The Presidency of George W. Bush

That the "mainstream" media in America hated George W. Bush would be denied only by those who have blinders on and are liberal in their political/social/economic philosophy. You never heard or read anything good about Bush from the CNN, MSNBC, ABC, Washington Post, New Your Times crowd. And those who refuse to think for themselves, that segment of society that is nothing more than a sponge for liberal media vomit, accepting without question the verdict of these sources, have only negative feelings towards our former president. The "right" certainly doesn't like Barack Obama; but I haven't yet seen the vituperative hatred and malice directed at Mr. Obama's person that the left constantly threw at George Bush. There is serious opposition to Obama's policies, and they are fair game. But there has been nothing like the odious malevolence with which the left pummeled Mr. Bush.

George Bush was certainly not the greatest president this country has ever had; far from it. I did not agree with many of his policies. For example, his support of the bailout last year was inexcusable. Of course, he was probably pressured to by a blind, ignorant Republican Party leadership; it was an election year and that means trying to look compassionate and buying votes. But the bailout led to stimulus bills which have led to an extension of the current recession. Further, Mr. Bush's "compassionate conservativism" was a joke. "Compassionate conservativism" is just another name for "social liberalism," and helped create massive federal budget debts. Congress didn't help--it rarely does--but Mr. Bush should have been much more forceful in trying to cut government spending, balance the budget, and start paying off our national debt. He did none of those things and should be censured for not doing so.

But he also did some very good things, for which liberals will never give him credit, of course, but still were positives for the freedom and security of the United States. A short listing:

1. He cut taxes. 99.9% of the time cutting taxes is a good thing; the only time it isn't is if essential services--police, fire, military in time of war, protection of property--are hurt by the tax cut. And let me be clear here--these services should be the first--and virtually only--expenditures of government. If tax cuts are so deep to effect our protection, such is wrong. Otherwise, give the people their money back. They earned it, it's theirs, it doesn't belong to anyone else and they should be allowed to keep it. Tax cuts should be accompanied by concommitant cuts in government spending, something Mr. Bush did not push. He bares the blame for that, but approbation for lowering taxes.

2. His Supreme Court nominees. John Roberts and Samuel Alito are worthy justices, though no one on the Supreme Court today will hold the government to its defined powers as laid out in the Constitution. Still, these were good appointments, far superior to the racist Sonya Sotomayor who was nominated by Obama and recently confirmed by the U. S. Senate.

3. His attempt to begin the privatization of Social Security. Easily the best idea that has come from Washington, D.C. since Ronald Reagan. People ought to have the right to decide whether they want to take part in the Social Security system or not. There is no freedom in this system. The government takes the money by force and redistributies it as it sees fit--hardly a textbook definition of "freedom." Mr. Bush put forth the privatization idea, but of course, was shouted down by a cacophony of selfishness from the left-wing AARP--which, incidentally, represents the richest group of people in this country--and the Democratic party. A shame. Mr. Bush should have fought, and fought hard, for this privatization program, and it does not accrue to his credit that he did not. Still, he floated the idea and should be given at least that much acknowledgment. You'll certainly never hear such an idea from Barack Obama.

4. The Iraqi war? Umm...I'm not sure yet here. People pass judgment, one way or the other, with no attempt to put the war in historical context. I frankly don't know if this will end up being a good war or not; it's not over yet. If the Iraqis are able to establish a stable system of government and become a becon of freedom in the Middle East, then it will have been worthwhile. If they descend back into the tyrannies that have dominated their geographical region for thousands of years, then it will have been (with one major exception, noted below) a waste of time. We do not know the outcome yet, and we may not for quite a while. Whether we should have gone over there in the first place can, of course, be debated. Our foreign policy is far from what it ought to be, but that's not Mr. Bush's fault; it's part of the system he inherited and there wasn't much he could do to change it. We would be wise to go back to George Washington's "no entangling alliances" policy--in other words, mind our own business unless our interests are seriously threatened. But we haven't done that for over 100 years.

Stopping Saddam Hussein was essential to the peace of the Middle East, and if the current Iraqi war has accomplished nothing else, getting that man out of power was a worthwhile accomplishment. Those who think we had Saddam "bottled up" simply haven't reviewed the history since the first Gulf War. In October 1994, he moved Iraqi army units back to the Kuwait border. When President Clinton dispatched navy and marine units to the Persian Gulf, Saddam had to back down, but two years later, he invaded the Kurdish safe haven in northern Iraq established by the United States and its allies after the Gulf War. Thousands of opposition members were either killed or driven into exile. Hussein consistently thumbed his nose at the vapid, useless United Nations. On several occasions in 1997 and 1998 he broke off cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors and forced Clinton to rely on Russian and other face-saving measures to avoid a serious confrontation. In September 1998, Hussein refused to allow U.N. spot arms checks; several months later, he halted arms monitoring altogether. In November 1999, Sadam ordered his government to cut off the oil Iraq was allowed to export in exchange for food; as a result, the price of crude oil rose significantly. This pressure forced the U.N. Security Council in mid-November to issue a resolution promising Sadam that sanctions would be suspended against Iraq if he resumed cooperation with weapons inspectors. Saddam rejected the proposal. He also rejected a U.N. offer to allow Iraq to buy more goods with its oil; instead, he demanded an immediate and unconditional lifting of all sanction against Iraq.

In other words, nothing worked to stop this man. The U.S./U.N. policy of sanctions and containment had failed to undermine Saddam's grip on power--a serious threat to peace in the region, as was quite clear from the previous two decades. The removal of Hussein was necessary and a laudable accomplishment.

Now, again, whether this will, long term, produce what we desire in Iraq remains to be seen. The liberals in America hated the Iraqi war--but mainly because they hated George Bush. We hear very little about that war since Barack Obama became president. It wasn't Iraq; it was Bush. And the battle cry "but Bush is causing us to be hated in the eyes of the world" is a farcical cry. George Bush was president of the United States, not President of the World, like Barack Obama wants to be. Our interests come first, and if the world doesn't like it, it can take a flying leap into the eternal abyss. Mr. Bush had American interests first; I'm not sure Mr. Obama does. In fact, has anybody heard that man say anything good about this country?

A word on the Afghan war. We aren't going to win that war, for reasons I shall explain in a future post. Mr. Obama needs to set an attainable goal, meet it, and get out. The immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, as some desire, is an incredibly foolish policy, for all that would tell our enemies is that we're spineles, and if they'll put up a little resistance, we'll turn and run. That is an open invitation for more aggressive behavior by the enemies of world peace and security. And, indeed, how could our friends ever trust us any more? "America is liable to turn tail and flee at the slightest opposition." We must not get that sort of reputation. We certainly need a serious overhaul of our foreign policy; but skulking home when we are in the middle of a war is the worst possible thing we can do.

So, to conclude. George Bush was an average president. He did some good, he made some mistakes. He should not be allowed to be judged by the left-wing media.