Several commentators and bloggers, such as Scott Johnson and Mark Steyn and others, have noted the angry reaction, on the part of Democrats, to President Bush’s recent speech in celebration of the State of Israel’s 60th Anniversary.
But might close analysis of the President’s speech and the response to it really miss much of the point. From a political standpoint, it does not matter whether President was thinking of anyone in particular when he criticized appeasement. What matters is that President Bush can be portrayed as a mean-spirited ideologue.
In 1992, the U.S. economy was in fairly good shape, but that didn’t stop the Clinton campaign from running with the slogan "it’s the economy stupid." In 1995, President Clinton shut down the government by vetoing a perfectly reasonable budget, but that did not stop him from successfully blaming Congress for the shut-down. The same thing, I suspect, is going on here. Obama and the others are out to score political points. What Pressident Bush actually meant is barely relevant.
The shoe so fits that it is unmistakably theirs. It is the style that bothers them, as if Obama & co. were caught in public in gaudy heels. He (and any other of the type) has to complain, "Oh! These are not my shoes. I can't imagine how they got on my feet!"
I do hope the president keeps it up. What has he got to lose at this point?
Richard: you're right, hermeneutic generosity is not a principle of ordinary political rhetoric. The irony is that it's hard to state Bush's central claim in a persuasive fashion without relying on precisely the kind of distortion that you're decrying here. Or, do you really think that people in Bush's own administration (and elsewhere) who are negotiating with Iran or have called for such negotiations are uniformly starry-eyed about its possibilities, such that they deserve the label "appeasers"?