16 Jan

For eight years, we have also strived to expand opportunity and hope here at home. Across our country, students are rising to meet higher standards in public schools. A new Medicare prescription drug benefit is bringing peace of mind to seniors and the disabled. Every taxpayer pays lower income taxes. The addicted and suffering are finding new hope through faith-based programs. Vulnerable human life is better protected. Funding for our veterans has nearly doubled. America’s air, water, and lands are measurably cleaner. And the Federal bench includes wise new members like Justice Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts.

George W. Bush in his Farewell Presidential Address
January 15, 2009

One of the memories I have from my time living in Washington, D.C. was on January 20, 1989 as my wife, four months pregnant at the time, and I stood on the National Mall and watched the helicopter fly overhead as it took Ronald and Nancy Reagan on the first part of their journey back to California. It was a bittersweet moment because, while we welcomed the Inauguration of George H.W. Bush, we knew that we, as well as the nation would miss the Reagan years, and we did.

Twelve years later I stood on the Mall again for the Inauguration of George W. Bush. This time with my son. It was a cold, damp day. And a slow drizzle fell that seemed to be Mother Nature’s way of cleansing us all from the stain of the Clinton Administration.

On that day none of us could even imagine what the next eight years would hold. The horrors of 9/11, Katrina and even the Virginia Tech massacre were unimaginable. And on that day, I was not sad to see the Clintons leave.

I suspect that come next Tuesday, not many of the anticipated millions standing there on the Mall will be sad to see the helicopter flying over to begin George and Laura Bush on their journey home to Texas.

To tell the truth, I’ve got mixed feelings myself.

But I’m not one of those so eroded by Bush Derangement Syndrome that I’ll categorize him as the “worst President ever.” To call him that ignores history and names such as James Buchanan and Woodrow Wilson. And when I hear someone describe George W. Bush in that manner I realize that they were either too young or too stoned to remember the Carter years.

Others agree.

History will show that George W Bush was right
Andrew Roberts, Telegraph.co.uk

In the avalanche of abuse and ridicule that we are witnessing in the media assessments of President Bush’s legacy, there are factors that need to be borne in mind if we are to come to a judgment that is not warped by the kind of partisan hysteria that has characterised this issue on both sides of the Atlantic. The first is that history, by looking at the key facts rather than being distracted by the loud ambient noise of the 24-hour news cycle, will probably hand down a far more positive judgment on Mr Bush’s presidency than the immediate, knee-jerk loathing of the American and European elites.

Beginning with the Florida recount, and likely before, the left and the media hated George Bush. Even when a complete review of the Florida ballots showed that Bush would’ve won even if the recount Al Gore wanted had gone forward, the left couldn’t get beyond their “selected, not elected” delusions. [The New York Times, EXAMINING THE VOTE: THE OVERVIEW; Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote, November 12, 2001]

In the early days and weeks following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the approval ratings for President Bush, from both sides. It was in those early days that the President said:

Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command — every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war — to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.

This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion. It will not look like the air war above Kosovo two years ago, where no ground troops were used and not a single American was lost in combat.

Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.

Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People

The White House, September 20, 2001

Does Iraq Make Bush a “Failed President”?
Larry Elder, TownHall.com

Return to the bad old days immediately following Sept. 11, 2001, when terror attacks killed 3,000 on American soil. Eighty to 90 percent of Americans expected another attack — on American soil — within six months to a year. Critics called Bush asleep at the wheel, that he failed to “connect the dots.” Never mind that the 9/11 Commission said that former President Bill Clinton blew several opportunities to kill or capture Osama bin Laden.

For a time the nation stood with the President. Then politics got in the way. Things in Iraq weren’t going so well. And the left and the media attacked continuously.

Bush’s Final Jabs
Brent Bozell, TownHall

The media’s abusive coverage wasn’t personal? Try Dan Rather, or Rather’s old White House hand puppet, John Roberts (now anchoring at CNN). In 2004, Rather first ran the sloppy, error-ridden National Guard hit piece, never telling his audience the president’s primary accusers were political opponents with personal and political vendettas. Then Roberts publicly and dishonorably mocked the First Lady for doubting CBS: “Laura Bush offered no evidence to back up her claim, and CBS News continues to stand by its reporting.” That was a “Mission Accomplished” event for the entire media, which lapped up the CBS hit piece until the bloggers started to unravel it.

Over time, honest historians will look more favorably upon George Bush and his years in the White House. Some of us understand now.

George Bush did not live and govern by popularity polls. Rightly or wrongly, he stood for what he thought best for this nation.

The 9/11 Presidency
Wall Street Journal

By his own standard, Mr. Bush achieved the one big thing he and all Americans demanded of his Administration. Not a single man, woman or child has been killed by terrorists on U.S. soil since the morning of September 11. Al Qaeda was flushed from safe havens in Afghanistan, then Iraq, and its terrorist network put under siege around the world. All subsequent terror attacks hit soft targets and used primitive means. No one seriously predicted such an outcome at the time.

Bush’s Imminent Rehab
Charles Krauthammer, Townhall

Obama enters office with a strategic success on his hands — while Bush leaves the scene taking a shoe for his country. Which is why I suspect Bush showed such equanimity during a private farewell interview at the White House a few weeks ago. He leaves behind the sinews of war, for the creation of which he has been so vilified but which will serve his successor — and his country — well over the coming years. The very continuation by Democrats of Bush’s policies will be grudging, if silent, acknowledgement of how much he got right.

There’s no real question that it’s time for George and Laura Bush to return to Texas. It’s been eight long years, no matter how you count them.

Thank you, Mr. President, for keeping us safe, and for doing what you thought best for our Country.

May history be more kind to you than the present.


One Response to “Legacy”

  1. Tom Sanchez Prunier January 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    I was a little less diplomatic than normal in another response today. Funny thing is, I never heard of BDS; might be something in far-right literature, and not widely used.

    Though seeing our selected occupant of the White House unable to lead on 9/11, to just sit there and not leave and to not have the foresight to hire someone with enough knowledge of protocol to get him out of there, is everything you need to know about him (and perhaps a means to form an emotional response to all he does). “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job,” the ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner and all the other hullabaloo were just symptoms of an unqualified, possibly mentally challenged man sitting in the most powerful office in the land. Dick Cheney made the order to scramble jets, a breach of protocol that should have led to his dismissal from office. But it didn’t.

    On Sept. 12, 2001, we saw perhaps the only honest moment in bush’s presidency: He almost cried when thinking about all the victims. Right there, standing behind the desk, his face puckered and he grabbed his tie and righted himself. That proved to me he was human. But it also made me wonder if he had prior knowledge of the attacks, and he just didn’t know it was going to be so horrible.

    I remember your blog a while back, when you recalled the protesters at bush’s Inauguration in 2001, how you saw it as nearly blaspheming and how you had your young son with you.

    That event came after 36 days of failed recounts in Florida. Between the Young Republicans angrily protesting outside recount facilities, the 20,000 illegally disenfranchised voters and the Supreme Court’s one-time decision to stop the recount, bush was handed the election. Granted, Al Gore made political (not ethical) mistakes, specifically not campaigning with Bill Clinton, and he failed to carry his home state (when does that happen?), but the sting of that non-election, and the 2004 controversial “re-election,” burn in the bellies of more than half the country.

    I was 14 miles from Ground Zero. Two nights after, I stood on the bank of the Hudson in Jersey City, looking at the monoliths in the smoke. I smelled the death, saw rescue workers coming back, their faces twisted in shock. Despair clawed at the inside of my throat at daybreak, when skyline was empty. This is the kind of thing that happens when unqualified people are put in powerful positions.

    Less than two years later, we sponsored a more sophisticated and efficient brand of terrorism on Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, much less weapons of mass destruction or the desire to use them against the U.S. or any other sovereign nation (not even Israel). This is the kind of thing that happens when unqualified people are put in powerful positions.

    Two years after that, people died unnecessarily in New Orleans. I don’t blame bush for the poor construction of the levees, the climate change that increased the ferocity of the storm or the local, parish and state government’s disorganization. I do blame him for placing incompetent people in charge of FEMA and Homeland Security (anything more Nazi than that? Sheesh!). The Coast Guard saved as many as they could, but the National Guard didn’t have boots on the ground until much too late. This is the kind of thing that happens when unqualified people are put in powerful positions.

    Add to that all the bushisms, the embarassment at G8, the shoe-throwing, the WORLDWIDE protests against his administration’s policies, and I’d have to admit I’m pretty confident that bush’s legacy will not improve over time. Much of what we suspected was going on behind the scenes will come out – but it will be worse.

    Watch carefully, Michael. There will most likely not be a bush library. He will not be invited to speak outside of conservative college commencements. History will treat him much worse than the media ever will.

    Unlike Jimmy Carter, a favorite whipping boy of yours, bush will not win awards. Carter is a Nobel laureate and his involvement in Habitat for Humanity has proven that he might not have had the chops for inside the beltway, but he certainly serves society well.

    bush doesn’t have that in him. He just doesn’t care. That’s his legacy. I’m sorry you voted for him and pray that you see the light… and by “light,” I don’t mean blind faith in Barack Obama, our first elected President since Bill Clinton. I mean undue whatever the opposite of BDS is in your wiring and learn objectivity.

    Maybe when you see bush in exile in Texas, never to return, will you understand.

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