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Preview: RealClearPolitics - Articles - Mark Davis

RealClearPolitics - Articles - Mark Davis

Last Build Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2009 00:33:38 -0600

Copyright: Copyright 2009

Obama Stimulates Fear, Doom & Gloom

Wed, 11 Feb 2009 00:33:38 -0600

Nor does it involve letting our suffering economy recover the way it always has, by relying on the engine of free markets.

Obama, known for his unflappable cool on the campaign trail, now comes to us with doom saying that makes Jimmy Carter look like Richard Simmons.

Carter merely saddled us with the stigma of "malaise," acknowledging the wrecked economy beneath him by giving voice, not solutions, to a nation's discomfort. Even this worst of presidents during my lifetime (so far) did not try to pull off this kind of economic hijacking.

When Ronald Reagan inherited an economy far worse than today's, his first instinct was to prop up the American spirit by reminding us that American talents and ingenuity would get us out of that mess.

And they did. Reagan did not, in fact, "create" 20 million jobs, he merely tilled the economic landscape with policies designed to make job creation favorable.

Today, we hear shameful fear mongering from an administration that can no longer hide its lust to open the floodgates filled with our money, so they can buy off reliable Democrat constituencies

"Doing nothing is not an option," Obama is fond of saying. Actually, those of us who still believe in the American workforce and a robust private sector do indeed want to do something.

The running narrative that only a trillion-dollar-plus stimulus package can fend off near-term disaster apparently did not inject sufficient fear into the masses. The president, long used to crowds falling like plums at his feet, thus needed to ramp things up to prod skeptics who have failed to defer to his redistributionist instincts.

Invoking a "crisis" that "we may not be able to reverse," Obama last week sought to alarm the numbed millions whose attention span goes no broader than "economy's bad, government's gotta do something."

This stunningly craven scam continued in his Monday night news conference. "Ideological blockage" is the dismissive insult he reserved for Republicans who are trying to prevent the digging of a trillion-dollar hole our kids and grandkids will have to dig out of. Those would be the Republicans who reflect the skepticism seen in majorities of Americans polled on this pig in a poke.

So what's it going to be? Are we going to allow this suddenly rattled and jumpy president to bankrupt our children and our children's children so he and Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank can say they did something?

They're doing something, all right. In an economic mess that featured mortgages at its root, they are mortgaging the fates of future generations of Americans so they can engage in the backslapping that always accompanies the moments when self-satisfied politicians know they have put one over on us.

Let the denizens who have brought us to this ledge smile widely now, because there will be little to smile about when the bill comes due, a prospect made even sadder by the fact that the economy would have come around anyway.

Thank You, Mr. President

Wed, 14 Jan 2009 00:27:26 -0600

Whether in the media or the general public, the aptly titled Bush Derangement Syndrome may stem from his enemies' inability to stomach his 2000 win, decided, as the rules require, not by the popular vote won by Al Gore or by their wish to steal a state Gore did not win, but by the facts and the law.

But it is more likely the war that enrages them, as it has toppled their comfortable notions of innocuous, persuadable terrorists and the high-mindedness of pacifism.

I wanted to make sure any moments I had with the president and first lady that night contained one thing. With my wife standing with me and our two kids secure at home in Texas, I wanted above all else to thank him for keeping my family and my country safe.

From Guantanamo to warrantless wiretaps to secret prisons to the sparse examples of waterboarding, his assertions of presidential power have yielded seven years of no attacks on our soil, a detail lost on the crowd that views Halliburton as a greater evil than Saddam Hussein.

For them, just as it was never enough to simply disagree with the Bush agenda, his departure is not limited to relief or even celebration. It is an occasion to suggest, as the reliably hateful Bob Herbert has for years from his New York Times pulpit, that President Bush has intentionally sent our sons and daughters into harm's way, corrupted the Constitution and mistreated those poor souls at Guantanamo, all with malevolent intent.

I would guess that most of those grieving families do not share Herbert's profane belief that their loved ones died in vain. If there is a shred of decency left in these unhinged critics now that they can watch the president they loathe slip into private life, let them restrain themselves from wrapping their hatred of the war in a camouflage of feigned concern for those who have fought it.

I do not presume unanimous war support among bereaved families. But most will be proud, forever, of their sons and daughters, and their mission, and the commander in chief who gave them orders to liberate millions so that democracy can have a chance to calm the terror-infested landscape of the Middle East.

Those soldiers have succeeded in that visionary task, and so has this president. He also succeeded in honoring the Constitution with two Supreme Court justices who actually pay attention to it, reducing tensions with North Korea through the diplomacy his critics say he never practices and stopping Al Gore once again, this time by balancing global warming hysteria with rational skepticism.

As our brief chat came to a close, the new couple moving soon onto Daria Place in North Dallas wished us a Merry Christmas. The president then added: "Tell 'em we're coming home...with our heads held high."

As well they should be.

Memo to McCain: You Still Can Win

Wed, 15 Oct 2008 00:44:48 -0600

Just to settle this: The cries you have heard from the faithful to get tougher on Mr. Obama have been a call for heavier artillery against his poor judgment and thin record, not for playground taunts you probably cannot live up to.

I have no idea whether you should try to rhetorically wrap unreformed terrorist Bill Ayers around Mr. Obama's neck tonight. Frankly, I don't know if you can do it skillfully enough to defuse criticisms that you are bringing this sudden concern to the campaign too late.

Some were surprised when you sought to stifle supporters who actually had the misgivings about Mr. Obama that your ads sought to create. It was probably a good idea to tap the brakes on the more over-the-top comments ("I don't trust him, he's an Arab"), but when you said we have nothing to fear from an Obama presidency, it made people wonder if you had sprouted multiple personality disorder.

Your intent was noble. You sought to distance from those who envision President Obama setting up an al-Qaeda cell in the West Wing. But at the political and policy level, there are indeed things to be feared from an Obama presidency, and tonight is the time to focus on them.

Handing Iraq over to terrorists. Insufficient toughness and experience in dealing with world tyrants. Socialist-style redistribution of wealth. A crippling tax increase for countless small businesses. More activist justices on the Supreme Court.

I would have thrown in ballooning federal spending, but your sad support of the bailout and even more disillusioning endorsement of government rescues for individual mortgages obliterates your ability to preach from that pulpit.

It also weakens your support in the GOP base, as voters wonder this: If you sold your soul to the bailout devil, how strong will your spine be when it comes time to offer up Supreme Court nominees who will honor the Constitution?

I even hear from people who wonder about your ability to maintain the war while staring down two hostile houses of Congress. On this, and perhaps only on this, my faith in you is unshaken.

But it is my faith in something else that leaves me still thinking you can win: My belief that Barack Obama is unelectable.

I have faith that America will not turn in these serious times to a candidate so wholly unfit to lead the free world. Your campaign's flaws are playing out in an arena that will be more forgiving as Nov. 4 approaches.

The Obama ride has been historic and scintillating. His political gifts are vast and his campaign skillfully run. But when it comes time for voters to determine who will take the oath Jan. 20, an appreciable number will realize that showering him with adulation on the campaign trail is one thing; handing him the keys to the Oval Office is quite another.

You will win not because your voters are actively thrilled with your agenda, but because they are sufficiently repelled by his.

This is every bit as valid a basis for victory, and you will then have a clean slate on which to write a legacy that I hope is more coherent and compelling than your campaign has been.

Can Palin Take Up the People's Cause?

Wed, 01 Oct 2008 00:50:48 -0600

Instead, the American people intervened, and the nation is far better for it.

No matter how much hand wringing and fear mongering you may have heard since the 228-205 vote, what we saw was real bipartisanship based on genuine public sentiment, rather than the usual kowtowing to moneyed special interests.

Wall Street's cliff dive was all the evidence anyone needed that the vote was exactly the right thing to do.

The stock market is a cauldron of business sentiment, geared to the short-term feelings of Wall Street luminaries. They are properly shell-shocked. Horrible business decisions, often prodded by horrible government decisions, got us into this. Real voters would have nothing to do with a hideous plan that saddled responsible Americans with the unwise dealings of lenders and citizens drunk on decades of an I-want-it-now credit binge.

I know full well that as an "investment," as described by bailout proponents and their media allies, the assumption of billions in bad debt may well have yielded a decent return two or 20 years down the road.

But the point is that there are areas where quick government fixes are a bad idea. This was a prime example, and when Congress actually listened to the people, you could feel the shockwaves rippling from Washington across every time zone.

Bathe luxuriously in this, because it won't happen often. A fat, lazy public that usually loves government rescues actually recoiled at the notion of nationalizing every bad mortgage in America.

The only thing that would make me happier is a president or candidate genuinely in touch with this righteous anger.

Dream on. Mr. Bush swims every day in the confusing pool of "big-government conservatism," his oxymoronic guiding philosophy. And you could feel Sens. McCain and Obama squirm as they dog-paddled through these treacherous waters at their debate.

Mr. Obama dared not reveal his fondness for the bailout, lest voters confirm the big-government altar where he worships. Mr. McCain dared not reveal too much skepticism for fear of being labeled as "doing nothing."

Into that vacuum marched 133 Republicans and 95 Democrats with the guts to say no. The responsibility now falls to them to chart a course to financial stability that places the burden on Washington and Wall Street, rather than a mostly blameless public.

With Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain choosing to enjoy the warm cocoon of pandering, those Americans bold enough to withstand a rough patch to get to a better solution have only one potential champion, and she takes the debate stage tomorrow night.

Let Tina Fey have her fun. The next thing she should imitate is Sarah Palin shedding the shroud McCain handlers have wrapped her in since the convention. If the man at the top can't stake out a difference with Democrats on the financial crisis, maybe his running mate can.

Ms. Palin should wrap this credit mess right around Joe Biden's neck. His party's Clinton-era fetish for extending unwise home loans to undercapitalized applicants - a craven link in the Democratic myth of caring more for minorities - dug the biggest part of this hole.

Ms. Palin can stand alone as the candidate who looks into the camera and say: "America has spoken. No government bailouts. We hear you."

I only hope the McCain handlers unshackle her and allow it.

Three Campaign Lessons So Far

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 00:47:53 -0600

Campaign spending is free speech. Candidates have to spend millions because they have to start running a full year before the Iowa caucuses. (Surely you know fundraising meetings are already underway for 2012.) But why lament this? Candidates ask for money, we give it to them, they run ads, and we either pay attention or not. Campaigns start absurdly early because we pay attention that early. The system works.

As for the tone of ads, every candidate's pledge to campaign less negatively lasts until his chops are busted in an opponent's negative ad. Then comes the "you have to fight back" logic, which may or may not be true because virtually no one has ever failed to fight back.

But, again, is this such a huge problem? Plenty of campaign ads stick to the issues, despite the impossibility of thoroughly addressing any issue in 30 or 60 seconds. Since ads are a terrible basis for making a choice in any election, try ignoring them in favor of the more thoughtful exercise of watching debates and reading multiple sources reporting from the campaign trail.

2. In an irony for the ages, liberal bias in the media culture's ivory towers grew to its shameful worst, and it didn't even matter.

This is the year a Republican convention crowd mocked NBC with derisive chants because that proud network allowed its MSNBC brand to pass off the hateful spewage of Keith Olbermann and others as fair commentary.

This is the year the likable and respectable Charles Gibson risked that reputation on ABC to lay a clumsy trap for Sarah Palin with the absurd "Bush doctrine" question.

This is the year that the mightiest networks and newspapers shed all pretense of even-handedness and willfully joined the Barack Obama campaign in a blood oath to defeat John McCain and savage Ms. Palin in the process.

This will make a McCain-Palin victory particularly sweet for those of us who have had it up to our eyeballs with the advocacy and outright cheerleading that have poisoned newscasts and front pages for decades.

But even if the campaign staffers posing as reporters manage to succeed, the celebration will soon be dampened by the cold realization that the clout they once enjoyed is fading fast, hastened by the damage they have done to the standards of their own profession.

The "new media" - blogs, talk radio, podcasts - are a cauldron of loosely reined info-bits shot from a cannon that never stops firing. But even with their wildly divergent standards and often spotty reliability, these sources offer balance and insights their dinosaur brethren refuse to provide.

Complaining about media bias is so 1996. Millions have simply moved on. The once-venerable media giants who used to be our only spigot for news may strive to win back audiences by rediscovering objectivity, but one wonders how many will notice that they are even trying.

3. To end on an uplifting note, all the haranguing over gender and race has without a doubt moved us toward the goal of toppling both barriers.

No matter which ticket wins, the next candidate of color will have an easier time because of the trail Barack Obama has blazed. The next woman to reach for the White House will benefit from a nation somewhat more used to the prospect because of Ms. Palin's candidacy.

And it is clearer than ever that politics mean far more to Americans than sex or skin color. Plenty of men love Ms. Palin; plenty of women don't. Mr. Obama's count will include more than 90 percent of black votes, yes, but millions of white votes, too. This is nothing but a good thing. The history-making rollercoaster of 2008 should provide a burst of pride for every American.

I would say pride and joy, but the joy part probably hinges on the actual results 37 days from now.

So Where Does Palin Take This?

Wed, 03 Sep 2008 00:53:49 -0600

Sarah Palin will not be the first woman to accept a major party's vice presidential nod, but she's the first with a chance to win. As such, some questions and answers about where she goes from here:

Has she been derailed by the pregnant daughter story?

Barely. The measure of a campaign brushfire is how many voters it stands to cost. So far, the socially conservative base remains grateful to have a John McCain running mate they actually like more than him. To them, the measure of Sarah Palin is not unwise behavior by her almost-adult daughter; it is the loving and poised manner in which she and her family have faced the issue.

But isn't it a concern that there could be more shoes to drop?

Absolutely. Nothing has winged her yet, but heaven knows the portion of the media culture that despises her, from radical left blogs to supposedly mainstream writers and broadcasters, will battle for the medal of honor that will accompany the story that knocks her out of the race.

Will that effort succeed?

Impossible to know. Who saw the pregnant daughter coming? In an Alaskan life that is equal parts quirky and charming, there could lurk any number of stories that could extinguish enthusiasm for her. Or, she could turn out to be every bit the solid, energetic reformer Mr. McCain saw, earning wide benefit of the doubt as a woman whose life story and skills are a breath of fresh air in a country where millions say they weary of stodgy career politicians.

Are there points to be scored in comparing media curiosity in her case vs. Barack Obama and John Edwards?

Here at the Republican convention, sure. As the world puts Sarah Palin under an electron microscope, I've noted that if newspapers and networks had paid one-tenth as much attention to Mr. Edwards, the National Enquirer would not have scooped them on his adultery story. Had they focused as heavily on Mr. Obama's disturbing history of associations, Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee.

But most voters don't pay attention to such things. Instead, they will focus on what Ms. Palin says she and Mr. McCain want to accomplish.

So what should she say tonight?

She should put Washington on notice that real reformers are on the way, people who have fought wasteful spending and corruption, even when it meant challenging their party's power structure.

Mr. Obama never dreamed of taking such risks. As debate swirls over "experience," the McCain-Palin ticket is redefining, not yielding, on the issue by offering an accomplished nominee who seems ready to bring real change, not rhetoric.

At his side, she needs to come across as the perfect complement. Hers is the experience born of small-town values and a big family, high standards and a low tolerance for corruption.

Hers will not be a normal path to the vice presidency. But if there is anything that truly calls out for change, isn't it the heavily trodden path that has led to the culture of cookie-cutter leaders who created so many of the problems we are out to solve?

Clinton Declined, but McCain Won't

Wed, 13 Aug 2008 00:43:06 -0600

What she and her handlers should have cared about was the wisdom of his advice, laid bare in an upcoming issue of The Atlantic Monthly.

It details numerous e-mails that reveal the depth of the internal squabbling that stalled the Clinton campaign. But a larger question looms: What if she had followed Mr. Penn's inclination to focus strongly on voter unease with Barack Obama's far-flung upbringing and resulting lack of mainstream American values?

"His roots to basic American culture and values are at best limited," Mr. Penn wrote in March 2007. "I cannot imagine America electing a president at a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and values."

(And they say Democrats and Republicans can't agree on anything.)

He continues: "Let's explicitly own 'American' in our programs, the speeches and the values ... he doesn't."

Predictably, those now tasked with paving the way for an Obama ascendancy are awash in contrived indignation. "It's an appeal to prejudice. I think it's ugly," frowns Democratic consultant Bob Shrum. "If Hillary Clinton had done that, she would permanently besmirch her reputation, her legacy and her place in American politics."

Or she might have been delivering a Thursday night convention speech.

In state after state, primary voters who like their presidents to cleave to their country's roots and culture gave Mrs. Clinton victories that almost allowed her to rally.

Had she been more aggressive in this regard, I believe she would have won. Now, her torment will be complete, as John McCain uses exactly that strategy to reveal Mr. Obama as insufficiently woven into the tapestry of the nation he seeks to lead.

And it will work.

Along the way, there will be more of the same prattling that such criticism is unfair, even racist. But after candidates tell you their views on health care or oil prices - every word changeable with the wind - you arrive at the vital questions: What kind of person is this candidate? Does he cherish the things I cherish? In which ways is he like me? Or not?

One of the ways Mr. Obama differs from most Americans is his breezy indifference for the nation, which may extend, at times, to active distaste. The flag pin as Kryptonite, failing to place his hand over his heart for the national anthem in Iowa - these are symbolic, but symbolism means something.

They reveal a man who gladly tolerated two decades of America-bashing in his church and even worse among his friends and associates. It is, in fact, more relevant than any position paper you might find at his Web site.

Even when he attempts to praise America, it is in terms of his magical ability to lift it from a mediocrity imposed by less lofty predecessors.

John McCain will use such observations to beat Barack Obama in November. If Hillary Clinton had summoned the nerve to do the same, she would be addressing the convention crowd 15 days from now instead of 13.

Found Overseas, Obama's Historical Dyslexia

Wed, 23 Jul 2008 00:26:46 -0600

They showed him the respect and deference any U.S. senator or presidential candidate should receive. But one has to wonder how his words hit their ears.

Mr. Obama's expressed goals in Afghanistan and Iraq were to hear commanders' "biggest concerns" and "to thank our troops for the heroic work they've been doing."

I could gag.

The commanders did not dare inform him that their biggest concern is a commander-in-chief who would yank them out before their mission is complete.

And as for "thanking" the troops, it appears District Attorney Harvey Dent of the new Batman film is not the only two-faced character on wide display this week.

Democrats have done shameful things on Iraqi soil over the years - slandering the president, casting doubts on a mission in progress, ignoring positive developments that do not feed their politically mandated narrative - but this is unequaled gall.

Mr. Obama's treacly words come as a double insult to our magnificent men and women in uniform. To hold their exploits in low regard is one thing, but to call them "heroic" while plotting their premature surrender is an act of duplicity for the ages.

These are not observations you will hear from the fan clubs of adoring media paparazzi accompanying the candidate on his fact-finding mission - and rarely has there been a candidate more in need of one.

But something is impeding this sharpest of all recent presidential aspirants as he seeks to find facts - his self-created learning disability.

Call it historical dyslexia, a phenomenon in which one sees events in 2008 and believes it is still 2006. At that time, the seeming futility of America's Iraq effort was a fertile ground for anyone who wanted to mock the war or President Bush.

During what Democrats surely call "the good old days," anyone suggesting that we throw in the towel could have expected nods of agreement from a wide cross-section of Americans.

Anyone making such a suggestion now appears to be blind by choice to the remarkable success of the surge.

Obamaphiles may lunge toward recent quotes from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that seem to echo the Obama timetable of a 16-month withdrawal, but this is a complete misunderstanding that the Iraqi government hastened to defuse.

There is a vast difference between recognizing that things are going so much better that most U.S. troops might be withdrawn by 2010 (Mr. al-Maliki) and the blanket assertion that the war must end with the troops redeployed by that time without regard to events on the ground (Mr. Obama).

Democrats need the spectacle of the Obama trip to be a grand-slam home run; Republicans need it to be a disaster.

It will be neither. But anyone expecting to see a coming-of-age moment as if these global travels have conferred some grand wisdom should think again.

Witness the candidate's stammering response to ABC's Terry Moran, who asked if he would support the surge if he had a do-over. Mr. Obama answers no, and Moran asks incredulously, "You wouldn't?"

And then: "Hypotheticals like this are tough; hindsight is 20/20."

Yes, it is. And anyone who cannot use that hindsight to see occasions of bad judgment has no business being president of the United States.

Tony Snow 1955-2008

Sun, 13 Jul 2008 00:31:50 -0600

So on Friday morning I asked rhetorically: "I wonder how Tony Snow is doing?" His was truly the only name of sufficient caliber that occurred to me. Now I know the answer to that question, and another titan of modern American media has fallen. Like Tim Russert before him, Tony Snow brought an infectious passion and likability to his craft. He brought those skills not only to his media jobs in print, radio and television, but to the White House, where he was a speechwriter for the first President Bush and press secretary for the second. His 17 months at the White House press room podium made predecessor Scott McClellan look like the useless shlub history now reveals him to be. When Tony Snow took over that post in Spring 2006, one of President Bush's key problems was the passionless ineptitude that poisoned the delivery of his message. Snow fixed that in one day, establishing a style of addressing the press with conviction and humor. There had been no one like him before, and I don't see anyone equaling him again. But there have been a lot of good White House press secretaries, and a lot of good TV hosts and writers. It was his radio show that proved from 2003 to 2006 that he was an even rarer breed-- someone who could move from print and television into the completely different world of talk radio. History is littered with failed talk show attempts by people who seemed interesting at something else. But there is little if anything in writing, acting or government service that equips one to offer opinions compellingly for three hours while taking extemporaneous calls from the public. Tony did it, and he was great at it. Just like everything else he did. And by that I mean more than his very public jobs. He was a man of varied interests, wide and deep friendships and a master of many musical instruments. He also managed to navigate through a government and media career while maintaining his most important job-- his devotion to his wife and kids. I had spoken to Tony a few months earlier as he backed the White House on its woefully toothless immigration policies. While it was a rare occasion of disagreement, it was classic Tony-- civil, constructive and woven with his eternal pleasantness and good humor. When I had finished telling him that his former boss really needed to toughen up on the borders, and he had told me that his former boss deserved a fairer shake, we spent the last couple of minutes on the cancer that had caused him to leave the press secretary post in September 2007. He told me that things were going well and that more treatment options lay ahead if the current course did not do the trick. I wished him good luck and good health, and he wished me the same. I had been around him about ten times over the years, first when he worked on the editorial pages of the Detroit News and Washington Times in the late 1980s. As his star rose, propelling him to the set of Fox News Sunday, where he took a show from non-existent to dominant in just a few short years, he never got the big head, never lost his winning personality and never let go of his passion for life, even as cancer slowly robbed him. Now we are the ones who have been robbed. Tony Snow should have been able to see his kids grow older as he grew old with his bride, and we should have been able to enjoy his sunny demeanor during political clashes lasting well into the middle of this century. It is his gifts, the kind he shared with Tim Russert, that are sorely needed, not just in government and on TV, but in our entire national discourse. I am sad and angry and I miss him. My faith tells me I'm not supposed to grumble so much when God calls people home. Well, I'm sorry. While I know there's some great talent gathering in heaven, I simply was not done with them down here. Snow and Russert leave behind loving families, grateful aud[...]

Bush Can Take Pride in Scorn

Wed, 02 Jul 2008 00:59:29 -0600

You certainly will hear it from the Middle East, where terrorists and their millions of fans will discharge enough celebratory gunfire to pepper an entire desert with spent shells. The devil George W. Bush will no longer be there to impede their goals.

You will hear it from the portions of Latin America smitten with the thuggery of Venezuela President Hugo Chavez. Mr. Bush will no longer be there to oppose his poisonous socialism and reckless saber rattling.

There should be a particularly loud sigh from North Korea, recently chastened by Bush administration diplomacy, a seeming oxymoron to the finger-wagging critics who have lied for years that this president seeks to wage war first and ask questions later. With the Bush thorn removed from their sides, the North Koreans indeed may be free to rethink their recently improved behavior.

No doubt about it, from Kim Jong Il to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, tyrants the world over will utter the sigh of relief happily anticipated by Bush-haters at home and abroad.

If the Bush years are followed by the McCain years, I hope those sighs are muffled by the anticipation of additional moral clarity from the American president. But wouldn't that mean more hate would be heaped on us from around the world? We should all hope so.

There has been no shortage of ridiculous articles this year evaluating how America's image will need serious refurbishing after the "damage" exacted by the Bush years.

One would presume that the most "damaging" element of the Bush legacy has been the seven years of the war on terror. Oh, how he - and we - are despised from the cafés of Paris to the sidewalks of Berlin, from the coffee shops of Cairo to the market squares of Caracas, all because we have spent the years since 9/11 trying to reform the part of the world that wishes we were all dead.

It is equal parts sad and scary that an entire political party and millions of its adherents in America believe that we should guide foreign policy by how much of the world likes us.

This is as fundamentally stupid as trying to raise a child by being a buddy instead of a parent. That is a sure recipe for a rotten, indulged, unappreciative kid.

If you think it an insulting condescension to analogize America and the world to a parent's lessons for a spoiled child, you are completely correct, and that is my precise intent. Much of the world deserves such derisive regard, and worse.

Europe doesn't know what an enemy is any more. The Middle East is so filled with murderous lunatics that rational voices are drowned out. And from Latin America to Asia to Africa, there is so much tyranny, terror and corruption that no single U.S. president could possibly make a sizeable dent.

But this one has tried, and for that he is despised by America's enemies around the world and political enemies at home.

He should wear their scorn like a badge of honor. I would love to see a day when America is admired consistently from continent to continent. But let the world admire us because we have done the right things, even when unpopular, not because we changed our definition of what is right to appease evil leaders and misguided masses around the globe.