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Thursday, June 04, 2009

President Bush on popularity

Earlier today, I ran a short piece by Dana Perino, former President Bush's last press secretary. In the Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez points to this interview that National Review Online's Jay Nordlinger did with President Bush in December 2008. President Obama should (but probably won't) take to heart what President Bush had to say about popularity in that interview.
A word about popularity: You can be popular, but “at what price”? “You can get short-term popularity in the Middle East if you want, by blaming all problems on Israel. That’ll make you popular. You can be popular in certain salons of Europe if you say, ‘Okay, we’ll join the International Criminal Court.’ I could have been popular if I’d said, ‘Oh, Kyoto is the way to deal with the environmental problem.’ That would have made me liked. It would have made me wrong, however. And, ultimately, you earn people’s respect by articulating a set of principles and standing by them.

“You know, popularity comes and goes. It just does. It comes and goes for an individual or a nation [sing it, brother]. But principles are enduring.”
Down the road, President Obama's clumsy efforts to make America popular with its enemies at its allies' expense are going to come back to bite him. Hopefully, they won't bite the United States at the same time.


At 7:13 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

For all of Obama's popularity, he is not going to change the Middle East. That is one prediction that is safely going to be fact. No one is going to buy the ticket he's offering to the region's future. America's influence is already on the decline.


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