The Long View

Michael Barone writes about William Pitt the Younger, one of Great Britain’s greatest statesmen, and concludes by comparing him to George W. Bush:

Pitt’s farsightedness reminds me of George W. Bush’s attempts, even in adversity, to forge long-term solutions rather than short-term patchwork. It has been on display in the past three weeks as Israel has responded to attacks by Hezbollah. There are many points of similarity between Pitt and Bush. Both had fathers who held their executive positions before them, and both faced circumstances different from those their fathers had faced and responded with different policies, designed to provide long-term solutions. Both were bitterly and vituperatively opposed by the political opposition and much of the chattering class of the day. Both were criticized for violating civil liberties as their countries faced unprecedented dangers–attacks from revolutionary France and Islamofascist terrorism. ***

But I come back to what I think they had and have in common: a steely character and an ability to persevere on a long-term course despite harrowing setbacks. Both came to power in part because of their fathers and because their lineage gave people–GeorgeIII and members of Parliament in Pitt’s case, American voters in Bush’s–confidence in their character. And, in my view, that confidence has proved to be deserved in both cases.


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