The Moose comments on the wisdom of hindsight.
In the midst of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, there is an effort to view the terrible events of that day through a rear view mirror. Of course, we should always find way to improve the governmental efforts and self-examination is useful. In this regard, the 9/11 Commision performed an extremely valuable service in discovering problems and offering constructive solutions.
However, there is a tendency for Monday morning quaterbacking and deconstructing leaders on the basis of an unrealistic standard. The right claims that President Clinton was negligent in assessing the threat posed by Osama. Lefties assert that President Bush should have known that Saddam didn't possess WMD. If we only knew then what we know now. Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way.
Now, there is an effort to suggest that Rudy Giuliani failed to properly protect New York from a terrorist attack. Surely, there was more he could have done - but compared to who? Virtually no one anticipated an attack of that nature. It is too much to ask of a Mayor to be fully prepared for such an extraordinary assault on the Homeland when the Federal government has missed the boat.
And, in the aftermath of the attack, Mayor Giuliani responded masterfully - rallying not just a city, but the country. A critical component of leadership is to assure the public and restore the services of government. Rudy did just that. Contrast Giuliani's performance on 9/11 with the response of Federal and local leaders to Katrina.
America hungers for leadership that works - regardless of party identification. A testimony to that yearning is that overwhelmingly Democratic New York City has successively re-elected two moderate Republican Mayors who have governed effectively. John McCain's popularity derives from his remarkable ability to promote reform and transcend party.
Democrats in red states from Virginia to Montana are successfully governing red states. And Joe Lieberman's emergence as a strong independent candidate has confounded many partisans and certainly the lefty nutroots. Our country is not nearly as polarized along party lines as some partisans would have you believe.
Unfortunately, too often politics offers retrospective finger-pointing rather than a future oriented vision of problem solving. Americans are probably less interested in what politicians got wrong, but rather what they can make right.
2006 is about the past - 2008 will be about the future. --