 36's tenure, guns, (the war
in Vietnam) and, butter (the war on poverty) bankrupted America. 41 called
this "voodoo economics." But President 40 practiced voodoo economics and was
very popular despite the vast debt he built up. 43 is sticking with voodoo
So today 43 faces the prospect of going to war in a few weeks while the
weather is with us and the world is against us. If we win quickly, catch all
of Hussein's flying monkeys and lock them up, find a grateful Iraqi
population willing to set their ancient hatreds aside while we police them
it could a great triumph for American foreign policy.
Of course, if we get stuck in a terrorist's playground for a decade and
become desperate, paranoid and vengeful like the Israelis it will be a
fiasco. It will be especially bad if every terrorist we kill is replaced by
two more (which is what happened in Ancient Greece whenever some hero
chopped off one of the heads of the terrible Hydra).
Deciding whether to attack now or later is a decision a wildcatter might
relish. It's too bad for 43 that there are no millionaires in sight. 41 got
his friends to pay for the last Gulf War but 43 can't even bribe anyone to
help us. The Turks turned down thirty billion dollars which, by coincidence,
is the total deficit that the fifty states are currently facing. If 43 takes
us to war he'd better strike oil. If he doesn't he'll be a one term President like his Dad.
John Wayne, made it look so easy.
Welty is a small time politician who lets it all hang out at www.snowbizz.com