Editorial: As I type this article, I think of the figurative-millions of both mundane and serious things I’ve done over the past seven-and-a-half years with absolute confidence in America’s safety. That confidence was inspired by the steadfast leadership and unblinking courage of President George W. Bush, as he faced our country’s most deadly enemies and succeeded in preventing another ghastly attack on American soil after September 11th.
I know, I know. Let me count the ways that Republicans and conservatives have railed against our 43rd president’s deficit spending, his refusal to pardon the American border-guard heroes Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, his “going socialist” with multiple bailouts, and his departure from any other number of bedrock conservative principles.
And let’s not forget the hysterical leftwing-media and their minions who did everything in their power to undermine the president – during wartime –by writing revisionist-history books and articles, compromising national intelligence (and therefore security), waging bogus lawsuits, and engaging non-stop in their typically childish temper tantrums.
Yet in spite of all their sound and fury, President Bush kept a steady course, delivering on his promise to keep America safe
“All this time,” writes law professor Thane Rosenbaum in the Wall St. Journal, “Americans have been safe from suicide bombers, biological warfare and collapsing skyscrapers, while the rest of the world has been on red alert.”
Yes, by transforming the intelligence services and other institutions charged with our security and preparing the United States military to meet the challenges of the 21st century, the president allowed all of his critics to be secure in their own homes.
If he had done nothing else, that would have been more than enough for me. Because without safety, a country – just like a family, just like a patient in a hospital – is as good as dead. Today, over 300-million Americans can thank President Bush for keeping them safe while they, themselves, enjoyed seven-and-a-half years of doing a figurative-million things without worrying about the next terrorist attack on our shores.
How did he do it? In the face of savage pummeling, plunging poll numbers, a treacherous Fifth Column, and worldwide threats from not one but multiple terrorist regimes – all intent on “humbling” big bad America – he let our enemies know that any threat to our safety would be met with a draconian response.
Did he promise to bomb Mecca and Medina, unleash our nuclear weapons on threatening nuclear countries like North Korea, or tell Iran’s madman and his puppet thugs in Hamas and Hezbollah that he would defend a democratic Israel come hell or high water? We’ll never know the answers to the first two questions, but the president has been the best friend that our staunch ally in the Middle East ever had, even while the Arabists in the Pentagon and the State Department tried mightily to undermine his support of Israel.
Thank you, President Bush, for keeping all of us safe!
SPEAK SOFTLY…CARRY A BIG STICK
Just how did President Bush go about striking fear into the hearts of our Islamic-fascist enemies? He never used – as they routinely do – menacing language or outright threats. Not once did he lose his temper or pound his bully pulpit. He tried on multiple occasions to appeal to their “sensitivities” and “humanity,” but clearly these qualities were non-existent.
What did he say that so clearly resonated in the ossified hearts of those who celebrated 9/11 by dancing in the streets and who gleefully held up as gruesome trophies the heads of Americans they had cut off at the neck?
When President Bush said, “bring it on,” our enemies believed him! They watched:
* Our Commander-in-Chief topple the murderous tyrant, Saddam Hussein, and free 25-million people to vote – for the first time in their lives – in free elections.
* America’s heroic fighting forces topple the tyrannical Taliban and allow 25-million people in Afghanistan to vote – for the first time in their lives – in free elections.
* Their fellow terrorists bomb Bali, Spain, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, London, Madrid, Glasgow Denmark, Istanbul, Algeria, India, the list goes on – but not dare bomb America!
* The Patriot Act being enacted in 2001 by an overwhelming majority in Congress, and they knew that its conditions – allowing law-enforcement agencies to monitor communications of suspected terrorists within the U.S. – would severely compromise their nefarious plots.
* Our president defying the “opinions” of the so-called experts and armchair generals who urged him to hoist the white flag of surrender in Iraq, but instead sanctioning the Surge which effectively won the war!
* The typically anti-American citizens of France, Germany and Italy – having seen non-stop anti-Bush coverage for the better part of a decade – vote for conservative, America-admiring leaders and ardent supporters of President Bush.
* The powerful liberal media try to destroy the president, while he turned a deaf ear to their incessant blather, and instead focused his laser-like attention on defending our country.
* And waited as the “lame duck” president exhibited as much energy and determination to defend our country in his waning days in office as he had on September 11, 2001.
* Our Islamic-fascist enemies within and outside of our country – both jealous of and reviling the American way of life – prove to be the cowards they really are, literally scared to death to mess with our take-no-prisoners president.
Thank you, President Bush, for your belief in the power of freedom, for your undying support of our troops, and for always putting the interests of America light years ahead of fickle polls and feckless critics.
THE LEFT’S MYTHS VS. HARD REALITY
The president’s enemies on the left have always been fueled by unquenchable envy at his power, which they lust for above all other things – even national security! Spurred on by irrational hate-based emotion – their signature attribute – they entertain the utopian dreams of pre-adolescent children everywhere, who want peace and love and everyone getting along.
Aided and abetted by a leftist media and their bosses – most of them holdovers from the angry “peace and love” 1960s – they rely on a largely uninformed public that prefers glitzy images to historical facts, as well as corrupt organizations like ACORN, which is being investigated in several states and has been indicted in many others for voter fraud.
As the president’s former advisor, Ed Gillespie, has written, the myths the left subscribes to can be exploded by simple – pardon the word – facts!
Did the president’s “go it alone” policy, as the left erroneously insists, ruin America’s standing in the world? Not even close! In fact, the U.S. acted with a multilateral coalition of nations to remove Saddam Hussein from power; had approximately 40 countries supporting us in Afghanistan as well as every NATO ally; was joined by more than 90 nations in sharing terrorist-network information; and succeeded in expanding NATO membership, strengthening ties to China, Japan, South Korea, India, Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo, Brazil, Mexico and Central America.
“When the President took office, America had trade agreements with only three countries, versus 14 today,” Gillespie says, “with three additional agreements awaiting Congressional approval.”
Did the president’s tax cuts benefit only the wealthy, at the cost of investment in healthcare, education, and the (bogus) issue of global warming? (I added the “bogus”). The Bush tax cuts, Gillespie adds:
* Afforded our country its longest run – ever – of uninterrupted job growth, 52 straight months.
* The creation of 8.3 million jobs.
* Six consecutive years of economic growth [when] real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by more than 17 percent, a gain of nearly 2.1 trillion dollars.
This is no small feat, given that President Bush inherited a recession from his predecessor and that, according to a study by the International Monetary Fund, “9/11 cost the U.S. economy about $75 billion in lost GDP — not counting property losses of well over $100 billion. The U.S. also incurred future yearly costs of roughly 0.75 percent of GDP to pay for greater security, another big hit.”
Keith Marsden, former adviser at the World Bank and a senior economist in the International Labor Organization, writes further of the president’s extraordinary economic record, saying that in comparison to other advanced economies over the past eight years:
* U.S. output expanded faster since 2000 than did most advanced economies.
The average per-capita consumption of the U.S. population…was second only to Luxembourg’s.
* 84.7% of the population was covered by health insurance in 2007, an increase of 3.6 million people over 2006.
* Life expectancy rose to 78 years in 2006.
* The U.S. employment rate…has remained high by international standards.
* The unemployment rate averaged 4.7% from 2001-2007, in comparison with a 5.2% average rate during the Clinton years.
* The cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been largely absorbed in a relatively small increase in the defense budget (to 4.1 percent of GDP in 2006 from 3.8 percent in 1995). A much higher proportion of U.S. income was devoted to the military during World War II and the Korean War.
All this in spite of the fact that the immigrant population of the U.S. grew by nearly 10 million from 1995 to 2005, reaching a total of 38.5 million, according to the World Bank.
Is the president and his administration’s deregulation policy responsible for our current economic crisis? Sorry, but it was the president himself who, way back in 2001, warned in his first budget that the size of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were a "potential problem" that "could cause strong repercussions in financial markets, affecting federally insured entities and economic activity." In early 2003, he warned that F&F posed a “systemic risk” and called for a new regulator of these corrupt entities. In the fall of 2003, he called for a new federal agency to monitor F&F, and in 2005, Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve – under Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II (until January 2006) – also issued a stern warning about F&F.
Columnist Wesley Pruden reminds us that, “Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat of New York, and Rep. Barney Frank, a Democrat of Massachusetts, did more than any other 10 men to insulate Fannie Mae from nosy regulators and effective federal supervision. Fannie and her senior executives…grew rich on taxpayer largesse while blowing on the kindling of the fire that melted the subprime housing market.”
Pruden left out Democrats Chris Dodd, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and legions of others who, like Schumer and Frank, consistently rejected the president’s calls for oversight and accountability. And look what’s happened since they took power in 2006!
* Consumer confidence has plummeted.
* Gasoline prices have gone up and then down and are now escalating again.
* Unemployment has increased dramatically.
* Home equity has dropped by multi-trillions of dollars, and millions of homes in foreclosure.
* The Dow has plunged precipitously, with Americans losing trillions in their stocks, bonds, and Mutual Funds investment portfolios.
Thank you, President Bush, for the six years in which you presided over our booming economy and low unemployment rate, and for your continued support of free markets and entrepreneurism.
SO MUCH GRATITUDE, SO LITTLE TIME
*** The No Child Left Behind Act – your brainchild, Mr. President – championed the first-time-ever accountability for both teachers and students by empirically measuring the skills of the former and the test results of the latter. This resulted in fourth-grade students achieving their highest reading and math scores on record, eighth-grade students achieving their highest math scores on record, and also a halving of the achievement gap between black and white students. And let’s not forget that under your watch, Mr. President, federal spending on education increased by nearly 40 percent and Pell Grant funding – to help more than 5.5-million students attend college –nearly doubled.
Your interest and in and concern for young people was also demonstrated, Mr. President, by some cold hard statistics. During your tenure, teenage drug use declined by 25 percent, and the abortion rate was at its lowest since 1974.
***Presciently, Mr. President, you proposed a plan to “fix” the Social Security system, which you knew was due to go bankrupt by 2017, just eight years from now. The opposition, predictably, didn’t like your plan. But you knew, as radio co-hosts Perry Atkinson and Bob Just have described, that “the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security [is simply] a government “slush fund.”
Again addressing the concerns of our aging population, Mr. President, you initiated the market-based Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit program, affording over 40-million Americans better access to prescription drugs and a savings (over the next five years) of approximately $240 billion. That is not to omit that your children’s S-CHIP health insurance program resulted in a decrease of 800,000 uninsured children from 2001 to 2007.
***The Patriot Act – under your watch, Mr. President – finally allowed the FBI and CIA to share information and wiretap terrorists’ phone calls, both forbidden by the politically-correct sages of the former administration. Thanks to this Act – and with the help of our military – nearly 5,000 terrorist plots have been thwarted (many which targeted our country) and untold numbers of America’s enemies have been arrested, imprisoned, or deported, and worldwide terror attacks have decreased by 40 percent since 2001.
***Compassionately, Mr. President, you addressed the problem of homelessness more aggressively than did any of your predecessors by initiating the “Housing First” program. As a result, there has been a 30-percent decline in chronically homeless people; their numbers declining from 176,000 to 12,400 people, according to one quite-persuasive census.
***Again, compassionately, Mr. President, you were solely responsible for initiating the most magnanimous HIV/AIDS (and malaria and tuberculosis) treatment program in history for the African continent. In 2003, only 50,000 Africans were taking antiretroviral drugs, but today that number has reached 1.3 million! As PajamasMedia.com reports, ”The President created the $30-billion Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, and extended it this year with $48 billion to train 140,000 healthcare workers who specialize in HIV prevention and treatment. The rock star and activist Bob Geldorf openly acknowledged that the president `has done more than any other president’ for Africa.” Not incidentally, trade with Africa has doubled during President Bush’s tenure.
But your keen interest in human health didn’t stop in Africa, Mr. President. In our country, you increased the budget for the National Institutes of Health by 38 percent – from $17.1 billion to $23.7 billion, and you increased funding for t\he National Science Foundation budget from $4.4 billion in 2001 to $6.0 billion in 2008.
***To protect the sanctity of the United States Constitution, Mr. President, you appointed the esteemed jurists John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, both of them intellectual scholars who will continue – I trust – to uphold their oaths to “defend and protect” this most cherished document of our Founding Fathers.
***Protecting our environment did not escape your attention, Mr. President. During your terms in office, air pollution decreased dramatically, both wind and solar energy production nearly doubled, and nearly $18 billion was devoted to the research and development of alternative energy technologies. And all credit, Mr. President, for protecting more than 27-million acres of Federal forest and grasslands and wetlands.
Thank you, President Bush, for your prescience, compassion and wisdom in addressing the most urgent issues in America and around the world.
CHARACTER, DECENCY, MORAL CLARITY, CLASS
Jim Towey, president of Saint Vincent College in PA and the president’s director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives from 2002-2006, writes that in spite of the calumny the president has endured, he “kept his head up and soldiered on. He took the criticism in stride… reading a daily devotional …signing letters to the families of the fallen”…”
Towey continues: “Mother Teresa was asked at the end of her life whether she was discouraged because after decades of caring for the dying and destitute in Calcutta little seemed to have changed. She replied, `No. God doesn’t call me to be successful. God calls me to be faithful.’ George W. Bush was faithful. He had a charge to keep and he kept it.”
It is now known, as Towey mentions, that for many years, President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush privately visited thousands of injured veterans, and met, again privately, with many hundreds of families whose relatives had been lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Why did this information emerge only in the waning days of the Bush presidency? Because like all of the facts cited above of the president’s extraordinary accomplishments, the virulent leftwing media – the public’s main source of information – purposefully withheld this information because members of the Fourth Estate take their goose-stepping marching orders from the leftist honchos who still believe – empirical evidence to the contrary – that big bad America is the root cause of the world’s problems. Good news about America is anathema to them, and anyone with President Bush’s unabashed love for our country and moral clarity is especially loathsome.
Writer Arnold Ahlert says that, “Unfortunately, recognizing the difference between good and evil has become Western culture’s greatest liability. Nowadays it has become necessary to bring the `reasoning’ of moral relativity, multiculturalism, and non-judgmentalism to every equation. The result? Moral paralysis Virtually every American politician in both parties talked about the necessity of removing Saddam Hussein. George W. Bush did it! Why? Because he dared to defy the moral paralysis that deems talking about wrongness – as opposed to acting against it – is sufficient.”
When the president addressed the Israeli Parliament (the Knesset) in June on the occasion of Israel’s 60th anniversary, he recalled how 11 minutes after Israel was declared a state, America – on the order of President Harry Truman – was the first nation to recognize Israel’s independence.
“What Bush didn’t say,” writes political science professor and author Paul Kengor, “was that not only was America alone then, but so was its president – who recognized Israel in defiance of his staff, from Secretary of State George Marshall to Secretary of Defense James Forrestal…”
Of course, the American public never learned about this speech because the media cannot tolerate the similarities between Truman and Bush, or the distinct possibility that their bête noire will achieve the same exalted status and sterling legacy as the man from Independence has.
“History will say that we misunderestimated George W. Bush,” writes Andrew Roberts. “I am writing, of course, about Harry S Truman, generally regarded today as one of the greatest of all the 43 presidents, and the man who set the United States on the course that ended decades later in the defeat of Communism. If the West wins the modern counterpart of that struggle, the War Against Terror, historians will look back in amazement at the present unpopularity of George W Bush, and marvel at it quite as much as we now marvel at the 67 per cent disapproval rates for Truman throughout 1952.”
Commenting on the president’s “internal fortitude” and “equanimity,” columnist Charles Krauthammer writes: “Bush is much like Truman, who developed the sinews of war for a new era (the Department of Defense, the CIA, the NSA), expanded the powers of the presidency, established a new doctrine for active intervention abroad, and ultimately engaged in a war (Korea) — also absent an attack on the U.S. — that proved highly unpopular. So unpopular that Truman left office disparaged and highly out of favor. History has revised that verdict. I have little doubt that Bush will be the subject of a similar reconsideration.”
Throughout the Bush presidency, Americans have seen a man with unfailing modesty, character, decency, moral clarity and class. He was as consistently gracious to his critics as they were consistently rude and rabid. He never wavered in distinguishing good from evil and freedom from tyranny, or, as he explained in his second inaugural, “the moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right.”
On January 1, 2009, President Bush, speaking from his ranch in Texas, said: “As my time in office comes to a close, I thank the American people for trusting me with the honor of serving our great country. It has been a tremendous privilege…”
Thank you, President Bush!
About the author:
Joan Swirsky (www.joanswirsky.com) is a New York-based author and journalist who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.