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
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-
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-
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
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