Ed Driscoll quotes Mark Steyn on what I consider President Bush’s chief failure, his inability to use the Presidency to educate the American people (HT: Instapundit):
But the real FDR moment — the seismic event that a canny politician seizes as a pretext for transformative change — was surely 9/11. A few weeks after the attacks, Bush had the highest approval ratings of any president in history. But he didn’t do anything with them. And the greatest mistake of all was his disinclination to take on the broader culture that, in the wake of 9/11, looked briefly vulnerable — in that moment when Americans opted for “Let’s roll!” over the desiccated Oprahfied chants of “healing” and “closure” and the rest of the awful lifeless language of emotional narcissism.
Bush had a rare opportunity to reverse the most poisonous tide in the Western world: He could have argued that Western self-loathing is a psychosis we can no longer afford. He could have told the teachers’ unions there was more to the Second World War than the internment of Japanese Americans and it’s time they started mentioning it to our children. You can’t hold the 90 percent approval ratings forever, but, while he had them, George W. Bush could have used them for a “teaching moment”: If ever there’s a time for not being mired in civilizational self-abasement, wartime is it. Yet the president figured he could fight a long existential struggle against America’s enemies in a culture that teaches its children there are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven’t yet accommodated.