With protests sweeping the Middle East from Bahrain to Yemen to Jordan and, of course, to Libya, and with the departure of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak from Egypt, now seems like a good time to remind everyone: Bush was right.
"A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region," said President Bush back in 2003. Oh, how liberals scoffed. Bush was too "stupid" to realize the Middle East could never be free, that they would always live in tyranny and backwardness. Bush believed in something different: that if the Arab world understood that they could have freedom and democracy, these weren't concepts outside their reach. They would want that freedom and all the choices that come with it.
Another Bush line from the same time: "The human heart desires the same good things everywhere on Earth. In our desire to be safe from brutal and bullying oppression, human beings are the same. In our desire to care for our children and give them a better life, we are the same."
I mock liberals above because they wanted Bush to fail so badly that they couldn't see that he was pushing very liberal ideas in the Middle East. The truth is, conservatives weren't entirely on board with transforming a part of the world that seemed immovable. Bush has been mocked for his "freedom is on the march" line. But just because it was premature in 2005 does not mean it was incorrect. Freedom protests had already hit the Arab world and while results would take time, Bush's domino effect predictions are turning out to be correct.
I've written on "It's a Free Country" about how intellectualism isn't necessarily a plus for a public official. In comparing George W. Bush and Barack Obama, this is truer than ever. The liberal elite consider Barack Obama very intelligent and Bush a simpleton, yet Bush represented bold leadership for the country while Obama seems unable to take a position on even the remarkable events of the last month. Does America still stand on the side of freedom? This president seems unsure. Our last president was not.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Brooklyn, Karol Markowicz is a public relations consultant in NYC and a veteran of Republican campaigns in four states. She blogs about politics at Alarming News and about life in the city with her husband and baby at 212 Baby. She can be followed on Twitter.