March 14, 2005. It was only a little under four years ago, but it must seem to many, especially the Republican Party, like an entire world away.
Recall, if you will, that George W. Bush had been reelected in Nov., with a slightly strengthened GOP majority in Congress. Weeks later, the “Orange Revolution” in the Ukraine had seemingly, and stirringly, ended Russian influence in that country. Iraq had just gone through “successful” elections. These events, combined with Bush’s second Inaugural Address which stressed the pursuit of freedom in almost radical ways, seemed to be proof of the ultimate wisdom of Bush’s “Freedom Agenda.” March 14th seemed to be the final nail in the realist/anti-Bush movement.
You’ll recall that over 1,000,000 Lebanese jammed Beirut on that day. Syria’s occupation/presence would soon end. History was on an inevitable march to freedom.
But it wasn’t. Four years on, Lebanon is a mess, having gone through one war and seeing Hezbollah gain much power. The Ukrainian Orange Revolution is pure dysfunction. In the Palestinian Territories, freedom led to… Hamas. In short, the world is a mess.
We couldn’t have known that 4 yrs. ago. But then came Terri Schiavo, Katrina, and the ultimate mess of Iraq. March 14th was the Bush Presidency’s peak. It’s fall was swift, sudden, but warranted.