If you’ve been a long time reader of Right Wing News, you know I have a mixed opinion of George Bush. Well, today I decided to go ahead and tell you exactly what I think of him so that no one can say I withheld it until after the election.
First off, I don’t regret supporting Bush in 2004. He was a better choice for the job than John Kerry and it’s also worth noting that there’s probably not a single problem this country has had in the last four years that we wouldn’t have had under a Kerry presidency.
The federal government’s reaction to Katrina would have been the same because the local government in New Orleans was supposed to handle the immediate crisis, not FEMA. The bailout issue would also have still occurred because Democrats created the underlying problems. The big differences today would probably be that…
1) We would have lost in Iraq, the Middle-East would be in complete chaos, and Al-Qaeda would be resurgent as a result.
2) The national deficit would be considerably higher.
3) Our national security measures would have been loosened and we may have been hit with a terrorist attack as a result.
4) The Republican Party would be in a much better position.
#4 pains me greatly, but country is more important than party and it was impossible to foresee what a lousy President George Bush would be in his second term.
……..Which brings me to what I think of George Bush:
George Bush has not been all bad as a President. He was inspirational after 9/11, he took much needed security measures to safeguard our country, he has prevented another major terrorist attack for over 7 years, our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were brilliantly executed, and we have John Roberts and Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court as a result of Bush’s efforts. He is also, despite the Left’s unending slanders of him, one of the more honest politicians in Washington — certainly, he’s several cuts above Obama or McCain in that area — and there’s something to be said for that.
When it comes to foreign policy, many of the problems he’s had would have been had by any President in his shoes. For example, the negative reaction around the world to the war on terror mostly had to do with the fact that the United States was actually asking the people of spoiled, ungrateful nations to help us for a change instead of our helping them. It was also difficult to deal with the politics of countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which are fragile and not hostile to us per se, but were big parts of the problem. Also, the situation was complicated by a habitually dishonest Democratic Party that essentially has the same policy positions as Al-Qaeda on most issues of significance that pertain to the safety and security of Americans. That wasn’t an easy issue to work around.
Additionally, thank goodness for Bush’s decision to hang in there in Iraq and back the surge and I really don’t blame him for getting snookered on Iraq’s WMD program. Intelligence agencies all around the world made the same mistake.
However, his horrific miscalculation on the costs in blood and treasure of that whole war has been disastrous. Had we known then what we know today, we’d have probably put a friendly Sunni general in charge of Iraq, let him make us some empty promises about democracy, given them a little aid, and walked away. Although that scenario wouldn’t have presented the same transformative potential as the current one, it still would have been an improvement over Saddam and a baby step towards democracy without the massive expense and loss of American lives that we’ve seen since 2003.
However, once we got into a situation where we had taken over responsibility of policing the streets, we were put in a position where we had no good options other than to stick it out until the end. Will it be worth it? Over the long haul, if Iraq remains a free, democratic nation, it will likely be worth it — but it still should have been handled much differently and it was Bush’s responsibility to do that.
On the domestic front, all in all, Bush has been a nightmare. Beyond Roberts and Alito, what has he really done? What are his big achievements? No Child Left Behind, which the Right didn’t like because it shifted power back to Washington and the Left hated because it enforced standards? The Medicare Prescription Drug Act, which was a huge Johnsonesque boondoggle? Tax cuts, which were a good idea, but aren’t even permanent? And the deficits? No matter how loudly conservatives shouted or how much we complained, he refused to make a serious effort to cut down on Congress’ out-of-control spending.
But, the place where Bush really fell down was on the political side of things. I’m not entirely sure what happened to George Bush in his second term, but he was not up to the job. Why that is exactly, I don’t know. Maybe he felt like he was beyond “mere politics” since he didn’t have to run for reelection again. Maybe he had a crisis of confidence because of his lack of speaking skills. Maybe he was just tired or having some other horrible personal problem we don’t know about, but however you slice it, George Bush has fallen down on the job over the last four years.
The Democrats came out and slandered him. Bush said nothing. The Democrats accused George Bush of being a liar. Bush said nothing. The Democrats blamed Bush for the failings of New Orleans’ local government after Katrina. Bush said nothing. They’ve attacked his policies, his fellow Republicans, and the country — and Bush has said nothing. The man has the biggest megaphone in the country and with a few exceptions, he has kept it under his desk for 8 years while the people who trusted him politically went down in flames. Why did the guy who spent so much time in his first term working to build a bigger Republican majority allow that to happen?
Why did he try to ignore his biggest supporters on issues like spending, immigration, the Dubai Ports Deal, and Harriet Miers? Did he get bad advice? Did he have horrible instincts? Was he out-of-touch? Was he just indifferent to the fall-out his decisions created? Whatever the case may be, Bush inflicted calamitous amounts of completely unnecessary damage to the Republican Party with his decisions — and by “unnecessary,” I mean that if we would have had a politically adept Republican President, the GOP might control the House or the Senate today — or worst case scenario, we might be a few seats down, as opposed to the total collapse we’ve seen as a result of George Bush allowing his approval rating to sink into the twenties.
In summary, despite the slanders and calumnies heaped upon him by the Left, I think George Bush is a decent, honest man who has done his best to keep this country safe and prosecute a very difficult war on terror. Although his presidency has not been all bad and many of his “greatest sins” were creations of the media (the government’s Katrina reaction, the Valerie Plame scandal) or were actually good decisions (Gitmo, choosing not to give up in Iraq), he has been bad for the country, particularly domestically, and he has been a Hindenburg-style disaster for the Republican Party.