Is George W. Bush a wimp?

Plus: H-a-v-o-c in Cincinnati; history and the Resurrection.

By Anthony York
Published April 12, 2001 6:23PM (EDT)

Drudge Report: "State of Emergency Declared in Cincinnati"
Andrew Sullivan: "White Niggers Again"
WorldNet Daily: "Historians Now Think Resurrection a Reality"
Tom "The Failure of Populism?" "Bullheaded Bushies Finally Apologize"
The Onion: "Bush Regales Dinner Guests With Impromptu Oratory on Virgil's Minor Works"

Does W. stand for wimp? That is the question of the day on, and around conservative sites, after President Bush negotiated the release of a U.S. Navy crew being held in China, complete with an apparent apology to the Chinese government. "Now we know what the W. stands for," writes conservative columnist Don Feder in a piece titled "I'm Sorry -- That a Wimp Like W. Is President." "The president just failed his first foreign policy test, and a crucial test at that. The Chinese communists are the last people on earth we can afford to show weakness to."

But posters at had the president's back. "Utter poppycock," writes one. "Don obviously did not read the letter to the ChiComs, which is why the 24 were released. W made China do 3 things: 1) Stand on a world soapbox naked, 2) write 'We are flaming a**holes' in bright red lipstick on their foreheads, and 3) yell, 'We are petty, criminal cowards and the real world bullies. Keep that in mind every time you deal with us!!!' Oh yeah, the fourth thing was, he made them release the 24 Americans."

"The Chinese look terrible in all of this and have screwed themselves royally," writes another psoter. "Bush isn't a cowboy and has no need to prove his manhood by being a bully. I'm proud of him and thought the letter was terrific. Read the letter if you haven't. If you can find an apology in there let me know. We accepted no blame -- gave away nothing. We did nothing wrong. And our people are home. They finished their checklist for destruction. So, what did the Chinese get? Nada."

The Freepers have a thread titled "What Would You Do Differently" for all would-be Bush bashers, which contained this little racist pearl:

Would have written Wong Wei's wife the following letter:

Dear Madame Wei:

You unhonorable letter to our president betrays the hand of a running dog lackey of unvenerable Chairman Zemin and his Gang of Four.

Your husband was a "No. 10" eggroll of a pilot. Our plane was like the slumbering waterbuffalo that plows rice paddy; your plane like the snake that strikes the rat. What would most venerable Confucuous say about waterbuffalo's ability to gore the snake?

You will only get sincere apology for your eggroll husband death when you can eat eggdrop with chopsticks. We only sorry that there will be no more of Wong's dong for you ... perhaps you can travel to Hong Kong when our Seventh Fleet pulls in and let our most honorable sailors pleasure your "bird's nest soup" with "No. 1" horse-upon-horse technique. But you must apologize sincerely to everyone of them for your husband's cowardly flying that resulted in our plane having to touchdown upon your demon-filled unclean soil.

Makes Jonah Goldberg look like the politically correct SWAT team by comparison.

And as for any hopes of getting Freepers to engage in a thoughtful discussion on the issue, the poster who opened the thread finally threw in the towel. "I see that any attempt to be serious about this appears to be ill-fated. I guess I expected more from the armchair quarterbacks who've done nothing but complain."

Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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