Sunday, September 23, 2001

Bush's moment

Waking up to our mission

        “I'm very glad and I thank God that George W. Bush is our president,” said New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has watched from hell's balcony as his tough, big-hearted city trembled in shock, wept in grief, then rose from its knees in quiet fury. He has a right to speak for America.

        And I say, “Amen, brother.” How blessed we are to have the right man in the job at a time like this.

        Maybe now we can see there was a reason why our election of 2000 was so close. Maybe now we can see why the Senate is split in half. Those ugly divisions give deeper beauty to our unity. Red America and Blue America are now colors on the same flag.

        On Thursday night I heard Democrats who have called Mr. Bush the “illegitimate president” cheer him.

        Yes, I saw Hillary Clinton rolling her eyes and grudgingly clapping like an over-the-hill hippie at a VFW parade. Who cares?

        The era of the Me President is over. We have a We President who does what's right for the nation, not for himself. Mr. Bush's words were spoken from the heart, plain talk without the rehearsed wink and smirk.

        Moments of the Mr. Bush's speech can stand in history unashamed, alongside words spoken at Valley Forge and Gettysburg. His powerful vow that terrorism will “end in history's unmarked grave of discarded lies” had the sound of the same distant trumpet that called us to arms with “Day of infamy” and “This will not stand.”

        His struggle with tears, when he clutched the badge of a cop who died in the Trade Center ruins, touched the broken heart of America and revealed a leader whose compassion is as deep as his resolve.

        One of my favorite quotes was not in the speech. It was a Texas-style shot from the hip that drilled Osama bin Laden between the eyes:

        “He said he was not going to send a $2 million missile to wreck a $10 tent and hit a camel in the behind,” said Rep. Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park. “It was very blunt, typical Bush.”

        He was talking about the 1998 “retaliation” when President Clinton bombed an aspirin factory and conveniently distracted the nation from his Monica lies.

        “The 1998 experience with Clinton is just the antithesis of what Bush wants to do,” Mr. Portman said.

        Someday, we can sort out how the fuse of Sept. 11, 2001 was lit by that botched attack in 1998. A network newsman said on the radio the other day that he received a phone call after the aspirin factory was hit, from one of bin Laden's butchers. He said bin Laden was unscratched — and wanted us to know that the war against America has just begun.

        Now we're fighting back. The popular comparison to exterminating rats fits like cheese in a trap.

        A farmer doesn't ask which rat bit his children. He hunts for all rats, any rats, knowing that where he sees one, 10 more may be hiding. And he doesn't wait for help from neighbors who want the rats removed as long as they don't have to move any furniture.

        George Bush is the man for the job. He asked us to awake to our mission — making it clear he knows his own.

        Maybe it's because he leads a dream team of Gulf War veterans.

        Rep. Tom DeLay says it's because “He knows that God is on his side.”

        I think it's all that and something more. There is steel in his eyes. It was the steel that held him above the street fight, when lawyers were grubbing for chads.

        It's the steel I saw one night during the primaries, when I asked him if he would break the “read my lips” tax promise like his father.

        I saw it in his eyes again on Thursday night. And I would not want to be bin Laden or any of his friends.

        Contact Enquirer Associate Editor Peter Bronson at 768-8301; fax: 768-8610; e-mail: Cincinnati.Com keyword: Bronson.


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