January 18, 2009

Thank You W

Eight years in a nutshell...

Selected, not elected
Though not one recount nor independent assessment could change the tally in favor of Al Gore, President Bush's tenure got off to a rocky start as the contested 2000 campaign lasted weeks beyond election day, until the US Supreme Court stopped the Florida court's rule-changing attempts.

The moment will define Bush like no other - the President on the bullhorn. "Those responsible for taking down these buildings... will hear from all of us soon." On 9-12-2001 we were a different country than the day before...today, we couldn't be further removed from the 9-12 mentality. Never forget? Hmmm.

The battle was quick and decisive. Hamid Karzai won the first Afghan democratic elections in decades soon after. While capturing Bin-Laden never happened, his influence was marginalized through the rest of Bush's years; reduced to caveman videos threatening Jihad, with little actual impact.

...was necessary, despite a lack of WMD's. Saddam's influence and willingness to fund anyone who wished to do the west harm, not to mention his decade-long dodging of UN mandates, made it necessary to remove him before he facilitated the next 9/11. The WMD's were most likely moved out (to Syria) in the many years prior to the invasion.

The Democrat's antagonistic focus against Bush's actions in Iraq ended the traditional politics ending at the water's edge; war became a pawn of politics. When Bush called for the surge, critics claimed it was too late; it would never work, the war was lost. Of course, it worked tremendously. Today Iraq is an ally, a friend in a critical region of the world.

He couldn't say it early in the Iraq war, but Iran was Bush's real focus. Hussein was a nuisance, a distraction, a set up for the real target. Iran is the head of the snake; the root of the Islamic revolution with their hands so close to dangerous weaponry. Today, Iran is teetering on their own economic collapse and ripe for revolution.

Social Security
Before the housing collapse, this was the prevalent pending economic crisis everyone knew about. But just like the warnings preceding the sub-prime mortgage mess, this issue was dead before Bush ever got it off the ground. The failure to capitalize on his "political capital" set the tone for a disappointing second term.

It was his first political victory, when most experts said he couldn't do it following the aftermath of the 2000 election. The cuts worked as they always do, bringing in more revenue. As usual, increased government spending, including Bush's own proposals (Medicare, the bailout), squandered the increased revenue and lead to ballooning deficit spending.

No Child Left Behind
This is what happens when Ted Kennedy writes legislation...this is what happens when Republicans "reach across the aisle".

24 hours. Had FEMA been engaged 24 hours earlier, the blame Bush received following this disaster would have never reached the heights it did. In reality, Bush didn't see the utter incompetence of Mayor Nagen and Governor Blanco, neither of whom had an adequate plan in place for such a crisis.

This is where Bush lost most conservatives, including myself. His insistence that "comprehensive immigration reform" happen before the border was secure differed with many who had defended the President positions previously. It was not consistent with his own stated policy to keep us safe, first and foremost.

The Economy
Bush inherited a mini-recession, endured a major terrorist attack which temporarily crashed the markets, and survived accounting scandals which rocked the financial industry. Still, the economy hummed along. Employment reached 'full' capacity; those who wanted to work could and did.

Then the impact of 30 years of bad public policy (the sub-prime mortgage ponzie scheme) crashed the housing industry in late 2008. The banks who loaned the money needed bailouts and Bush blinked, much to the chagrin of many common sense thinking Americans who lived their lives within their means. The bailouts amounted to one of the largest transfers of private wealth to government control.

Compassionate Conservative
I believe Rush Limbaugh once said, compassionate conservatism is a redundant phrase. Whether he did or not isn't important; conservatism IS compassion. Bush's definition of his type of conservatism should have been a sign a his conservative-socialistic views.

Final thoughts...
Ultimately, Bush was conservative with most of his defense/foreign policy. With the exception of immigration, he fought hard to maintain this country's security. Despite what the left wants us to believe regarding Abu-Grab, Guantanamo, and wiretaps, Bush should be proud of the job he's done. We haven't had a significant attack on American soil since September 11th. Much of what he has done will be followed by the new administration.

Had Democrats not been so hell bent on politicizing the war, the focus in 2003 and 2005 could have been on the pending sub-prime crisis. You know, the one Democrats said wasn't a crisis. Today I wonder if that wasn't done purposely.

But Bush was more socialist with his domestic agenda. Big government now controls more of our education system and our banks. His failure to reform Social Security, the increasing size of medicare, and the current economic crisis means the next generation is left with a big tab to pay.

It's not solely the fault of his policies. In fact, his tax cuts may have forestalled the inevitable economic crisis. But the knee-jerk acceptance of Hank Paulson's remedy was a major failure of vision on his part.

Thank you President Bush. You kept us safe. You took the fight to the enemy despite ridiculous obstacles from your political opponents.

Thank you for following through on your promise to cut taxes. But your failure to curtail spending by Republicans when they were in control, and Democrats when they got it back, will haunt our party for a generation or more. With you as the party's main personality, the GOP has lost any gains they earned in '94.

It was difficult for supporters like me to listen to you give a speech. Though you were right on most issues, your inability to communicate a clear message with out the annoying winks, smirks, and Bush-isms meant a lot of good legislation never saw the light of day.

Thank you Mr. President for the bailouts. Not wanting people to suffer on your watch, as we would have if the bailouts hadn't been rushed through, is not compassionate conservatism, it's soft socialism.

Finally Mr. President, you have one bit of unfinished business. You must commute the sentences of Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean. If you fail to do so, you lose any semblance of real compassion and judgment.

Never in human history has one man endured more scrutiny, ridicule, and vile commentary as Dubya has over the last eight years. His critics needed to stoop to unbelievable depths in attempts to destroy him. Several times, he was considered politically dead.

In fact, Bush was a survivor. He was focused, determined, and committed.

His biggest flaw was well known - he was not good on camera; he was not the Great Communicator. He bumbled and blundered his way to soft-ball criticism. W was an easy target.

But he took it all in stride. He never let them see him sweat. He believed when no one else would. He was sincere, genuine, and believed in his country.

Would I vote for him again? Yes! He still was a much better choice than either Gore or Kerry, period.

How will history judge him? I suspect better than the MSM morons who report and comment on the news today.


mjloehrer said...

excellent writing. I've put you on my list of favorites. Heard about you from Draco and Dan Cirucci.

page13 said...

Two good writers themselves. Thanks for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to me to have this insight on how the other half sees W's term as President. Thanks for putting this summary together, although I don't agree with many points, I appreciate the fact that our country allows us to look at an event in our nation and express our opinion about it, even if others disagree. God Bless America.