The American presidency has been called "A Glorious Burden" by the Smithsonian Museum, and the loneliest job in the world by historians. As we approach Christmas 2006 Anno Domini, President Bush is surely fully seized of the loneliness and burden of his office.
For rarely has a president stood more alone at a moment of high crisis than does our president now as he makes his crucial policy decisions on the Iraq War. His political opponents stand triumphant, yet barren of useful guidance. Many -- if not most -- of his fellow party men and women in Washington are rapidly joining his opponents in a desperate effort to save their political skins in 2008. Commentators who urged the president on in 2002-03, having fallen out of love with their ideas, are quick to quibble with and defame the president.
James Baker, being called out of his business dealings by Congress to advise the president, has delivered a cynical document intended to build a political consensus for "honorable" surrender. Richard Haas (head of the Council on Foreign Relations) spoke approvingly of the Baker report on "Meet the Press," saying: " It's incredibly important ... that the principle lesson [of our intervention in Iraq] not be that the United States is unreliable or we lacked staying power ... to me it is essentially important for the future of this country that Iraq be seen, if you will, as Iraq's failure, not as America's failure."
That such transparent sophism from the leader of the American foreign policy establishment is dignified with the title of realism only further exemplifies the loneliness of the president in his quest for a workable solution to the current danger.
Not surprisingly the most recent polls show just 21 percent approval of his handling of the war -- an 8 percent drop since the election, and that mostly from Republicans and conservatives. Overall, his job approval level is down to 31 percent.
If Washington gossip is right, even many of the president's own advisers in the White House and the key cabinet offices have given up on success. Official Washington, the media and much of the public have fallen under the unconscionable thrall of defeatism. Which is to say that they cannot conceive of a set of policies -- for a nation of 300 million with an annual GDP of over $12 trillion and all the skills and technologies known to man -- to subdue the city of Baghdad and environs. Do you think Gen. Patton or Abe Lincoln or Winston Churchill or Joseph Stalin would have thrown their hands up and said, "I give up, there's nothing we can do"?
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.