I know the general rule of polite society is not to discuss politics or religion, but I found this to be very well written. A friend of mine wrote it and I’ve decided to post it here with his permission.
Also, this is the internet – we’re not in polite society.
He’s no Buchanan, Harding, or Grant
by Matthew Filter
Claims that George W. Bush is the “worst president ever” have become ubiquitous in political circles in America today. Respected American historian Eric Foner has proclaimed he is “the worst ever.” Online websites sell shirts proclaiming “Buck Fush” and “Bush is a War Criminal.” Pundits such as MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann rail against him, claiming he is an anathema to democracy. But while the politics of pile-on are riding a great wave right now, there is no doubt to me that the tide will subside in the near future. The Bush legacy will be more mixed, and unsurprisingly, will hinge on the success (or lack there of) in Iraq.
Bush has succeeded admirably in one area: protecting the American people and Americans abroad. Unlike President Clinton, who saw major terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center (1993), Oklahoma City (1996), the Khobar Towers (1996), American Embassy in Tanzania (1998), American Embassy in Kenya (1998), the USS Cole (2000), and Black Hawk Down (1993), Bush has learned from the mistakes of September 11th and responded swiftly. Say what you want about his methods of protection (constitutional, unconstitutional, moral, immoral), but one cannot deny that he has thoroughly dismantled the world’s premier terrorist organization and has protected the American citizens from another terrorist attack. Bush took the threat seriously. While Europe was mocking Bush, terrorists blew up Madrid and London.
Additionally, George W. Bush has taken on the boldest global agenda since the Marshall Plan. No doubt exists that the administration bungled Iraq for the first several years, and Bush will be judged for that, but the country is starting to turn around. The latest cover of the “Economist”: Iraq Starts to Fix Itself reveals that sentiment. May and June casualties are the lowest since the start of the war. Foreign investment is starting to pour in. The Iraqi military controls most of the key provinces. The al-Sadr army surrendered its weapons in the South. This is precisely why Barack Obama has recently said he “may have to re-think his Iraq policy.” A strong, stable Iraq alongside Israel could create a new order in the Middle East.
Yet let’s not be naive here. Bush’s domestic policy has been an utter failure. The Bush tax cuts have failed to stimulate the economy long-term, he has been unable to reform immigration and social security (2004 campaign promises), and Hurricane Katrina speaks for itself. But Bush’s legacy is not these domestic problems, but his offensive against terrorism, and that has been remarkably successful. While we wait on Iraq’s progress and future, I proudly argue that Bush is not the worst president ever, and that he’s no Buchanan, Harding, or Grant.