Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bush's legacy: It will be more mixed than you think

This nation can ill afford one more day of President George W. Bush in office.

He has ceded control of the nation to the secretary of the treasury, who is deciding which industry and set of incompetent executives to bail out each wekk with billions of dollars in taxpayer money.

But history will be kinder to Bush than most of his critics in the news media and the Left would want to believe.

The Iraq War will be his greatest blunder, although he has been telling the press this weekend that he wants the liberation of millions of people there to be the highlight of his eight years in office.

It won't be. The war was commenced because of the supposed presence of weapons of mass destruction. And the world intelligence community was wrong. There were no WMDs. So the administration quickly shifted gears and said this nation and 27 others had invaded to liberate a people from a tyrant.

Predictions of quick victory and celebration by the citizenry turned into a nasty guerrilla theatre in which more than 4,000 Americans gave their lives. More than 100,000 Iraqis have been killed, including children. Living conditions are worse than when Saddam Hussein was in power.

The Sunnis and Shiites still hate each other. And Iran is simply waiting for us to leave to take over with its Shiite majority and turn Iraq and Iran is a bigger threat than ever before.

I wrote vigorously against entering the war. But when the troops hit the ground, my support was with them. They have performed incredible heroics and returned order in many areas. But all that success will be gone when this nation must leave. And it must. America can't afford the $10 billion a month bill.

But when it comes to foreign policy, Bush will not be a complete failure. His aid campaign to address depraved health conditions in Africa has been unprecedented. He did bring North Korea from the nuclear brink to cooperation in disarming. Relations with China have not suffered. Afghanistan remains a more tenuous place. But popular support remains behind this campaign.

Domestically, Bush proposed and signed into the law the largest entitlement program increase since the Great Society. The prescription drug program for Medicare recipients has been a success and come in under budget despite the prohibition against Canadian drugs.

Finally, his No Child Left Behind Act finally challenged the public education bureaucracy dedicated to serving itself ahead of children being failed and sent to futures in prisons and drug addiction. Critics say Bush failed to provide enough funding for the reforms. To the contrary, it is the responsibility of local school districts and their citizens to adequately fund

It was my honor to interview the president twice in the White House. I found him to be an intelligent man, a caring man and someone who did not take himself too seriously.

I was very disappointed, however, that he could not turn his political party from its hate campaign against immigrants and gain the passage of immigration reform. Bush has thrown his hands up, allowing heinous programs like 287g deportation, ICE raids and the incarceration of entire immigrant families in the name of justice. Human beings have died under detention.

His political party has effectively cut itself off from what will be the most potent part of the electorate for the next four decades. And we as Americans of Hispanic descent will not forget. Nor will be beholden to the Democratic Party, which has shown itself to also support these punitive measure against immigrant human beings.

Bush's legacy, despite his historically low poll approval numbers, will not be as dismal as many think. He did do some good in his eight years in office. His policies that worked such as No Child Left Behind, aid to Africa and Medicare Plan B must not be abandoned but built upon.

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