Urbin Report

Sunday, November 09, 2003

This will drive the far left loonie Dems crazy...Andrew Sullivan compares GWB to JFK

JFK AND GWB: During the primary season (the last go-round) I wrote a speculative (and somewhat hostile) piece comparing then-candidate George W. Bush with former president John F Kennedy. I meant it as a useful mind-exercise, but as time has gone on, I think the analogy strengthens. The backgrounds are similar: unruly scions of political families, young men who got their start in politics through pure nepotism. Their frat-boy garrulousness, their effortless patriotism, their family loyalties - it all works until you get to the moment when GWB gave up the wild life at 40 and JFK kept his going. But on policy, they're also much more similar than either the right or the left is comfortable conceding. They both came into office in a disupted election after a two-term president who presided over a major boom. President Kennedy fought an election on hawkish foreign policy; the current President Bush walked backward into hawkishness through the drastic orientation of 9/11. Both cut taxes and unleashed periods of economic growth. And both argued uncompromisingly for democracy across the world. Some boomers may also see in Iraq the same pattern as president Kennedy's early foray into Vietnam. I'd disagree strongly, but history will surely judge in due course. Perhaps more tellingly, both used powerful and moving rhetoric to assert the exceptionalism of the United States at a time when it was being attacked. President Bush's speech Thursday at the National Endowment for Democracy was perhaps the highpoint of this president's transformation into an old-style Democrat in foreign policy. Too bad the Democrats can neither see this nor profit from it.