Yesterday, Drudge had a headline that said something along the lines of: “98% of historians judge Bush’s presidency a failure.” I didn’t bother to check out the article. It didn’t matter to me whether someone polled 10 historians or 1000. I still knew with pretty good certainty a few underlying facts: if they’re historians for poll purposes, that means they’re university professors; and if they’re university professors, that means they’re in the Liberal Arts department; and if they’re in the Liberal Arts department, it means that they’re at least moderate Dems and, more likely, far Left Dems. Polling them is as useful as walking into MoveOn.org headquarters and asking precisely the same questions.
This morning, W”B”S sent me a link to an IBD editorial that makes the same point I instinctively make, as well as more substantive points about the impossibility of asking “historians” to make a rational call about current events when the dust hasn’t even settled yet. With regard to the latter, IBD has this to say:
The professors’ political bias has blinded them to reality. They formed their opinions around an axis of nonsense: Bush’s invasion of Iraq, his “tax breaks for the rich,” and the alienation of many nations around the world. Let’s take their arguments one at a time.
• It’s far too early to deem the Iraq invasion a failure. In terms of military achievement, it ranks as one of the greatest in modern history. In a matter of weeks a dangerous dictator was toppled, his regime ousted, his military routed and an oppressed people freed.
Since then, thousands of terrorists have been denied their chance to strike America because the U.S. military has eliminated them.
The cleanup has been messy. But unless the U.S. loses its resolve, a stable, U.S.-friendly representative government is likely to emerge in a strongly anti-American region dominated by despotic regimes.
• “Tax breaks for the rich” is the big lie come alive. Under the Bush tax cuts, 25 million Americans at the bottom half of the income scale have been wiped off the federal income tax rolls.
And the rich? The federal tax burden of the top 1% of earners has gone from 19% under Jimmy Carter (in 1980) to 39.4%. Meanwhile, the bottom 50% paid 3.1% of taxes in 2005. In 1995, they paid 4.6%.
• Since Bush has been in office, pro-Americans have been elected to lead Germany (Angela Merkel), France (Nicolas Sarkozy), Italy (Silvio Berlusconi) and Canada (Stephen Harper). Both Britain and Australia remain close to the U.S. though both are under governments less pro-American than their predecessors. Who’s been alienated? Iran, which has been at war with the U.S. for nearly 20 years?
History professors need to stick to teaching history. They seem to be seeing the unfolding of events through a cloudy lens.