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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Bush is neither biggest hero nor biggest villain

If you take President Bush out of the equation, the results of an AP-AOL News poll about heroes and villains seem just about right.

The results of the nationwide poll, conducted Dec. 19-21, were published Thursday.

It is probably no surprise that Mr. Bush was named by a plurality of respondents as both the biggest villain and the biggest hero of the year. But the results are a reflection of today’s polarized politics more than they are a representation of reality.

After all, in the villain category, Mr. Bush finished with 25 percent of the vote, more than three times the number of votes of the person who came in second, al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden (8 percent). Surely no honest person would sincerely say that Mr. Bush is a bigger villain than the al-Qaida mastermind, or than the men who finished third (Saddam Hussein, 6 percent), fourth (Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 5 percent) or fifth (Kim Jong Il of North Korea, 2 percent).

Similarly, in the hero category, it is hard to believe that Mr. Bush (13 percent) was named by more than twice as many respondents as the second-place vote getter, soldiers/troops in Iraq (6 percent).

Surely those brave men and women who selflessly put their lives on the line each day in defense of our country are bigger heroes than the man who sits in the White House.

And one could argue that philanthropist and entertainment mogul Oprah Winfrey (3 percent), who has contributed $40 million toward the establishment of a leadership school for girls in South Africa, is more of a hero than Mr. Bush.

The poll mostly shows that the country is sharply divided.

Throw out Mr. Bush, and things are just about right.

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