Lord knows I have my problems with President Bush. He taps the federal coffers like a monkey smacking the bar for another cocaine pellet in an addiction study. Some of his sentences give me the same sensation as falling backward in one of those "trust" exercises, in which you just have to hope things work out. Yes, the Iraq invasion has gone badly, and to deny this is to suggest that Bush meant for things to turn out this way, which is even crueler than saying he failed to get it right.
But you know what? It's time to cut the guy some slack.
...the Bush-bashers have lost credibility. The most delicious example came last week when it was finally revealed that Colin Powell's oak-necked majordomo Richard Armitage -- and not some star-chamber neocon -- "outed" Valerie Plame, the spousal prop of Washington's biggest ham, Joe Wilson. Now it turns out that instead of "Bush blows CIA agent's cover to silence a brave dissenter" -- as Wilson practices saying into the mirror every morning -- the story is, "One Bush enemy inadvertently taken out by another's friendly fire."
And then there's Hurricane Katrina. Yes, the federal government could have responded better. And of course there were real tragedies involved in that disaster. But you know what? Bad stuff happens during disasters, which is why we don't call them tickle-parties.
The Mississippi coast was hit harder by Katrina than New Orleans was. And although New Orleans' levee failure was a unique problem -- one the local leadership ignored for decades -- the devastation in Mississippi was in many respects more severe. And you know what? Mississippi has the same federal government as Louisiana, and reconstruction there is going gangbusters while, after more than $120 billion in federal spending, New Orleans remains a basket case. Here's a wacky idea: Maybe it's not all Bush's fault.
That's why Bush's Democratic critics flit about like bilious butterflies, exploiting each superficial or transient problem just long enough to score some points in the polls, then moving on. Bush's Medicare plan was an egregious corporate giveaway, they cried, until seniors overwhelmingly reported that they like it. And the Patriot Act? Can anyone even remember what the Democrats were whining about? I think it had something to do with libraries that were never searched.
Look, things could obviously be a lot better. But they could be a lot worse too. John Kerry could be President.