Bush's Magnificent Speech
By Bonnie Chernin Rogoff
Founder, Jews For Life
September 27, 2001
Much has been already been written, but I will try to add some thoughts regarding the speech that received raves and was heard around the world.
As President Bush stood there, looking taller than usual and more resolute, he began to speak. I turned to my husband.
"This is going to go down as one of the top three of the past century," said I.
"How do you know?" said he.
"Check out Bush's demeanor. He's angry, and determined. Bush is best when he's angry, because he's driven."
I was right. His rage could hardly be contained in spite of his composed but solemn demeanor. The more President Bush said, the better he said it.
His objectives clear, his manner steadfast, his message assured Americans of our nation's strength, renewed our commitment to freedom, recounted acts of heroism during the attack, and warned that this war will not be a short one, will leave many casualties and be fought without a definite endpoint in sight.
Noticeable in the background was Hillary. Glum, pouting and moody, she was having a bad case of PMS (Pre-Presidential Misery Syndrome). It's easy to see why. Seeing Bush's commanding presentation, Hillary woke up to see her own dreams of running in 2004 go poof! Oh, the pity of it all!
In fact, President Bush exceeded everybody's expectations. Political analyst and military expert Barbra Streisand has now pledged her commitment to national unity:
"In light of recent events, I strongly believe we must support our government despite our disagreements on certain policies, such as those relating to environmental, educational, social and other specific issues," gabs Babs.
Prior to his address, President Bush was shaking hands with members of Congress, and his fondness and warmth toward everyone was genuine. This is not a pretentious man. This is no Gore, or Clinton.
Underrated and scorned by the press as inexperienced, ineffectual, incapable of handling foreign affairs, and too dumb to enunciate a sentence, he seemed articulate enough last week. If this keeps up, President Bush may surpass Ronald Reagan as the greatest communicator of all.
Most impressive is that Bush was able to portray and strike a balance between two contrasting images: his humanitarian side and his role as Commander-In-Chief:
"Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al-Qaida who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals including American citizens you have unjustly imprisoned, and protect foreign journalists, diplomats, and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating. These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. The Taliban must act and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate."
This was an ultimatum to terrorists throughout the world to either act in accordance with our terms, or pay dearly. The ultimatum didn't end there:
"Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."
Contrast these stern warnings with Bush's kind words of praise to members of Congress of both parties:
"Speaker Hastert and Minority Leader Gephardt, Majority Leader Daschle and Senator Lott, I thank you for your friendship and your leadership and your service to our country…And ladies and gentlemen of the Congress, I thank you, their representatives, for what you have already done, and for what we will do together."
For the American people, he had reassuring words:
"I ask you to live your lives and hug your children. I know many citizens have fears tonight, and I ask you to be calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat."
For the victim's families, his words were personal and filled with emotion:
"And I will carry this. It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son."
One specific measure taken by President Bush was the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security, which will help oversee air traffic safety and thwart any future terrorist attempts at home.
Finally, these touching words:
"Finally, please continue praying for the victims of terror and their families, for those in uniform and for our great country. Prayer has comforted us in sorrow, and will help strengthen us for the journey ahead."
One year ago, I had no idea what Governor Bush meant in his campaign when he kept referring to "compassionate conservatism." After watching President Bush's speech, I have no doubts.
It takes a very big man with a huge heart and a keen understanding of our people and our national interests to accomplish what President Bush did last week. Those old worries about his being too inexperienced to be a capable leader are over.
Author Gerald Posner, an outspoken Gore supporter last year, is a strong Bush supporter now, after witnessing Bush's leadership skills handling this international crisis. Posner wrote in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal:
"If there was a single event that convinced me my initial feelings were wrong, it was the president's rather remarkable speech to the country and a joint session of Congress last Thursday," Posner stated. "The best man for this incredibly hard campaign is now president. I suspect many of my fellow Democrats feel exactly the same way."
I hope so. I'd hate to see them supporting scowling Hillary for President in 2004.
Above all, it is nice to know we can kiss goodbye any attempts by grumbling liberals to ever bring up the Florida recount again.
Copyright 2001 by Bonnie Chernin Rogoff. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.