Newsweek Editor: Bush 41 Vindicated by History on Iraq, Tax Hikes

On Tuesday’s "Imus in the Morning," Newsweek editor Jon Meacham opined that George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, had been vindicated by history. He suggested that Newsweek runs stories based on partisan preferences, i.e. we helped defeat President Bush in 1992, but in hindsight, George H.W. Bush was right. Meacham also revealed that journalists often make hasty judgements and treat those judgements as "infallible." In the same segment, Meacham admitted that journalists are wrong. Meacham offers as an example the coverage of President Bush 41 during the 1992 campaign and before:

"What's important is journalistically, one of the mistakes we make is we kick people in the shins and we tend to make instant judgments and act as though our judgment is infallible and absolute. It’s not. See ‘wimp factor,’ see the mistakes and the misperceptions of the first Bush at the time when everybody was saying he was out of touch and was no good. Now we see with hindsight that he’d done pretty well."

But right after criticizing journalists for their instant judgments that are sometimes wrong, Meacham offered his own judgements of the current Bush Administration:

"The same thing may happen and we have to hope it happens for the sake of the men and women who are at the front while Tony Snow is chuckling at the podium, there are other people's sons and daughters in harm's way. We have to hope that the experience, the cumulative years of wisdom and experience that is bipartisan, I mean Vernon Jordan is not one of 41's guys, far from it. But, that group of people have seen almost every conceivable situation in modern American history; they’ve been a part of it, and if they can help shed some light, then God be with them, and let’s see what we can do to make this right."

The judgement made is that the Bush administration does not take the war in Iraq seriously and can not fix the situation with advisers of their choosing. Meacham, appearing on "Imus" and discussing the current cover of Newsweek magazine, which shows a close up of Bush 41 with Bush 43 in background and features the caption ‘Father Knows Best,’ opined that history had vindicated President Bush 41:

"I think that everything he did that got him beaten in 1992, that only got him 37% of the vote, only slightly more than you or I would have gotten that year, has been proven in the light of history to have been the right thing to do."

In January 1992, Newsweek contributor Howard Fineman suggested that Bush 41 ought to run on a platform of higher taxes and of asking the American people to sacrifice. In the August 24, 1992 issue Fineman portrayed Bush as out of touch with the American public on domestic issues. A look at the Bush 41record suggests he was out of touch with conservative voters. Bush 41 raised taxes and the economy soured. Bush 41 refused to topple Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War, and let the problem fester for future administrations. And Bush 41 gave David Souter a seat on the Supreme Court, and he has turned out to be one of the most liberal justices. So by whose historic standards is Bush 41 vindicated? Apparently the standards of liberals.

Bush 41 was attacked by Newsweek in 1992 not because he was a conservative. He was attacked to elect Bill Clinton. An objective look at the Bush record show’s the Newsweek attacks to be politically motivated.

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