George W. Bush now is finding his eight year in the White House coming to a close. From the conservative point of view, his presidency has been mixed. He failed to enforce federal immigration laws at the behest of the business community – and as a “compassionate conservative” – leading to a continuing flood of illegal aliens into the nation. He backed an immigration bill that would have led to amnesty for illegals already here. These two stands cost him dearly in the polls in his own party, leading to his historically low approval ratings.
His economic record has been good, but marred by the 2008 collapse. But he simply allowed way too much spending, including the Medicare bill, and this again cost him standing among conservatives. Otherwise his tax policies have been equitable and effective. And while he fought for Social Security reform, the public turned against him because the public has been swayed by Democrat rhetoric and is unaware of the magnitude of the problem. They will learn when the system hits the crisis stage, which is approaching rapidly.
But Bush was strong on the military and national security, for which most Americans have not given him his due. With the much-maligned Dick Cheney advising him, the nation was kept free from further terrorist attacks after 9/11. Aggressively we pursued terrorists in foreign lands, finally killing many top-rank fighters in Iraq, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the top dog there.
Although Iraq was bungled, leading very sadly to thousands of American deaths, it ultimately has been a success but a costly one to the nation and to the president. What happened in Iraq could not have been anticipated, especially in one backhanded way: The war drew terrorists from around the globe into Iraq to fight the devil Americans. The terrorists lost big and many were killed. And Iraq now is free. And this is a tribute to Bush which the media are not acknowledging.
Afghanistan was “the good war” that America fought to get at the heart of the terrorist problem. Although bin Laden was not captured, our military has succeeded in transforming that nation, as Iraq has been transformed. It will be a difficult slog ahead to keep them transformed and that will be out of Bush’s hands. But it was his doing in the first place. He deserves credit, although most must go to our men and women in uniform.
And in sticking to tough tactics here at home, Bush has kept America safe despite the outrageous attacks by the left and the media over the last 7 years. We hope that Obama continues those policies.
Perhaps one of Mr. Bush’s most underappreciated efforts has been the ongoing expansion of NATO. In 2004, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania joined. In 2008, invitations were extended to Macedonia, Albania and Croatia. Ukraine and Georgia are expected to join within the next few years. What could contribute more to world peace than to convert increasing numbers of nations to American allies? This is another positive legacy of the internationalist George Bush.
On the domestic legal front, Mr. Bush has been successful in placing two conservatives – John Roberts and Samuel Alito – on the Supreme Court. He did not make the mistake his father did in appointing a faux conservative like David Souter, the hermit judge from New Hampshire who has turned hard left. Bush also placed many conservatives on federal courts throughout the land. Along with his positions on abortion and gays in the military, his legacy has been positive.
Bush was savaged for the botched FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina, but again, Republicans always have warned that government agencies are incompetent. The whole Katrina mess would never have happened if the levees had been maintained in overwhelmingly Democrat New Orleans. But the city’s famous corruption never allowed for that. Bush should have pushed back on that issue, but his famous restraint stopped him, much to the frustration of conservatives. Bush’s flying over New Orleans, but not landing to show the presidential flag in a time of crisis, was inexcusable, however.
President Bush and his wife Laura have been a comforting presence in the White House in these troubled times. Laura Bush has maintained an air of grace and dignity as her husband was being viciously attacked in the media, and this is to her credit and to the high comportment of the Bush family. She has never been bitter and never has lashed out at some “vast left-wing conspiracy” as she would have were she more like Hillary Clinton. Even though she would have been more right.
Finally to the character of the man himself. Just a drunken frat boy, the media said, a cocaine addict, a nothing. And indeed George W. Bush overcame alcoholism to piece together a memorable life. Inside, George Bush is a good man. His Christian faith has kept him steadfast with God in the most difficult times. And he has always kept an upbeat demeanor, as has his wife. This is another of the good legacies of George W. Bush as opposed to the suspicious and angry demeanor of Clinton.
From graciously congratulating both Al Gore and Jimmy Carter in White House visits for their Nobel Prizes, to his insistent attempts to reach across the political aisle to solve the nation’s problems, George Bush promised a “new tone” in Washington after the rancorous Clinton years. What we got was not a new tone, but a more deafening one. This tone was heavy with repetitive media slander, insult and libel. The media simply hated George Bush.
President Bush’s problem is that he is a Republican. And when Republicans stick their heads up, the do-nothing media, with their own empires collapsing around them, have nothing but vitriol and anger, which really is internal and it a flaw of character that runs deep in American liberalism.
Certainly George Bush’s legacy at the present time is one of low polls. They are calling him the worst president ever, but this too shall pass. Even Jimmy Carter, who really was the worst president ever , now has been redeemed. In 20 years, the world will look back at George Bush and at Iraq and Afghanistan and they will judge him much less harshly than they do today.
The defeat of John McCain and the Republican party in 2008 was as much about the decades-long manipulation of the American public by an ever more biased media as it was about the facts on the ground. Yet McCain’s loss was no landslide despite over-the-top media cheerleading for Obama. Americans are and should be skeptical about the Democrats in power, already racked by many scandals from Blagojevich to Richardson and others.
And it is worth noting that even economically desperate states like Massachusetts and Michigan have much worse problems than the nation at large, and yet their citizens continued to entrench the Democrats who have caused the problems in the first place, with the backing of their leftist media and academics. George Bush has suffered at the hands of the same liberals. And that is the big story of the last 8 years.
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