How long should we wait before deciding if the Iraq project is a success? And, what is success? Earlier this week, senior Bush officials called for patience on the matter, although they surely know that patience is not America's strong suit. In fact, we are the least patient people in the world. Long, steady, incremental gains is not what we are brought up to admire. Our heroes are soldiers and ball players, not diplomats and gardeners. We like maximum, full bore, explosive action -- followed by glorious victory and exhaustion. (Some nasty Frenchmen even suggest that our lovemaking adheres to that pace.) Every American boy dreams of hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth or a touchdown pass with 10 seconds to go. Few of our sons dream of adjudicating conflict resolutions over several years. When our immigrant ancestors on the East Coast failed to get rich quickly enough, they saddled up, headed West, killed the Indians and grabbed the best land to raise their cattle, their families and their stations in life.
This admirable American characteristic (with apologies to the red Indians we overran) has been compounded (and distorted) with the rise of the baby boomers. The first television-raised generation grafted on to a healthy impatience the similar, but less admirable, traits of short attention spans and the urge to instant gratification. We boomers are now in command as the senior editors and producers in the media, and most of the senior members of government. Even boomer President Bush -- who has famously called himself a patient man (about an hour and a half before ordering our military into combat) -- unadvisedly suggested several weeks ago that the Iraq project could be judged by next November. He and we should not be so impatient. But it is going to be a hard impulse to overcome. We live our lives in fast forward. We buy our food already cooked. We get our Christmas trees already cut. We, too, often make love before we have made friends. We are used to seeing an international crises resolved in an hour on "The West Wing."
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.