In the midst of all the rhetoric against the Bush Administration, there are still plenty of Americans who see a good man and good leader in George W. Bush. He worked hard to keep his promises to the conservative voters who had placed their trust in him during his now seven years in office. He responded to the terrorist threat and proved he is a man of resolve. He took our plight as tax payers into consideration and lowered our tax burden. He stood up for the family and refused to let America devolve into some perverted society that would have merited fire to fall from the heavens. In short, he did a first rate job in a very dangerous time.
Today, with the talking heads vying for the oath, it is easy to see that much is left to be achieved and many things linger from Bush's failures, and there are more than a few. He failed to adequately push for a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage. He was and is an abysmal failure in stemming the tide in the deluge of illegal immigration from our southern border. He did not succeed in ridding the nation of our addiction to Middle East oil, though the democrats and Bush's fellow republicans in congress bear the same burden as he regarding all these failures. Nevertheless, President Bush did sow together many cords that, if kept in tact, will keep America on the path of right choices and policy for a long time to come. Yet, there are many strings still hanging out in this tapestry of the fabric of American history that still need tied up.
Of course, the war in Iraq, which is in far better shape since President Bush ordered the surge, is unfortunately, far from over. The surge seems to have marked a great turning point for that nation, much to the chagrin of the liberal elite who would love to derail the war for the sake of an election in November, 2008. If this surge continues to show success, there will be a good chance of seeing another republican in the White House. This can be very feasible if it remains possible to start pulling our troops out of Iraq during the spring and summer of 2008. Images of returning American GI's will give Americans a sense of pride and a feeling that President Bush had been correct in taking a tyrant out of that nation and that his stubborn resolve is what they want to see in the next president as well. So, this election can be pulled off with good voter turnout and by America viewing its children returning home to a hero's welcome.
Yet, let not the return of our troops be considered as the end-all of a struggle that will not need to be revisited. I suspect that there are about two more wars that may need to be waged before this nation can take a breather. That fact adds tremendous weight to the importance of electing a president who possesses a steel-like determination to protect this nation from current and future threats that hover out on the political, social and religious horizons. With this in mind, it is clear that the greatest threat facing America and any new president will be how to deal with a nuclear-armed Iran. Currently, the only Muslim nation that possesses nuclear arms is the nation of Pakistan. If the world can be set on edge by the current developments inside Pakistan, an American ally, then any president will have to view Iran, bent on building itself a nuclear arsenal, as a potentially very serious threat to The United States and our allies. Iran may not pose a threat to the USA in actually launching one of their missiles at us, but that Islamic Republic could attack an ally, such as Israel, that could lead to World War III. There are also great dangers in the possibility of Iran using its surrogates or sleeper cells to smuggle such arms into our nation. Though there is a strong popular movement inside Iran for change toward democracy, it is clear that no such hope truly exists without outside assistance. At the moment, America is looking to the UN for some help in this regard, which is tantamount to killing cancer with an aspirin. I predict that this event will fester to a boiling point and the need for forces to be deployed will again be called for. Nevertheless, we will have to have a lot more help from the Iranian people than we received from the people of Iraq. Therefore, the next president will not be able to beat Bush's weapons into plowshares, as many predict, though it is unclear if any of the candidates truly realize that.
The other international hot spot in the world is North Korea. Though President Bush has signed an ill-conceived agreement with the president of this poorest of nations, Kim Jung Il has already broken the first major provision of the accord by failing to report how many bombs have been built and to what extent he has proliferated his nuclear technology around the world. North Korea has one of the largest standing armies in the world. Though that nation may not have rice enough with which to feed its people, it does have weapons with which to launch, at the very least, a region-wide war. Kim Jung Il has demonstrated his capacity to fear, though. Right after America took Iraq, The North Korean leader sent word to the Bush Administration that he intended to talk. Yet, talk is cheap and though there has been some progress in North Korea's dismantling of its nuclear program, letting this tyrant slide in his failures to meet his commitments will be costly. Bush has taken too much time to play the talk game. If North Korea fails to live up to its word, which has been proven time and time again to be the ultimate, final conclusion, such talk time will have become exhausted.
If the next president fails to act appropriately to the threats of Iran and North Korea, the world could well be shoved into WW III. This is a sobering reality that should take precedence over any other reason that motivates us in our choice of candidate to lead the nation for at least the next four years. These two nations will have to be dealt with and without delay. Part 2 and part 3 of the Axis of Evil will have to be, not only pacified, but rendered incapable of waging war against its neighbors and drawing in major forces like our own. Failure to do so will mean renewed war that will render the war in Iraq as a mere scuffle in comparison. Therefore, the next president will have no lack of problems in the future with this apparently mentally ill communist dictator who will have no loss of an appetite to flex some muscle that he indeed does have.
On the domestic front, one lose end that needs to tied up into an eternal knot is the danger of allowing gay marriage. It seems apparent that President Bush simply used this issue as a reelection point, since he has done virtually nothing about his own proposal for a constitutional amendment since he began his second term. This is the one point that I am sure will not receive the appropriate attention, by virtue of the political capital that will have to be spent to achieve it. Neither of the two of the two party nominees, from either party, will push hard to preserve the sanctity of the institution of marriage. That does not mean it is not important. In fact, if the American society allows this obtuse action to become the national norm, it will transform the waging of battles abroad for the safety of the nation into something of no value to many of us who hold to social morals that say you can do whatever you wish in private so long as it is not sanctioned and protected by those who lead us publically.
Therefore, we must fight hard for the constitutional amendment that President Bush called for during the 2004 election. It is very clear in the antics displayed by those protesting since Bush's first inauguration that this issue will be bigger than ever for the next president, especially a liberal one. The greatest failure for President Bush is that he placed a greater priority on Social Security savings accounts than following through on the moral issues he so bravely championed in his second presidential campaign. He has failed to look sufficiently at his 2004 election polling data to see that the reason that he is again in office today is because Christians placed their faith in him as a believer and moral leader. We need to insist upon not just giving these issues lip service.
The future does not look too bright for conservatives today. That can become a good thing, also. Often long-term power creates lethargy and apathy. Too much power and far too much pride has lulled conservatives to sleep and made them think that they were unshakable and full of strength. Of course that was a pipe dream. If you do not think so, ask Speaker of the House Pelosi what she thinks. The next president will have about two years to make these things happen, if at all. At the moment, no real conservative seems poised to take President Bush's place in the 2008 election. The closest thing to a conservative presidential hopeful in the Republican Party for 2008 is John McCain. He is right of center, at best, and has an eerie tendency to rely on any side from which he may find support. The great danger is that all of the candidates that the republicans and the democrats have fielded could spell the end of the America as we have know her.
Therefore, those of us who care about the social nature of the nation and the future strength of the sane world need to insist that the next president not crowd out the issues that are of supreme importance to us. Failure to correct the moral wrongs in our country shall cause the nation to incur more attacks and shall nullify any attempt to spare the nation from greater disaster. Men and women do right or wrong by virtue of their characters. It does not matter if the next president is black or white. There are good men and women from every walk of life in this country, regardless of their gender, race, religion or creed. Let us decide to only pay tribute with our vote to the man who has kept faith with America. Yet, never let us sit back and pretend that all is calm in Gotham. These next four years will determine whether America will maintain the stamina and courage to fight the good fight and to tie all loose strings together into one large tapestry that cannot be unraveled. Demand it! Expect it! Scream like crazy until you get it! Nothing less is acceptable!
Steven Clark Bradley lived abroad for over 17 years and has been to 34 countries, including Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey. He has a master's degree in liberal studies from Indiana University. He speaks French and Turkish. He has been an assistant to a Prosecutor, a University Instructor and a freelance Journalist in Ramallah, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan. Steven is the author of three novels, Nimrod Rising, Probable Cause and Stillborn, available through Borders.com, Barnesandnoble.com and Amazon.com and almost anywhere on the net.
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