The President-elect is already enjoying the spotlight and adulation and comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln. But the stage still has other actors and they of course spark great discussion and disagreement….
George W. Bush gave what he promised was his final press conference as President of the United States Monday, an event that re-opened much of the discussion and criticism of him and his presidency.
You either love George Bush or you hate him, it seems. Nobody, some say, is in the middle.
Fred Barnes, the Weekly Standard editor and an unabashed conservative, mentioned on Fox News (where else?) last evening that he wrote about Bush’s accomplishments.
He even told Charles Krauthammer and the other pundits that he listed 10 Bush accomplishments and then got many others from readers via e-mail.
So, during a sleepless night, we went for a look.
Barnes has said about George Bush (43): “Bush, of course, is a conservative, but a different kind of conservative. His tax cuts, support for social issues, hawkish position on national security and terrorism, and rejection of the Kyoto protocols make him so. He’s also killed the ABM and Comprehensive Test Ban treaties, kept the United States out of the international criminal court, defied the United Nations, and advocated a shift in power from Washington to individuals through an ‘ownership society.’ On some issues–partial privatization of Social Security is the best example–he is a bolder conservative than Ronald Reagan, the epitome of a conventional conservative.”
So below, here is the list of President Bush (43) and his accomplishments, according to Mr. Barnes:
1) His decision in 2001 to jettison the Kyoto global warming treaty.
2) The selective use of enhanced interrogation of terrorists. Along with use of secret prisons and wireless eavesdropping, this saved American lives.
3) Bush’s third achievement was the rebuilding of presidential authority, badly degraded in the era of Vietnam, Watergate, and Bill Clinton.
4) Achievement number four was Bush’s unswerving support for Israel. Reagan was once deemed Israel’s best friend in the White House. Now Bush can claim the title.
5) His fifth success was No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the education reform bill cosponsored by America’s most prominent liberal Democratic senator Edward Kennedy.
6) Sixth, Bush declared in his second inaugural address in 2005 that American foreign policy (at least his) would henceforth focus on promoting democracy around the world.
President Bush boards Air Force One (AP Photo)
7) The seventh achievement is the Medicare prescription drug benefit, enacted in 2003. It’s not only wildly popular; it has cost less than expected by triggering competition among drug companies.
Eight: John Roberts and Sam Alito. In putting them on the Supreme Court and naming Roberts chief justice, Bush achieved what had eluded Richard Nixon, Reagan, and his own father. Roberts and Alito made the Court indisputably more conservative. And the good news is Roberts, 53, and Alito, 58, should be justices for decades to come.
9) Bush’s ninth achievement has been widely ignored. He strengthened relations with east Asian democracies (Japan, South Korea, Australia) without causing a rift with China.
10) Finally, a no-brainer: the surge. Bush prompted nearly unanimous disapproval in January 2007 when he announced he was sending more troops to Iraq and adopting a new counterinsurgency strategy.
We might add the fight against AIDS in Africa and other accomplishments…but we know, if you hate the guy you hate the guy…..
See Fred Barnes’ entire view:
Bush was never afraid to make the tough call:
Bush Personally Redirected SecState Rice To Support Israel