A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from one of my reverse fans. (A “reverse fan” is someone who reads me but hates me.)

On this occasion he berated me for what he called my “constant Bush-bashing,” a chargeto which I cheerfully pleaded guilty.

The writer’s defense of Bush, however, was as passionate as any I have encountered.

“I would follow him into Hell with a switchblade,” my e-mail pal wrote.

He went on to extol the president for fulfilling the role that he considered paramount above all others—defending the nation against its enemies.

The weak-kneed Democrats, led by the feckless Clinton, had failed miserably in that regard, he said, citing our feeble response to a variety of assaults overseas. That had led to the mess that Bush inherited when he took office.

But, when struck on 9/11, Mr. Bush struck back, smiting first Afghanistan, then Iraq. It was no accident, he said, that there has been no attack on us since 9/11. An enemy will now think twice before arousing our ire.

I didn’t respond to the e-mail. Let lying dogs sleep; that’s my motto. But if I had responded, I would have pointed out that in retaliating to an attack it’s important to go after the enemy who attacked you, not a disinterested third party.

By that measure, it was OK to attack Afghanistan because it was the chief nesting place for al Qaida. Iraq wasn’t. It wasn’t even in the top five.

If we were looking to punish someone for 9/11, we should have attacked Saudi Arabia where most of the bombers came from and where even today the school textbooks spew hatred toward us. I’m not saying we should have bombed the Saudis, mind you, I’m just saying “if….”

So I discount President Bush’s performance as the Great Defender. He defended us against a marginal international threat while letting the other threats against us grow in strength.

A president isn’t hired just to defend us against military threats, you know. He must also defend us against a bleak future.

In this regard, Mr. Bush is a miserable failure. With his profligate ways, he has put our economic future in jeopardy. We are in hock up to our eyeballs to Japan and China and if they ever decide to pull the plug, we will go down the drain reserved for great world powers that act stupidly. Our main hope is that our debt to them is so great that they cannot afford to let us collapse, lest we take them with us.

He has done little to address the looming health care crisis that will surely envelop us when our Baby Boomers grow increasingly old and decrepit. His prescription drug plan did more for drug companies than it did for oldsters and his colleagues in Congress talk of cutting the size of government by cutting Medicare.

But, perhaps most importantly, he has failed to provide even the suggestion of leadership on the issue of global warming, instead preferring to give aid and comfort to the deniers (most of whom work for polluting industries).

Forget the naysayers; we have met the enemy on global warming and he is us. That is the near-unanimous consensus of the reputable scientific community.

So compelling is the evidence, in fact, that I expect the skeptics to change their tune soon. They will say that, yes, there is global warming, but it is good for you.

They will say that winters will be milder and even forbidding places like upper Alaska, northern Canada, even Duluth, will become pleasant places to live. Heating bills will fall and we’ll use less fossil fuel, they’ll say.

Don’t believe them. For every good thing warming brings there will be two bad and twice as bad. Katrina will be fondly remembered as a thundershower and eventually coastal regions will be scuba diving territory.

So don’t talk to me about following George Bush into Hell. We won’t have to go that far to find someplace just as hot.