Friday, January 30, 2009

I Remember Dinkins

David Dinkins was a nice guy, an amiable and inoffensive fellow who spoke well and looked good in a suit. He was not terribly ideological; in particular, he was not a racial grievance monger. His calm demeanor almost certainly helped to prevent riots from erupting in New York City after the verdict in the Rodney King trial.

His style of governance was based on the dominant intellectual theories of the day: increased taxes; the creation of more government jobs, and more government spending in general; dealing with crime by addressing the “root causes,” etc., etc.

Among college professors, intellectuals, bureaucrats, and Democrat politicians, there was virtually no disagreement that these were the correct strategies.

Because Dinkins was black, liberals felt that the very act of voting for him was a good deed: a concrete demonstration of their moral superiority. And liberals will never balk at an opportunity to demonstrate their moral superiority.

Under Dinkins, crime skyrocketed and property values plummeted. The tax base shrank as taxpayers fled the city. Black-on-black crime was especially prevalent.

But despite the anomie and carnage in the streets, liberals felt good every time an image of Dinkins reminded them that they had voted for a black mayor.

They continued to sing Dinkins’ praises for four long years--even as they moved to the suburbs. Those who stayed told pollsters that they would proudly vote for Dinkins’ again, but when they slipped into the voting booths, and pulled the curtains shut, many quietly voted for Guiliani.

Irony of Ironies

George W. Bush is a victim of his own success. The great successes of Bush’s tenure were the prevention of another terrorist attack on US soil after 9/11/01, and the weakening of al-Qaeda’s ability to wage war against the US and the West.

This success has allowed much of the voting populace of the US, and in fact much of the world, to convince itself that Islamic radicalism really poses very little threat to western civilization and that what anger does exist towards the West is predominantly the fault of Bush and his policies (or, perhaps, the Jews).

Had Bush been less successful, this delusion would be unsupportable to all but the clinically insane.

But there is an even greater irony: for it was one of Bush’s greatest failures: his failure to secure Iraq after deposing Saddam Hussein, allowing the country to slip perilously close to civil war—a failure acknowledged by almost everyone, independent of support for the initial invasion of Iraq—that contributed, inadvertently, perhaps the most to weakening al-Qaeda and diminishing its standing in the Muslim world.

For it was in the “quagmire” of post-Saddam Iraq that al-Qaeda suffered its most decisive defeat; and it was amidst this “quagmire” that local Muslim populations came to see al-Qaeda as a force for evil and to turn against it.

The question now is how significantly has al-Qaeda’s ability to make war against the West been damaged? If the victory has been nearly complete than Bush’s War on Terror has been a success, and ironically, Bush will almost certainly continue to be judged a failure.

Unfortunately for the US, and for the world--but strangely perhaps fortunately for Bush’s reputation—his success was almost certainly not complete. Islamofascists: sunni salafists and shia radicals, have not called off their Jihad against western civilization.

Dreamers, hopers, and pacifists in the West are now in a state of denial about this fact, but this denial is unsustainable. Precisely because they were not complete, Bush’s successes against Islamofascism may become rather apparent rather soon.