His Victory, Our Luck
John Podhoretz, on President Bush’s reelection: His Victory, Our Luck.
November 3, 2004 — HE said he would do things — and he did them.
He said he would protect the American people by fighting a War on Terror — and he has. He said he would hold al Qaeda and its host regime in Afghanistan responsible for their crimes and that he would roust them from their safe haven — and he did it.
He said he would never forget the lessons of 9/11 — and he hasn’t.
He said he would lead a coalition of nations to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and he did it. He said he would work to turn the tyrannies of Iraq and Afghanistan toward democracy, and he has — the glorious election in the latter will soon be followed by a spirited contest in the former.
He said he would cut taxes and he did it. He said he would cut them again and he did it. He said he would pass an education-reform bill and he did it. He said he would increase military pay and veterans benefits and he did it. He said he would fight AIDS with an unprecedented $15 billion program and he’s doing it.
He said he would not force Israel to conform to American timetables for peace, and he kept to his word. He said he would side with all nations that fought terror, and he meant it because he stood with and by Israel when nobody else in the world would.
He said he would do what he could to respect unborn life, and he did — by signing the act banning the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion.
The key to understanding his victory is that he is a man of action. After a 2000 election in which he did not win a mandate, he chose to govern by seeking to institute the agenda he ran on. This was a bold stroke. He might have been careful, cautious, a tip-toer, trying not to offend too many people.
Instead, he governed. He took the view that a president can either lead or follow. He chose to lead.