Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Man of the Year

As by now all the world knows, Time magazine picked President George W. Bush as its 2004 Man of the Year. Well, okay, since 1999, Time, (which has been giving out this title since 1927), made the obligatory salaam to political correctness, changed the designation to "Person of the Year." PC does not reign in these parts, however. The title is given to the man, woman, idea, etc that "for better or worse, has most influenced events in the preceeding year."
El Jefe has no quibble with Time's selection of President Bush, clearly the obvious choice this year -- if only because Time did not choose him last year, when the decisions that will define his term, and probably the first quarter of this century, were made. Last year's selection was "The American Soldier" -- and El Jefe does not quibble with that choice either, because the soldiers, sailors and airmen deserve and need all the plaudits they can get.
Shortly before the election, the Dallas Morning News rightly called President Bush’s first term “the most eventful and consequential four year served by any US president since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term.” His decision to prosecute and stick with the war in Iraq, despite great potential political cost to himself, clearly shows Bush is a leader, and if, as El Jefe confidently expects, the war is ultimately a success, it will mark him as one of the great Presidents.
If President Bush has done nothing else, the liberation of Iraq has reinforced the concept that America is still a sovereign nation-state, not to be dictated to by international bureaucrats, that America will do what is necessary to protect itself and its friends, and will not and cannot be tied down by all the petty threads with which the Chiracs, the Schroeders and the Kofi Annans of the world wish to bind it.
Some of us love President Bush best because of the enemies he has made – anybody whom Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, George Soros, Ramsey Clark, the folks at Moveon.org, and the other cravens who want to truckle to the terrorists, the friends of the terrorists, and the UN and oil-up to the French, the Germans and the other foreigners must be a person worth supporting. The rebuke administered on 2 November by the American people to these creatures and their foreign friends is a big step on the road towards winning this war.

To be sure, there are reasons not to uncritically admire President Bush. His inability and unwillingness (and that of the Republican Party) to control domestic spending is cause for concern, as is the pinchbeck approach to financing the war. El Jefe hopes and expects that in his second term, President Bush will become “Mr. Veto” and stop runaway spending, curb entitlements, and put the financing of the war and the necessary military and intelligence expansion on a sound basis.
Time's choice of President Bush is more sensible than some of its recent choices. For example, as much as El Jefe admires and likes Rudolph Giuliani, and hates Osama Bin Laden -- picking Mayor Giuliani over the Mad Mullah in 2001 just does not seem defensible by Time's own criteria. Remember it's the person "for better or worse" has most influenced events that year. Time was much, and wrongly, criticized for picking another Mad Mullah -- Ayatollah Khomeini, as Man of the Year in 1979, and since that time seems to have shied away from picking negative or controversial choices. Also, the selection of President Bush in 2000, despite the crazy election that year, seems open to criticism. Perhaps the Supreme Court would have been a better selection.
Far more interesting, however, than quibbling about past choices, is speculating on who might be next. . .which involves a certain amount of speculation about what the approaching New Year will bring.
So. . .El Jefe's early bet for Time's 2005 Man (or Person, if you prefer) of the Year is. . .
Kim Jong-il.

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