This wasn’t a great day for President Bush. First, Scooter Libby gets sentenced. Then the Republicans debate in New Hampshire and spend most of their time bashing the president. Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) said that he governed as a liberal. Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.) chimed in on immigration. Sen. John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Defense: Benghazi report fallout | Nearly 50 dead after Istanbul attack The Trail 2016: 11 hours, 800 pages, 0 changed minds McChrystal backs McCain's Pentagon reform proposal MORE (Ariz.) said the Bush administration badly mismanaged the war, etc. etc, etc.
And this is the Republicans!
President Bush is not doing well in the polls, but he is pretty popular with the base (or he was until his defense of the immigration bill). So why do these Republicans feel the need to bash the president? After all, this isn’t the general election yet.
I do believe that the president’s tough defense of the immigration bill means that many Republicans will feel more comfortable taking Bush to task. And clearly, our continued involvement in Iraq has become tiresome to more and more Republicans.
But I think we need to have some revisionist thinking about President Bush.
It hasn’t been all bad.
Here are some things that the president deserves real credit for:
1) The Supreme Court. Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito will go down as two of the best additions to the court in generations.
2) Tax cuts and economic growth: The president cut taxes on dividends, on capital gains, for married people, for dead people, for everybody. It has kept our economy growing.
3) Prescription drug/Medicare reform: It has been an astounding success. Senior citizens are getting more drugs at lower cost. With Health Savings Accounts to boot.
4) Taking the war to the terrorists: Osama is still in a cave, Saddam is dead, and there have been no attacks on our soil since Sept. 11, 2001.
The president has had some failures. He hasn’t cut spending and hadn’t made it an issue until the Democrats got control of Congress. He had a mind-bogglingly stupid strategy on Social Security reform. He has a real credibility problem with the American people, stemming from the fact that we never found the weapons of mass destruction that we were over-promised in Iraq. And of course, the post-war planning and the response to Katrina were complete disasters.
But even with the disasters, this presidency has had its fair share of success that has been ignored by too many Republicans. Maybe it is time for Republicans to start reminding voters why these successes need to built on, not reversed, by the next president.