George W Bush’s recent speech has attracted some interesting press. It has also given Jonah Goldberg something interesting to say about The Donald and his relationship to others. Let’s start with the speech. The Politico title is: Full Text George W. Bush Speech On Trumpism. It connects to Edward-Isaac Dovere’s article: George W. Bush Slams Trumpism, Without Mentioning The President By Name. The two titles give it away. W is now a leftist hero because he attacked The Donald even though he did not mention him.
We read the speech and thought The Donald wasn’t the main target. In one paragraph he uses the time frame since World War II. In the next paragraph W says the following:
For more than 70 years, the presidents of both parties believed that American security and prosperity were directly tied to the success of freedom in the world. And they knew that the success depended, in large part, on U.S. leadership. This mission came naturally, because it expressed the DNA of American idealism.
So does the 70 years mean from 1945 to 2015? We don’t think it does for two reasons. One, FDR became a fan of US leadership in the late 30s or early 40s. We think that his relationship with Churchill dates it in the 30s. Second, the US president from 2009 to 2017 was no fan of freedom in the world or US leadership. We see the criticisms from W falling at least as heavily on him as The Donald.
That brings us around to Jonah. We think that recently he has missed that there are many of us who voted for The Donald because we felt he was the better choice. We still think that is true. But Jonah has a crucial point:
But it seems like almost everybody is only hearing what they want to hear. Liberals, the media, and — importantly — President Trump’s Amen Corner all heard the same thing in Bush’s remarks: “Blah, blah, blah, blah, Trump Bad.” That’s why Bush is suddenly benefitting from a strange new respect from liberals and a strange new hatred from former supporters.
Our reaction is clearly within those bounds of hearing what we want to hear although we continue to be a big supporter of W, much less excited about The Donald, and decidedly unenthusiastic about the president between them. Shortly after that Jonah asks:
I want to ask you to entertain a thought experiment. Imagine, if just for a moment, that all of you who fall into one of these camps are entirely wrong. What if President Bush was aiming his fire at Democrats and liberals?
We are not a liberal and we are not in The Donald’s Amen Corner (but we are fans of Amen Corner at Augusta). We think that W was defending his administration but that he did direct most of his fire at the Democrats and liberals. We like Jonah’s point and question. We all need to ask if we misunderstand somebody. This is especially true when they don’t name names. When we read the speech by W we were shocked to see the headline and the related article. We saw it as an epic takedown of that other president. Try going through it line by line and see what you think. As for now, Jonah is back as a must read for us.