Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bush's Legacy

One week from today will mark the end of George W. Bush’s eight-year presidency. He will leave office with historically low approval numbers, and a significant percentage of Americans would today define the Bush presidency as a failure.  In fact, a quick google search will show that many on the left, instead of rejoicing that their candidate is about to be inaugurated, would rather spend these last few days of the Bush presidency getting in their parting shots.

History will judge President Bush differently. Make no mistake, George W. Bush did not govern as a true conservative. He often infuriated conservatives with profligate spending and unrestrained growth of government, such as the Medicare prescription drug program, signing onto campaign finance reform, and embracing the Democrats’ multi-trillion bailout during the final weeks of his presidency. And his unwillingness to tackle illegal immigration produced much consternation on the right.

But on three political fronts, George W. Bush hit a home run.

First, President Bush won two rounds of tax cuts that allowed all taxpayers, rich and poor, to keep more of their own money, brought in better-than-expected revenue to the federal government, and sparked years of burgeoning economic growth that was only stopped by the Democrat-induced mortgage crisis late last year.

Second, George W. Bush seated two conservatives on the Supreme Court: John Roberts and Samuel Alito. The high court ended up preserving, for example, the partial-birth abortion ban that was passed by the U.S. Congress.

But the defining moment of George W. Bush’s presidency came on September 11, 2001, when the U.S. was savagely attacked by Islamic terrorists who claimed nearly 3,000 American lives, brought down a symbol of American economic power, and took a temporary toll on our economy. After years of ignoring terrorism by his predecessor, George W. Bush’s response with swift and decisive. He resolved that the United States would defeat terrorists and countries that harbored them. What resulted was an overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and an overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the latter being tried by his own people, convicted, and executed.

Thus, two formerly oppressive, terrorist-friendly nations were converted into democracies by the U.S. and its allies.

But, most importantly, in the seven-plus years since 9/11, the U.S. has not suffered another terrorist attack on its own soil. The War on Terrorism was effectively taken overseas and fought on the soil of those who had supported terrorists and their evil mission.

For this, George W. Bush has been savagely maligned by the American left. Liberals have consistently proclaimed military defeat in the presence of actual victory. They have accused the President of war crimes, calling the war illegal, and accusing the U.S. military of torture. They have demanded that we shut down Guantanamo Bay, where we have held militant Islamists as prisoners. In other words, the left has demonstrated greater concern for the rights of terrorists than the rights of Americans.

Thank goodness we have had a President more committed to preserving the lives of Americans than the rights of al Qaeda.

President Clinton proved that you cannot defeat terrorists through diplomacy and appeasement. Terrorists only understand violence and force. And President Bush, armed with the superior might of the U.S. military, has crippled the Taliban and al Qaeda by the aggressive use of force. George W. Bush is the one leader who has given the world a template on how to defeat terrorists. Other leaders and President Bush’s successor would do well to follow that model.

Defeating terrorism was never going to be quick and easy. Fighting terrorists is not the same as fighting another nation. Terrorist cells are scattered, hidden, and transient. Yet President Bush has been stuck with approval ratings in the 20’s and 30’s for much of his second term, owing partly to an impatient electorate, and partly to a media and opposition party determined to ignore our successes, amplify our setbacks, and portray victory as defeat.

But those who shape public opinion today won’t be writing the history of the Bush presidency. That will be left to others, years from now, who will have no vested interest in the success or failure of the Bush presidency, but who will instead be able to clearly see the results of the War on Terrorism. This is why George W. Bush will be ultimately considered far more favorably than he is today. Those who spread freedom usually are. Like it or not, those who dismiss George W. Bush as a bumbling idiot, those who have called for his impeachment, and those who have attempted to orchestrate his political demise owe their safety from Islamic militants to our 43rd President.


About This Blog

This blog is about my opinions and world view.  I am a conservative, evangelical Christian.  Generally speaking, if you post a comment, I'll allow you to express your view.  However, if you say something hateful, untruthful, or just generally something I don't like, I may remove it.

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