During the last presidential campaign, then Governor George Bush said he wanted to bring a new tone of civility to Washington. He has failed, but not for lack of trying.

Even as Sen. Edward Kennedy (search) was calling him a fraud and a payer of bribes to other nations to help in postwar Iraq, the president was more of a gentleman than his detractors. He even said he "respected" Sen. Kennedy and wished that he and others would stick to criticizing his policies, if they must, instead of engaging in name-calling.

Liberal Democrats are frustrated. They have long believed that government belongs to them by right. Having lost the last several election cycles, including both houses of Congress under their patron saint, Bill Clinton, they are frustrated and don't know what to do with themselves. So they engage in name calling, rather than debate policy.

Writing in The New Republic -- which hardly anyone reads -- some guy named Jonathan Chait penned a piece called "The Case for Bush Hatred." Chait begins "I hate George W. Bush" and it goes downhill from there.

What is it about the president that people like Chait and Kennedy hate? It is that while he's not a perfect man, he is a good man. That's what came through in Brit Hume's remarkably candid interview with the president last Monday night.

The president's detractors say his modesty is fake, but how would they know? I remember former Sen. Alan Simpson's great line: "He who travels the high road of humility in Washington will not be troubled by heavy traffic."

There's something about turning the other cheek, as the president has done to the name-callers. Eventually it defeats one's enemies. They are made to look petty and vindictive, which they are.

If the critics have better ideas for dealing with terrorists and mass murderers like Saddam Hussein, then let's hear them.

So far, all they can do is criticize decisions already made. They haven't a clue how to lead the country. Let's hope they never get the chance.

And that's Column One for this week.

What do you think? Send your responses to: afterhours@foxnews.com.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.