Bush Lookin’ Smart

On a forum usually devoted to baseball, I ran across the following quote:

“Leave it to Democrats to elect a President who makes Bush look smart.”

I started thinking about it, and Bush does look smart these days. 

Iraq is becoming the democracy, in the midst of repressive regimes, that Bush envisioned. Our troops are withdrawing.  The new Iraqi government is working.  Peace has come to their nation at long last. 

President Bush’s efforts in Iraq have paid dividends.  No longer do we worry about Saddam Hussein invading Kuwait, lobbing missiles into Saudi Arabia and Israel, or firing at our peacekeeping aircraft in the no-fly zone.  Instead, we see a country that is increasing oil production and spreading its democratic wings to become a significant trading partner with the United States and other nations. 

Meanwhile, stability in Afghanistan, where Obama has focused his energies, is eroding.    The Taliban now controls most of the country.  Obama’s efforts to get other countries to help us in Afghanistan have failed miserably. His trip to Europe to garner their support was an embarrassing failure. We are moving more troops into the region and losing more American lives.  Taliban leaders in Afghanistan are dangling the life of a captured American soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, 23, of Idaho, before the world. Afghanistan, not Iraq, has become where America is bogged down in war, unable to find a tipping point that turns the country into peaceful democracy. 

While Saddam Hussein is long buried, Obama’s efforts to find and prosecute Osama bin Laden have yet to result in such finality.  His pledge to move the battle to Afghanistan to root out al Qaeda has failed, as we lose more control of the situation and al Qaeda remains safely hidden.

The  left derided Bush when he brought 32 nations to assist us in Iraq, with Poles and British and El Salvadorans and more coming to our aid in a successful endeavor. They made fun of the “coalition of the willing,” even as that coalition made great strides in winning the war.  Now, they are left silent as Obama is accompanied by a few “unwilling” in Afghanistan, most not even providing combat support, and the few remaining making plans to leave.

At home, the left is no longer able to blame Bush for economic conditions.  The last purely Republican budget, created by both a Republican President and Republican Congress, ended in 2007 with a $160 billion deficit  The first purely Democrat budget, under both a Democrat President and Democrat Congress starts  in 2010.  It is scheduled to rsult in a $1.6 trillion deficit, ten times larger than the last purely Republican one. 

In between, with Pelosi and Reid in control of the pursestrings, overriding Bush vetos of a massive farm bill and more medicare/medicaide increases, the deficit soared to $455 billion in 2008 and to perhaps as much as two trillion dollars in 2009. 

Instead of reversing the deficit spending in the middle of the 2009 budget year when he took office, Obama signed a huge ominibus spending bill, followed by an even larger “stimulus” bill, adding a combined $1.5 trillion to the federal budget at a tme when we have little tax revenue.

Pondering the economic collapse, I wonder what would have happened if Bush had got his way more often.  Certainly, the high price of gasoline contributed to families missing their mortgage payments. Perhaps, instead of deriding Bush as stupid, we should have paid attention when his Energy Commission proposed drilling in ANWR in 2001. Wouldn’t a few hundred million barrels of oil more, coming down the Alaskan pipeline in 2006-2008, have kept gasoline prices below $4.60 a gallon?  That is about when the new Alaskan oil Bush wanted from ANWR would have arrived–just in time to mitigate some of our economic problems.

And, in light of that commission’s proposal to start building 100 nuclear power plants, wouldn’t electric cars make a whole lot more sense today, without us having to rely upon windmill contruction, which produces hardly any energy compared to nuclear power plants?

As we watch the global temperature continue to go down, instead of up, like Al Gore said it would, shouldn’t we maybe, just maybe, admit that Bush was probably correct about energy, too?  And, by the way, the left completely wrong about global warming?

And, too, not enough can be written about the 17 times the Bush Administraion and his Treasury Secretary warned about the perils of FNMA and Freddie Mac.  Had someone listened, perhaps we could have passed the legislation needed to monitor them more closely, and staved off the real estate collapse.  The bill was certainly on the table as early as 2005, per Bush’s request, and presented by five Republican Senators. Too bad Democrat Senator Christopher Dodd blocked it out of committee, not ever bringing Bush’s idea to a vote.

As we watch Obama prolong the economic agony of our times with massive spending bills and deficits piling way up into the sky like we’ve never seen before, I might remind readers that Bush, too, inherited a recession. While Al Gore was busy counting chads, we went into a recession, just before Bush took office.

I do not recall President Bush wasting time blaming the past Administration for the dot-com bubble and the resulting recession when it burst. Unlike Obama and his party, who spends more time bashing Bush than doing anything constructive, I recall him simultaneously fighting a war and stimulating the economy the right way, by cutting taxes. I recall us coming out of that recession, despite our country being attacked and despite fighting two wars.  I recall the deficit from the recession shrinking from $450 billion to $160 billion by 2007. It only grew again after, first Pelosi and Reid, and then Obama took control of the government purse-strings.

To my friend who said “Leave it to Democrats to elect a President who makes Bush look smart,” I can only say Bush really was smart.   He would have been a far better President if we had tapped into his brilliance just a little bit more, and listened more intently to the direction he was leading our country.

President Bush made some good decisions during very difficult times, most of which paid off, like cutting taxes to end the recession and eliminating Saddam as a threat in a precarious region of the world.  He also made a few warnings that were not heeded that might have helped prevent the mortgage collapse. And he  had a few ideas, like drilling ANWR and building nuclear plants, that might have helped at least ameliorate some of the damage to our economy. 

As it stands, President Bush’s record is far better than what we have seen from this current bunch running the country. As our economy drones on into its 25th month of recession, you might ponder what our last President would be doing.  I am convinced, he would have his country in mind first, not his political ambition and a socialist agenda of power and control over the people.

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