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November 26, 2007

Dear President Bush: You Could Make Me Exceedingly Thankful


Dear President Bush,


I had a nice Thanksgiving this year. I was thankful primarily for my faith, my family, my health and my relationships. I was also grateful for elements of the bigger picture, including unprecedented economic growth and a decline in poverty in much of the world, a significantly improved situation in Iraq, Nicolas Sarkozy and Tim Russert’s debate question about driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.


But there was at least as much, if not more, that I simply could not be thankful for.


Congress is under the control of a Democratic majority that is bringing us headaches on issues across the board. After declaring the Iraq War “lost,” they gave their supporters at MoveOn.org a free pass for labeling our top general in Iraq a traitor and managed to make the Turks angrier with us than they already were.


They refuse to ratify free trade agreements that would make both the United States and our trading partners more prosperous. They plan on raising taxes instead of extending the tax cuts that have given us a booming economy, historically low unemployment rates and the ability to keep more of the money we have rightfully earned. Their spending bills are filled with pork-barrel projects that would surely shock the average taxpayer (not that the old Republican majority was much better in that respect).


The prospect for next year’s elections doesn’t look all that good either. Hillary Clinton is ahead in too many polls, and her position on health care, taxes, free trade, foreign policy and social issues is in no way anything to be thankful for. The Republican field itself, though more ideologically diverse than the Democrats’, carries the risk of the nomination of a candidate who might undermine proven conservative principles.


But all of that doesn’t matter, Mr. President. That’s because by next Thanksgiving, you will have had the opportunity to turn things around, and give me much to be thankful for.


On foreign policy, all you have to do is keep it up. General Petraeus, the surge and the new strategy on the ground are all good for Iraq. Substantially reduced violence and a large decrease in casualties have finally stopped efforts in Congress to prematurely end the conflict. My hope is that our continued presence in Iraq becomes a position the Republican nominee can run on next year.


My native country of Lebanon is in dire need of your help. For the first time in recent history, that country’s presidency is unoccupied due to the failure of parliamentary factions to agree on a successor. And also for the first time in recent years, there is an opportunity to bring in a president who does not act as a mere Syrian tool who will work to further destabilize Lebanon and the region. You helped free Lebanon from Syrian occupation, what is needed now is a final push to rid that small democracy of Syrian influence.


Also, next year’s Thanksgiving dinner would be much more pleasant without a nuclear Iran in the world. Though I don’t necessarily know the best way to disarm the Iranians, I do know that the United States has more diplomatic and economic muscle than any other country in the world. Oh, I’ve also heard that you have access to really powerful and precise fighter aircraft if you need them. Just sayin’.


At home, keep going crazy with the vetoes, Mr. President. You should have been doing so for a long time, but better late than never. Conservatism is not so compassionate when taxpayers are forced to pay for subsidies handed to people who don’t need or deserve them, or for congressmen’s pet projects that are not going to be of any value to the overwhelming majority of Americans.


You can also correct some of your mistakes, Mr. President. With countless friends and relatives waiting to enter the United States, I ask that you at least set the stage for true immigration reform that builds a wall for illegal immigrants while opening wider gates for law-abiding ones.


Mr. President, next year I could sit in front of that turkey and be thankful that the world is safer with a more peaceful Iraq, an unarmed Iran, a free Lebanon, and the prospect of a Middle East on the path to democracy. I could enjoy my apple pie with the knowledge that my friends patiently waiting for a Green Card or visa could be joining me soon. And I could be doing all of that with a few more of my dollars staying in my pocket.


Of course I would be most thankful if you’ll have done your best to support the conservative candidate in the presidential election. If your approval ratings stay as they are now, that could mean staying as far away from him as humanly possible, and maybe even endorsing Hillary.


But you can take one for the team. You’ve done that plenty so far. And, indeed, I thank you for some of it. But by next year, I hope to have much more to thank you for.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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