Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bush's Achievements and Failures...

Please read the entire article: "Bush's Achievements
Ten things the president got right"
, but here's a summary of the list: (tip from Right Voices)

  1. His decision in 2001 to jettison the Kyoto global warming treaty so loved by Al Gore, the environmental lobby, elite opinion, and Europeans.
  2. Enhanced interrogation of terrorists.
  3. The rebuilding of presidential authority, badly degraded in the era of Vietnam, Watergate, and Bill Clinton.
  4. Bush’s unswerving support for Israel.
  5. No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the education reform bill cosponsored by America’s most prominent liberal Democratic senator Edward Kennedy. The teachers’ unions, school boards, the education establishment, conservatives adamant about local control of schools–they all loathed the measure and still do. It requires two things they ardently oppose, mandatory testing and accountability.
  6. Bush declared in his second inaugural address in 2005 that American foreign policy (at least his) would henceforth focus on promoting democracy
  7. The Medicare prescription drug benefit, enacted in 2003. It’s not only wildly popular; it has cost less than expected by triggering competition among drug companies.
  8. John Roberts and Sam Alito. In putting them on the Supreme Court and naming Roberts chief justice, Bush achieved what had eluded Richard Nixon, Reagan, and his own father. Roberts and Alito made the Court indisputably more conservative. And the good news is Roberts, 53, and Alito, 58, should be justices for decades to come.
  9. He strengthened relations with east Asian democracies (Japan, South Korea, Australia) without causing a rift with China. On top of that, he forged strong ties with India. An important factor was their common enemy, Islamic jihadists. After 9/11, Bush made the most of this, and Indian leaders were receptive.
  10. THE SURGE. Bush prompted nearly unanimous disapproval in January 2007 when he announced he was sending more troops to Iraq and adopting a new counterinsurgency strategy. His opponents initially included the State Department, the Pentagon, most of Congress, the media, the foreign policy establishment, indeed the whole world. This makes his decision a profile in courage. Best of all, the surge worked. Iraq is now a fragile but functioning democracy.
Do you agree?
However... he lost faith in the Free Market Principles that make this country great... Bush Admits, ‘I Chucked Aside My Free Market Principles’
"President Bush on Monday defended his economic record, noting that he’s taken “extraordinary measures” to deal with the frozen credit markets. He said the main question for the president is not when the problem started, but what action was taken once the problem was recognized: “And I readily concede that I chucked aside some of my free market principles when I was told by chief economic advisers that the situation we were facing could be worse than the Great Depression,” Bush said at a White House news conference." ...
To read more about what he believes his mistakes were and what his regrets are -taken from a Monday morning press conference at the White House- read the rest of the article here.

Many believe that Bush chucked his free market principles long ago...

"However, Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute told that Bush had strayed from free market theory continuously over his two presidential terms

“(I’m not) quite sure if President Bush would recognize free market principles if they were on fire and rollerblading naked through the White House,” Crews said.

Boaz pointed out that federal spending increased by over $1 trillion during the president’s eight years -- not including increased expenditures that will likely result from Bush’s Medicare Prescription Drug program and the bailouts of the banks and the auto companies.

“We had steel tariffs, we had nationalization of education, we had incredible growth of government under Bush,” said professor Don Boudreaux, chairman of the economics department at George Mason University. “He did keep taxes lower than the Democrats were clamoring for, but that alone is not sufficient to establish one as a free marketeer.”

Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education, agreed.

“We got some tax cuts, but the total picture is that government is bigger today than when he [Bush] took office,” Reed told"

So yes, I do have some criticism of Bush and how he ran things, but here's the media's take on him: (should we be surprised?)
"Reacting to President Bush's Monday press conference, on Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith remarked: "Not going to get a 'job well done'...on the report card, on the final report card." That observation was prompted by Republican strategist Ed Rollins declaring: "I think to a certain extent, we have a lot to be thankful to this president for his service, but he's not going to get a 'great job' from the American public."

Prior to that exchange, Rollins criticized Bush for being too confident: " saw a lot of confidence yesterday, he always was a man that was overly confident." Smith asked: "Did you say overly confident?" Rollins elaborated: "I think he's overly confident. I think he's overly confident about a lot of things. I -- there was no humility there yesterday when you basically talk in terms of the 'Mission Impossible' [Referring to 'Mission Accomplished' banner] sign, at the same time he can't find weapons of mass destruction...You know, you also -- forget 'Mission Accomplished,' he flew in a jet, he had a pilot's outfit on, it was sort of the conquering hero."

and ...
"On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Thalia Assuras examined President Bush's historical legacy and relied on two historians in her lengthy piece, both of whom labeled Bush one of the nation's worst Presidents. Douglas Brinkley declared: "I think it's safe to say that President Bush is going to be seen as the very bottom-rung of American Presidents...As a judicial historian looking at what's occurred on his watch, it is almost void of genuine accomplishment." Joseph Ellis contended: "I think that George Bush might very well be the worst President in American history...He's unusual. Most two-term Presidents have a mixed record...Bush has nothing on the positive side, virtually nothing." Following these Bush-bashing historical assessments, Assuras exclaimed: "And that's not a minority opinion. In a 2006 Siena College survey of 744 history professors, 82 percent rated President Bush below average or a failure. Last April, in an informal poll by George Mason University of 109 historians, Mr. Bush fared even worse; 98 percent considered him a failed president. Sixty-one percent judged him, as Ellis does, one of the worst in American history." The only positive assessments of Bush's legacy in the January 11 report came from former Bush advisors Dan Bartlett and David Frum. No historians who viewed Bush positively were featured. Near the end of the segment, Assuras wondered: "So is President Bush's current low rating among historians just liberal bias?" She quickly countered: "Douglas Brinkley doesn't think so." Brinkley explained: "When I'm sitting here telling you that Ronald Reagan and, you know, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower were outstanding presidents, these are Republicans. I'm telling you, Ronald Reagan was one of the five greatest Presidents in American history. I'm not saying that because I'm a liberal. I'm just saying it because it's a fact. But you have to then accept when I'm telling you George Bush is one of the five worst presidents in American history, it's not because I want to stick it to him. He simply failed on the big questions of his day."
The media not biased is it??? just in case you're wondering...
"In contrast to his opinion of Bush, Brinkley managed to find positive words for Jimmy Carter in his 2006 biography of the former President, entitled The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House. In the first chapter, Brinkley described Carter this way: "In fact, although his critics saw him as self-righteous, Carter was the most principled American President since Harry Truman -- and nowhere was his morality on clearer display than in his insistence that human rights be a cardinal principle of global governance." During the Sunday Morning story, Brinkley attacked Bush on the same issues: "I think President Bush was a good man so infuriated and angered by 9/11 that he put on his ideological blinders and forgot that we have other things we represent -- civil liberties here at home, a Constitution, global human rights. That he started disliking the world community, alienated allies for no reason."

While some may point to Bush preventing another terrorist attack after September 11th, in a 2006 New York Times editorial, Ellis saw the 9/11 attacks as a mere footnote in American history: " defies reason and experience to make Sept. 11 the defining influence on our foreign and domestic policy. History suggests that we have faced greater challenges and triumphed, and that overreaction is a greater danger than complacency." In the CBS story, Ellis argued: "John Adams, the second president, said that there's one unforgivable sin that no president will ever be forgiven, and that is to put the country into an unnecessary war. I think that Iraq has proven to be an unnecessary war, and will appear to be more unnecessary as time goes on."

(For Ellis's 2006 New York Times op-ed:

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