A tale of two presidencies, brought to you courtesy of the two most important newspapers in America. Item No. 1 comes to us courtesy of the New York Times:
Why I Miss George W. Bush, by Mehdi Hasan
AS a Briton who, like millions of my compatriots, opposed the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, I did not expect to ever find much to admire about President George W. Bush. But as a Muslim who has come to work in America, I have recently had to revise my opinion.
A “Briton”? Really? In fact, Mr. Hasan in an Indian Muslim, who wrote a biography of the former hard-left (his father was a Marxist) Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, and is a presenter for Al Jazeera. So why, one wonders, does he miss George Bush?
Less than a week after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed 2,996 people, President Bush held a news conference at the Islamic Center of Washington. “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam,” he said, flanked by imams and community leaders. “Islam is peace.” It was a message repeated often in the months and years afterward. “Our war is against evil,” the president said, “not against Islam.”
Right. We know all that. It’s one of the reasons for the West’s unwillingness to name its enemy. So why now is the Al Jazeera host and Miliband biographer bringing it up now?
Fourteen years later, such remarks seem distant, if not improbable, amid the miasma of anti-Muslim hate and fearmongering fostered by the Republican candidates for president.
According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, unfavorable views of Islamjumped 18 points among Republicans between October 2001 and March 2009. The election of a nonwhite president with Hussein as a middle name, not to mention the rise of the self-declared Islamic State, only served to harden the prejudices of some core G.O.P. voters. Today, fully 83 percent of Republicans agree with Dr. Carson that a Muslim shouldn’t be president. Only half (49 percent) of G.O.P. voters in Iowa think Islam should be legal in the United States.
Whatever could the reason for that be, aside from sheer bigotry? Read the rest of this propaganda piece if you like and notice how it avoids any mention of Paris or any of the other recent Muslim atrocities. Meanwhile (as Glenn Reynolds might say), another rube self-identifies over at the Washington Post. That would be long-time columnist Richard Cohen:
The presidency has changed Barack Obama. His hair has gone gray, which is to be expected, and he looks older, which is also to be expected, but his eloquence has been replaced by petulance and he has lost the power to persuade, which is something of a surprise. You can speculate that if the Obama of today and not Winston Churchill had led Britain in World War II, the Old Vic theater would now be doing “Hamlet” in German.
The president has lost his voice, that is certain. The numbers say so. Obama has the approval of only 44 percent of the American people. During his time in office, Congress and much of the nation have gone Republican — statehouse after statehouse, governor after governor (soon to be 32) — an astounding feat when you consider that the GOP has become the Know-Nothing Party in all its meanings.