I Heart Bush All Over Again

The NR crowd interviewed the President. Read Jay Nordlinger's impromptu impressions. First, on the notion that somehow America's international relationships must be "restored":
“All I ask is that people analyze our alliances around the world before they come to” any conclusions. “One, it is hard for any president to say that he and his country have had strong relations with Japan, Korea, and China at the same time” — but Bush can say it. “Two, we have changed our relationship with India from one of suspicion to one of partnership, while being able to keep influence in Pakistan. Three, I articulated a two-state solution, at the same time vowing to defend Israel and keeping strong relations with Saudi Arabia and Jordan and Egypt and the U.A.E.”

In Latin America, “we have relations with two key countries that are very strong: one, Mexico; and two, Brazil. The relationship between the United States and Brazil has been one of suspicion at times. Today, it is one of dealing with common interests.

“I’ll never forget my first meeting with Lula in here. I’m a pretty frank guy with these people. [I loved that: “these people.” One of my favorite moments of the interview.] And I said, ‘You know, it’s hard for you to believe, isn’t it, that you’re sitting here talking with a’ — I don’t think I called myself a right-wing fanatic, but . . . I said, ‘I know that you probably think that you and I can't get along. After all, you are, you know, coming out of the leftist labor movement, bashing America when you could.’ And I said, ‘But you know something? You and I do care about a couple of things: We care about the plight of the downtrodden; we want to defeat ignorance. What I found interesting about you, Mr. President, is you believe in faith-based programs to help lift people’s lives in your country.’

“And it was like, ‘Oh, maybe I can deal with this guy.’ And we have got a very strong relationship.
He has a great line, too, about the 2-state solution in the Middle East. His policy was one of working for a
2-state solution with Arab buy-in.

Seriously, if we get past smug palaver and analyze, I don't think anyone could do better at relationship building than Bush has.

That's followed swiftly by this on moral relativism:
What should be watched “over these coming decades is the prevalence of moral relativism, which is manifested during my presidency, saying, ‘Bush is imposing his values.’ [He fairly shouts this.] Well, if you believe these are Bush’s values or American values, then you don’t believe in the universality of certain values. And so I firmly believe that our respect is strong in the world. I’d rather be respected than liked. And we are respected, and our values are cherished, and the lines are long to come to America.”
Not to mention:
You can be popular, but “at what price”? “You can get short-term popularity in the Middle East if you want, by blaming all problems on Israel. That’ll make you popular. You can be popular in certain salons of Europe if you say, ‘Okay, we’ll join the International Criminal Court.’ I could have been popular if I’d said, ‘Oh, Kyoto is the way to deal with the environmental problem.’ That would have made me liked. It would have made me wrong, however.

I also love it that he reveals I read him correctly in what he was trying to achieve with the Harriet Miers nomination. No one at all agreed with me (well, except two friends who later abandoned me intellectually) that she was an acceptable choice --and I do not in any way regret Alito!-- but the Prez. lays it out here, just as I said at the time. He regrets what happened to her personally, and he reveals his reasoning. Not only was there no question in his mind that she'd stay true to her beliefs even after he'd gone home,
“I think it was important to nominate, not only a person who’d be a great judge, but someone who was not a part of the judicial-nominee club. She went to SMU Law School. I recognize it’s not Harvard or Yale — those are great law schools — but you can also have great lawyers come from” other places. (It helps to have gone to Harvard and Yale, as Bush did — in the opposite order — if you want to talk this way.)
As I said at the time:
Bruce Fein makes the right point in his column this morning, but reaches the wrong conclusion.
Mediocre minds resist challenges to prevailing orthodoxies. . .
Precisely. And a dangerous prevailing orthodoxy is that only experts can understand the Constitution, and it takes a lifetime of concentrating solely on constitutional questions to be fit for the Court. It takes bold thinking to realize it would be good to challenge that notion. The people charging "mediocrity" are revealing themselves to be part of the herd.

RTWT. He hasn't always been right, and he should have talked more like this to the American people, but what a profoundly good man who got the biggest things --life, freedom & the dignity of the human person-- right.