WS>>I Was Wrong About Bush

carl william spitzer iv cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Wed Feb 20 20:57:36 MST 2002


          Any  number of hankie wringers and detractors  are
          singing a new song today.  My bumper sticker says:
          "Now Aren't You Glad Bush Won Instead of Gore?"

          Dan G <ViewPtAmer at aol.com>
          **************


          He's proved himself to be the leader America needs.
          BY GERALD POSNER
          Tuesday, September 25, 2001

          What a difference 10 months make. Last November I broke
     the  unwritten rule that requires journalists to be  neutral
     political observers when I got embroiled in the  controversy
     over  the  presidential election and publicly  supported  Al
     Gore.

          It was not just with friends that I passionately argued
     the election had been stolen and that Mr. Gore would be  the
     better president. I was one of the signatories to the  pomp-
     ously  titled  "Emergency Committee  of  Concerned  Citizens
     2000,"  which took full-page ads in the New York  Times  de-
     manding  a revote in Palm Beach County, Fla. I wrote  op-eds
     for  Salon.com  and the New York Daily News.  On  television
     talk  shows from MSNBC to Fox News's popular  "The  O'Reilly
     Factor,"  I made the case for Mr. Gore. In thousands  of  e-
     mails,  I urged voters to deluge Clay Roberts,  director  of
     Florida's Division of Elections, with appeals for a recount.

          Of course, I did not know whether the election had gone
     for  Mr.  Gore or George W. Bush. As a partisan, I  did  not
     care.  I  was convinced that Mr. Gore was by far  the  best-
     qualified  candidate and the man most fit to lead  the  U.S.
     Mr. Bush was not only untested nationally, but he seemed  to
     me  bereft  of the character or intellect to become  a  real
     leader,  and I feared that four years, and  possibly  eight,
     under Mr. Bush would set the country back.

          How wrong I was. Since the murderous terror attacks  on
     the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush  has
     come  alive  in a way I did not think possible.  It  was  as
     though  the  attack on America--which he rightly  called  an
     "act of war" from the start--gave him a focus and clarity  I
     had not earlier seen.

          If  there was a single event that convinced me my  ini-
     tial  feelings  were wrong, it was  the  president's  rather
     remarkable  speech  to the country and a  joint  session  of
     Congress  last Thursday. Like Franklin Roosevelt or  Winston
     Churchill, he rallied a country's spirit, he had the courage
     to  tell us the bad news that the upcoming battle  would  be
     neither swift nor easy, and he declared that those who would
     destroy our culture and values would not prevail.

          I  had  always  found Mr. Bush stiff  in  his  scripted
     speeches. But last Thursday he was infused with passion  and
     outrage. His sincerity was heartfelt, and boosted almost all
     who listened to him. And precisely because we all know he is
     not  a  masterful  orator, the power of his  words  and  the
     forcefulness  of his delivery carried even more  impact.  He
     rose to this most important occasion.

          Sometimes  historians wonder whether great leaders  are
     made  by the crises they confront, or whether they would  be
     great leaders even in untroubled times. More often than not,
     real leadership flourishes when faced with imminent  threats
     and dangers. That is what America faces at the start of  the
     21st century from a radical perversion of Islam. And  Presi-
     dent  Bush showed all of us who doubted him, and  who  voted
     against him, that he is indeed a leader.

          There will be numerous tests for him in the long battle
     ahead. But, as of now, he has converted many of us to admir-
     ers, and he deserves our complete support. The entire admin-
     istration,  from  Colin Powell to Donald  Rumsfeld  to  Dick
     Cheney, inspires more confidence as we embark on this uncer-
     tain war than we likely would have had in any Gore  adminis-
     tration.

          I must sadly admit that Bill Clinton, for whom I  voted
     twice, could not have delivered that same clear speech  last
     Thursday.  His  almost compulsive need to please  all  sides
     would have prevented him from casting the issues as  starkly
     or as unequivocally.

          My  late father used to tell me that one of  the  hall-
     marks  of good character is the courage to  admit  mistakes.
     Most people who lock themselves into a public position  want
     to keep defending their original stance, even when in  their
     heart  they know subsequent events have proven  them  incor-
     rect.

          Well,  I was vocal last year in stating my firm  belief
     that the wrong man was elected president. Now I am compelled
     to  admit I was mistaken. The best man for  this  incredibly
     hard campaign is now president. I suspect many of my  fellow
     Democrats feel exactly the same way.

          Mr.  Posner is the author of numerous  books  including
     "Case  Closed:  Lee Harvey Oswald and the  Assassination  of
     JFK.

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