President George W. Bush ends his 2nd term with the Oath of Office taken by President Barack H. Obama, and the turning of another page in American history will occur. The peaceful transition of power is a moment that I've watched with great excitement since I was a youngster, and I do recall watching my first inaugural ceremony on the evening news, which ushered in President James E. Carter's administration. I am certainly pleased with the excitement surrounding this week's seminal moment, and am hopeful that the many who were otherwise nonplused at this important event in the past will somehow appreciate it's significance for years to come.
President Bush has been a good steward of our nation. Far from perfect, he's done a great deal of good for our nation over these last 8 years. He has shown unprecedented willingness to work with leaders of the opposition party, as seen in his partnering with Senator Edward Kennedy in crafting an Education Bill (also known as No Child Left Behind). He ignored the hysteria of the few who called for capitulation to the Kyoto protocols, solidifying the Senate's near-unanimous rejection of the foolish treaty.
President Bush made wise choices for Supreme Court justices, ones that not even his opponents in Congress could argue with (just ask Sen. Schumer). He has provided federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research, which was previously denied by President Clinton's administration. He has rebuilt and reshaped the office of the President and Vice President, in ways that have benefited the nation in the short-run, and would help the nation going forward should they be continued.
His hard-line stance on terrorism kept us safe these 7 plus years, in the face of constant attacks from the Left. This was echoed by nearly all in January 2007 when he proposed the Surge to put down all of the external agents who were bent on seeing Iraq fail. Even our own Senate leaders (one of whom happens to be Mr. Bush's successor) called his plan a failure before it began, and yet the results are crystal clear today.
On matters of the economy, President Bush's tax plans have provided for more money to every hard-working American tax-payer, which continues to this day (but may be overturned before too long). Those plans have provided for more new, small businesses the capital needed to begin their operation, and provide workers a new beginning.
Mr Bush saw the perils of the bloated and corrupt FANNIE MAE/FREDDIE MAC system, and tried unsuccessfully 17 times to reign it in, only to be stymied by members of both parties who were benefiting from the programs excesses.
Mr. Bush, however, is not without his faults. I've chronicled more than a few of them here, and there were even some before this blog was begun. His pledge to be a Compassionate Conservative hurt much of his base, myself included, for no one in his base could identify with any Conservative that wasn't compassionate.
He has failed America in his reluctance to secure our borders, in spite of his excellent record in national defense. He failed his Conservative credentials by not vetoing a single spending bill, often passed by others in his party who lost their Conservative way as well. He oversaw the expansion of the Medicare drug program, which may well lead to socialized medicine (although I hope I am wrong).
And as recently as last month, he claimed to abandoned Capitalist principles in order to save the Capitalist system. This, I fear, will be the lynchpin of his legacy for which he will be derided for in years to come.
I am optimisitc the bedrock of our economny will withstand the recent assaults by big goverment - the era of which we were told ended some 16 years or so ago - and that private enterprise will again win the day. It woud be a shame that all President Bush worked for - in national security and taxation - would be harmed because of a few poor decdisions in the face of the recession. Even still, President Bush can, on balance, leave office with his head held high, knowing that the vast majority of his legacy is intact and safe, and that the republic he loves so much will live on because of his decisions.
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