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 (dont ask me when it appears; its 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 youll 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 (thats how she spells it) Grimshaw, a longtime political and community activist who was Harold Washingtons 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 outas I think it willBush 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 Warfirmness 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 Iraqalso putting into effect a hitherto secret spying systemBush 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 doesnt mean that I endorse conduct of the war which, like all wars, was waged strictly on trial and errorbut its my contention that Bush will go down as a legendary presidentand 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 its a certainty that they will gain power at some future time, just because of the fatigue factor with Republicansand I cant, for the life of me, imagine whom theyll 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! Thats the first time she ever expressed, in my twenty-year jousts with her, any appreciation for Reaganand Im 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 shouldnt 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 dont 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 goodfor 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 communitybut, with notable exceptions such as my friend Frank Penn, Im not so sure.