Ben Stein: Bush Is Not <I>All</I> Bad

Comedian Ben Stein speaks at the Republican National Convention in the First Union Center in Philadelphia Monday, July 31, 2000.

Sunday Morning commentator Ben Stein says that the war in Iraq may be a mess, but President Bush has presided over some very positive things.

After the State Of The Union speech a few days ago, a muttering chorus of media critics told us endlessly that Bush was irrelevant, a loser, out of touch, even pitiful. NPR actually had Merle Haggard, the Okie from Muskogee, claim that the state of the nation had never been worse. And suddenly it hit me. The media is staging a coup against Mr. Bush, just the way they did against LBJ and Nixon and tried to do against Reagan. They cannot impeach Bush because only Congress can do that. But the media is doing what it can to basically oust Mr. Bush while still leaving him lifting weights in the White House. Look, Merle Haggard is a great singer. But he knows nothing of what's up in America right now.

The truth is that we are in a huge economic boom. We are coming off a mammoth real estate explosion that put the most Americans in history in their own homes. We have totally full employment. After decades of stagnation, real wages are rising. The nation is wealthier than it has ever been (although this is very unevenly distributed). Most important of all, there has not been one major or even minor successful terrorist incident against the U.S. homeland in over five years. Bush may not have done it by himself, but he had something to do with it.

True, we are mired in a war without end, costing us far too many great young and old Americans and too many limbs and wrecked families and vastly too much money. But we all know we're getting out soon.

It was a huge mistake, but I'd like to see a President who did not make immense mistakes. What about Vietnam? What about Korea?

True, the rich often get away with murder in the executive suite. Bush is partly to blame, but all politicians cater to the rich. What America's high degree thieves suck out of the system is nauseating and I fight it constantly, but that's life.

Let's be honest. Let's admit that Bush has presided over a lot of success in addition to some serious failures.

But no one elected the media to anything. In the TV studios and newsrooms, there is a lynch mob at work. Let's see it for what it is. Mr. Bush is the only President we have, and, with all his faults, I trust him a lot more than I trust the unelected princes and princesses of the newsroom.