Full disclosure: I voted for George W. Bush for President in 2000 and 2004. And I don't regret either vote, simply because he was the far superior candidate in both races.
Does that mean Mr. Bush was my ideal candidate? Actually, no. In the 2000 race for the GOP nomination, I was a strong supporter of the fiscal policies of Steve Forbes while equally appreciative of the moral stance of Alan Keyes. However, it was George W. Bush who emerged the Republican nominee and thus he earned my support.
Many on the left are totally incapable of having an intellectually honest discussion of the Bush presidency. They offer little more than vapid talking points combined with absolutely no rational thought whatsoever.
Nevertheless, I feel the need to share my genuine appreciation for a man who has faithfully served this country for eight years. And he did so with the utmost conviction.
-He was unapologetic about his faith in God and how Christ changed his heart.
-When he took office in January 2001, we were in the midst of an economic downturn. Eight months later, the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks took place at the heart of America's financial district, the World Trade Center. Despite that, the President enacted his tax cut plan which stimulated the economy in the face of a potentially dreadful recession.
-The Iraq war, which began in early 2003, is the one area of his administration where he has received the most scrutiny. While the initial operations were successful (including the removal of the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein within the first year of the war) the Bush administration clearly underestimated the violent insurgency. But the President proved his detractors wrong by actually being open to an adjustment in strategy while not giving up the fight for Iraq's democracy. A troop surge, under the stellar leadership of Gen. David Patraeus, was implemented in 2007 and thus has stabilized the country. In fact the Al Anbar province, once an Al Qaeda stronghold, soon became the tenth province to transfer to Provincial Iraqi Control.
-President Bush hit a home run by nominating two solid constructionist judges, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, who were eventually confirmed to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.
-Mr. Bush also gained the respect of some detractors for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa. This led Bob Geldof, certainly no Bush administration stooge, to slam the U.S. press for virtually ignoring the achievement.
On the flip side, there are things the President has done that made me scratch my head.
-His incessant cronyism, which led to such disastrous moments as Alberto "I don't remember" Gonzales being named Attorney General and the nomination of Harriet Miers to serve on the SCOTUS. Gonzales resigned over his bungling the dismissals of several US Attorneys, merely two years after being named AG. And Miers would remove her name from consideration for the Supreme Court due to her woeful lack of experience in constitutional law. Her resignation paved the way for Alito's nomination.
-I often kvetched about President Bush's unwillingness to regularly communicate with the American people. As such, Congressional Democrats and the mainstream media often distorted the President's actions in such areas as the war on terror (especially Iraq) and the response to Hurricane Katrina with the President offering little in response, much less refutations.
-His mantra of "Compassionate Capitalism" is a euphemism for expanding government. Such programs as No Child Left Behind, prescription drug benefits, corporate bailouts, etc. has actually grown government's role in the everyday lives of Americans. While approving the latest bailout plan, the President even went so far as to admit his abandoning free market principles. Yes, it's a sad day in this country when the GOP loses the mantle of fiscal responsibility.
Many are quick to dismiss the Bush years as an abject failure, even to the point of naming him the worst US President our country has seen.
Personally, I believe George W. Bush will be vindicated on the Iraq war and the overall global war on terror. Certainly his place amongst great GOP Presidents leaves a lot to be desired. But worst overall President in history? Not as long as the records of Herbert Hoover and Jimmy Carter are still out there.