Bush’s irrepressible desire to honor America’s enemies, cont.
George W. Bush, who promised before he was elected to respect the honor and dignity of the presidential office, has certainly not respected the honor and dignity of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. First he cheapened the award by turning it into a retirement gift for unsuccessful federal officials, most notably George Tenet, his “slam-dunk” pal left over from the Clinton administration. Now, shockingly, he has given it to one of the most outspokenly anti-American public figures of the last 40 years, Muhammad Ali. Did you know that when Ali refused to serve in the Army in the 1960s, it was not because he didn’t support the Vietnam war, but because America is an infidel country? He said at the time: “We don’t take part in Christian wars or wars of any unbelievers.” Daniel Pipes goes through Ali’s record, up to and including his shockingly disrespectful conduct toward the president during the award ceremony, and concludes, “Awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Muhammad Ali gratuitously celebrated a man profoundly opposed to Mr. Bush’s own, his party’s, and the country’s principles. It represents, I submit, the nadir of his presidency.”
To whom will Bush next give the Medal of Freedom? Whoopi Goldberg? Sean Penn?
However, in fairness to Bush, I ought to point out that Ali is not the first anti-American African-American to receive the Medal of Freedom. Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young have also received the award.
I also want to point out that the language Pipes uses about Bush, “nadir of his presidency,” is unheard of from the soft-spoken Pipes. I think this reflects the fact that since the Harriet Miers nomination mainstream conservatives now openly disrespect the president, as also reflected by Richard Lowry’s unalloyed remark that he disbelieves what Bush said about illegal immigration.