Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Appearance on the Bruce DuMont Show: Beyond the Beltway

I taped a one-hour appearance on the Bruce DuMont radio-TV show for broadcast on WLS radio and WYCC, the other public television in Chicago over the Christmas-New Year holidays (don’t ask me when it appears; it’s very complicated and as soon as he told me I forgot it: set it up to advanced age). One hour (with other people) shows on this-and-this time and our hour on this-and-this…aw forget it. Many of you are regular Bruce listeners-watchers anyhow so you’ll catch it. Anyhow, on our segment were Dan Miller, the very bright and superbly articulate Business Editor of the Sun-Times, pro-supply side, libertarian (the brightest light of the so-called “Bright One”) and Jacky (that’s how she spells it) Grimshaw, a longtime political and community activist who was Harold Washington’s assistant in charge of politics.

On the show we were asked to name the winner and loser of the year in politics. As winner I named Bush whose Iraq policy has been ratified by the exemplary turn in the elections over there. In fact, I said what I have written here before, that if this pans out—as I think it will—Bush will go down as a greater president than Ronald Reagan. My point is not to diss Reagan but simply to reiterate that he put an economy to a winning stance after inheriting a bum one from Carter and that he won the Cold War: not too shabby. But Reagan had a kind of inherited course in the Cold War—firmness in the face of threat as exemplified by Truman (except in the case of China), Ike, Kennedy (to some degree with the exception of the disastrous Bay of Pigs) and, to some extent, Nixon. By winning tax cuts in the face of a united Democratic opposition and Democratic control of the Senate at one point, Bush improved the economy immeasurably and by seizing the initiative and invading Iraq—also putting into effect a hitherto secret spying system—Bush applied preemptive force instead of reactive force and may well have spared us another attack. Also he set into play a brilliantly effective preemptive strategy for his successor to follow.

This doesn’t mean that I endorse conduct of the war which, like all wars, was waged strictly on trial and error—but it’s my contention that Bush will go down as a legendary president—and to some degree greater than Reagan who was very great indeed. On the question of who was the loser of the year, I said the national Democratic party because of its implacable obstruction, pig-headed obstruction to the war (with the exception of Joe Lieberman). In fact the Democrats’ action thus far remind me of the old isolationist obstruction of World War II which seemed destined for continued national rejection until the coming of Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. What worries me greatly is that it’s a certainty that they will gain power at some future time, just because of the fatigue factor with Republicans—and I can’t, for the life of me, imagine whom they’ll find to give a semblance of creative energy to the task that Bush so nobly advanced. To all of this Ms. Jacky was adamantly opposed, proving the point. When I made my statement about Bush possibly exceeding Reagan, she drew herself up in horror and expressed astonishment that I had just insulted Reagan! That’s the first time she ever expressed, in my twenty-year jousts with her, any appreciation for Reagan—and I’m sure it was contrived for mock stage effect. But it seemed that all of us believe that Hillary will be the logical candidate for president. The fact that she has made some noises about supporting the war shouldn’t mislead anyone: she recognizes the folly of being intractable on the war.

When we talked about the future of the Republican party, Bruce and I (I don’t recall just now where Dan Miller came down) said the Rudy Giuliani was the most exciting candidate, I saying that his promise could only be redeemed if he changed his position on social issues. Neither of us liked McCain although Ms. Jacky thought he was very good—for a Republican. Her privately expressed views about Clarence Thomas during an interim in the show were pro forma boiler-plate African American liberal. I would like to think her implacable stand represents the older generation of the African American community—but, with notable exceptions such as my friend Frank Penn, I’m not so sure.


  1. "...Bush improved the economy immeasurably.." You're right about that, Mr. Roeser....and if the GOP loses the House in 2006, Bush might not even make it through his second term.

  2. "Bush will go down as a greater president than Ronald Reagan"
    No wonder they stopped running the column, with gems like this one. This blog is like a snapshot of the bubble that Bush lives in: reality is always just far enough out of reach.
    Bob said it, Bush won't make it out of his 2nd term, and for good reason: criminals eventually get caught.