Saturday, November 06, 2004

A Man in Full

It is the wish of every father to be surpassed by his son. Tuesday's 58 million votes for George W. Bush made evident what many of us having been saying for a long time; that George W. Bush is the most effective politician of his generation. Since the GOP's 1998 mid-term election debacle, the GOP (under Bush's leadership) has won two presidential elections, recaptured control of the United States Senate, increased its influence in the House of Representatives, and stands ready to appoint 2 and possibly 4 US Supreme Court justices over the course of the next four years.

Mr. Bush's accomplishment is made larger by the fact that he did all this in the face of constant, withering criticism and ad hominem attacks from the news media, the publishing world, Hollywood, the music industry and the academy. From Farenheit 9/11 to Kitty Kelly to the daily onslaughts of The New York Times to Eminem to the fabulists at CBS News, the so-called "media elite" painted a caricature of President Bush that was truly frightening.

It was also wrong. The thing that separates President Bush from the rest of us 50-something fuddy-duddies, aside from his discipline and personal fortitude, is his capacity for growth. Like President Clinton before him, he has grown in office and become a much bigger, much more interesting man. He stood before us on Thursday a man in full; tempered by war, sustained by faith, humbled by success, confident in the future.

My mother asked me what I thought his father thought about all this. I don't know, I haven't talked to him. But I suspect that he was enormously proud and pleased. The son who kept him up some nights years ago had passed him going by. For the rest of us in the family, I think I speak for most everyone when I say he has our undying admiration and respect.