It’s time to discuss seriously the means by which President Bush can maintain some sense of order and mission to his remaining time in office or, as Bill Clinton found necessary in his dark days of 1994-95, the pursuit of relevance. Clinton found it in a gift from Newt Gingrich in the budget impasse over the government shut down. I have no good answer for Bush. In the wake of the immigration defeat, he will almost certainly have to find relevance to some extent in obstructing the various Democratic domestic schemes, but must also necessarily have some help from the war effort. In fact, so much depends on external events and the situation on the ground in Iraq, and almost no one hasn’t made up their mind on that, or is open to be persuaded, or is even paying much attention to progress reports. In addition, it is clear that the administration is obviously tired and frustrated and the arguments for victory in Iraq are now fewer and even less often heard or heeded. The President is to be greatly commended for his persistence and determination and I continue to hold out hope that his mission will be vindicated in the end. The problem is that the conservative movement and the party that carries its banner may be irreparably damaged in the meantime, and many of its stalwarts have already bailed out.
It is one of the great tragedies that the mission in Iraq, as well as the broader mission against Islamofacsism, has failed to gain traction on the points that were absolutely critical:
- the ability to achieve total moral clarity,
- success in identifying the enemy, and
- convincing enough opinion leaders of the magnitude of the threat, the consequences of defeat, and the necessity of pre-emption.
To compound the problem, all of these were undermined by fifty years of encroachment by the insidious ideologies of multiculturalism and moral relativism in our cultural institutions. But I continue to assert that, whatever the outcome of the election in November 2008, the President who takes the oath of office in January 2009 will be the President of a nation at war, and, if not the Bush Doctrine, had better have something pretty close to it ready for implementation. If nothing else, this fact will continue to sustain his relevance.