Bush in perspective

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Bush: Worst president in history? The following letter to the editor appeared in the Durham, N.C., newspaper and was forwarded to me by a reader. I reprint it here for your reflection.

"Liberals claim President Bush shouldn't have started this war. They complain about his prosecution of it. One liberal recently claimed Bush was the worst president in U.S. history. Let's clear up one point: We didn't start the war on terror. Try to remember, it was started by terrorists before 9-11.

"Let's look at the 'worst' president and mismanagement claims.

"FDR let us into World War II. Germany never attacked us: Japan did.

"From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost, an average of 112,500 per year.

"Truman finished that war and started one in Korea. North Korea never attacked us. From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost, an average of 18,333 per year.

"John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962. Vietnam never attacked us. I think history might show Eisenhower committed the troops and Kennedy was honoring that commitment. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire. From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost, an average of 5,800 per year.

"Clinton went to war in Bosnia without U.N. or French consent. Bosnia never attacked us. He was offered Osama bin Laden's head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on multiple occasions.

"In the two years since terrorists attacked us, President Bush has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran and North Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who slaughtered 300,000 of his own people. We've lost 750 soldiers, an average of 375 a year. Bush did all this abroad while not allowing another terrorist attack at home.

"Worst president in history? Come on! Some are complaining about how long the war is taking but...

"It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51-day operation.

"We've been looking for evidence of chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose Law Firm billing records.

"It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division of the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Teddy Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.

"It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida."

The above is a little harsh and a little slanted, but it's something to think about.

I have XM radio in my car and have been monitoring "Air America," which is labeled as America Left on my dial. This is the new liberal radio station that features Al Franken.

The following is from the New York Daily News dated May 12. Unfortunately it is too true, and I have had to censor some of the language.

"Liberal radio is airing bad jokes and worst taste. The United States 'is on the slippery slope to theocratic fascism.' 'The Catholic church has been secretly encouraging xxx sex for years.' Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld 'ought to be tortured.' President Bush should be taken out and shot.

"Those are a few nutso nuggets from the hosts of Air America Radio, which calls itself the new liberal voice. ... With the Iraq torture scandal everywhere, I tuned in, expecting to hear sober policy analysis mixed with glee over President Bush's political pickle.

"Instead, I got 10 hours of rancid venom directed at the president, Rumsfeld, Rush Limbaugh, the Catholic church and anyone else the hosts felt like slamming. If you're a card-carrying lib who likes crude sex jokes and a cartoonish echo chamber, Air America is for you.

"Take one host's linking the talk of 'pulling out' the troops with the claim that 'that's what the Catholic church says about premarital sex.' Ha. Ha..

"The network aims to give Dems a media organization to counter Limbaugh and others on the right who dominate talk radio. (What, National Public Radio and The New York Times aren't enough?) The signing of comedian and best-selling author Al Franken gave Air America a liberal drawing card. But if his three-hour show on Monday was typical, he could sink the ship instead of saving it.

"Two attempts at humor were offensive. In his "oy, oy show" set to Israeli music, a sidekick reads news reports -- in this case, the murder of the Russian-backed president of Chechnya. Franken's role is to pipe up with a lighthearted "oy, oy, oy." Yep, nothing tickles the ribs like assassination.

"Franken also imitated a priest giving Communion, saying 'Body of Christ' when a imagined pedophile priest was in line but 'not for you' when pro-choice politicians came up.

"The church was a day-long obsession, as was Limbaugh. He is an 'awful man,' 'a pig" and 'a Nazi.' Color me confused. If Franken & Co. hate the pill-popping Limbaugh so much, why imitate his tar-pit tone? Sounds like Limbaugh has simply driven them nuts.

"Missing was the tension that comes from honest debate. Only Franken had guests voicing even slight distance from the party line, which is that John Kerry is perfect except he should attack Bush more.

"The queen of venom, Randi Rhodes, followed Franken in the host slot. Her imitation of a cracker military type telling a soldier to "insert this fluorescent light bulb into that man's _ _ _" was revolting. She compared U.S. prisons in Iraq to the 'Nazi gulag' and said, 'The day I say thank you to Rumsfeld is the same day I'll say thank you to the 12 people who raped me.' Rock bottom came when she compared Bush and his family to the Corleones in the 'Godfather' saga. 'Like Fredo, somebody ought to take him out fishing ... ," she said, imitating the sound of gunfire.

"During a day of torture by radio, I heard ads for Hewlett-Packard, Greyhound and , especially, General Motors. I asked GM why it appeared in such shows.

"Ryndee Carney, GM"s manager of marketing communications, said the ads were wrongly picked up from an earlier deal with WLIB. She said the station was ordered to 'cease and desist' yesterday, and added: "GM will not advertise on any Air America affiliates."

One hundred years ago -- 1904: Maybe this will boggle your mind, I know it did mine. The year is 1904. What a difference a century makes. Here are some of the U.S. statistics for 1904:

The average life expectancy in the U.S. was 47 years.

Only 14 percent of the homes in the U.S. had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost $11.

There were only 8,000 cars in the U.S. and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa and Tennessee were each more heavily populated than California. With a mere 1.4 million residents, California was only the 21st most populous state in the Union.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents an hour.

The average U.S. worker made between $200 and $400 a year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 a year, a dentist $2,500 a year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 a year and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 a year.

More than 95 percent of all births in the U.S. took place at home.

Ninety percent of all U.S. physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as "substandard."

Sugar cost 4 cents a pound. Eggs were 14 cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

Canada passed a law prohibiting poor people from entering the country for any reason.

The five leading causes of death in the U.S. were: 1. Pneumonia and influenza, 2. tuberculosis, 3. diarrhea, 4. heart disease, 5. stroke.

There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.

Two out of 10 U.S. adults couldn't read or write.

Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated high school.

Marijuana, heroin and morphine were all available over the counter at corner drugstores. According to one pharmacist, "Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health."

Eighteen percent of households in the U.S. had at least one full-time servant or domestic.

There were only about 230 reported murders in the entire U.S.

And I forwarded this from someone else without typing it myself and sent it to you in a matter of seconds. Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years. It staggers the mind.

Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: