Bush suging, not fading, as tenure's end nears

Recent polls placing President Bush’s approval numbers near 30 percent miss an important distinction: The policies and positions the president has advocated since 2001 have led to significant results in recent days. In short, the presidency of George W. Bush is surging, rather than waning, with little more than one year remaining in his term.

On the domestic front, the tax cuts the president pushed through the Congress have led to remarkable economic growth, low unemployment and record-high tax receipts that members of Congress can hardly wait to spend. New data released last week showed that America added 94,000 jobs in November 2007 — capping a remarkable 51 straight months in which jobs have been created in our economy. Despite partisan claims that the economy is soft, more than 8.3 million jobs have been created since August 2003 and unemployment remains low (4.7 percent). America remains open for business.

More Americans have more money in their savings accounts and in their wallets as a result of the Bush tax cuts. Despite talk on Capitol Hill of rolling back the president’s tax cuts that “benefit only the wealthy” Democrats have been loath to pass legislation and return to their districts to explain why raising taxes and eliminating the popular $500 per child tax credit is good public policy. Not going to happen anytime soon.

Roundly criticized back in 2001 for his position on stem cell research, the president’s resolve and strength to draw a moral boundary line to protect innocent unborn life has been vindicated. Despite the yammering that the president had hampered scientific progress in stem cell research, despite the vicious demagogy and false claims that if the president hadn’t placed restrictions on how federal funds were spent, people would rise and walk from their wheelchairs, scientists announced last week they could produce an embryo-free way to produce genetically matched stem cells. Or put another way, the president’s decision to draw a bright moral line against destroying human life while providing federal dollars for the first time to stimulate stem cell research has proven successful. The silence in the media about this remarkable development has been deafening.

Equally deafening have been the media (and congressional Democrats’) reaction to success on the ground in Iraq. After linking vital resources to fight the war on terrorism to a timetable for troop withdrawals, Congress has failed on numerous occasions in recent months to hamstring the president’s ability to conduct the war as commander in chief.  And despite claims that the surge of troops and the leadership of Gen. David Petraeus and President Bush have failed, even ardent foe Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) has concluded that the surge in Iraq is working.

Not content to celebrate the success of our brave men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day to provide stability in a volatile region of the world, congressional Democrats now claim that while the surge might be working, the Iraqis have “failed” to produce meaningful political results on the ground. Once again, facts get in the way of those on the Hill who are pressing — wishing — for an American defeat on the ground in Iraq.

Absent from media coverage of late is the fact that the central government of Iraq has reached its 2007 budget revenue target of $30.2 billion. This figure is derived from oil revenues — revenues of which the Democrats have criticized the Iraqis and President Bush for not capturing to fund the cost of the new government in Baghdad. This criticism now rings hollow.

Similarly, 40 Iraqi leaders were killed in Iraq during the month of November and Lt. General Ray Odierno has reported that the has been a 23-week decline — nearly  six months — in insurgent deaths and attacks upon Iraqi civilians. This decrease in violence has led thousands of civilians to return to the country each and every day to reopen their schools, businesses and neighborhoods that have long been abandoned due to violence.

In Mosul, the airport opened for the first time in 14 years for commercial aviation flights.  In a region of the country long associated with violence, Iraqi Airlines is now open for business. While there is always a potential for violence to flare up, Iraqi civilians have returned home to provinces all around the country that had previously been strongholds held by terrorists and Saddam loyalists.

Political stability long thought to be an elusive dream is becoming a daily reality across Iraq.
From the surge in Iraq, vindication with his stem cell position and strong economic development on the home front, President George W. Bush has hit his stride and is surging rather than limping into his last year in office. For those who have counted him out, the president remains resolute, perhaps comfortable in the knowledge that history, rather than bitter partisans in Washington, will favorably reflect on his two terms in office for waging an effective war against terrorism while demonstrating capable stewardship and remarkable domestic accomplishments during a time of war.

Christie served as deputy assistant to Vice President Cheney and special assistant to President Bush from 2001 to 2004. He is a contributor to The Hill’s Pundits Blog and vice president of the strategic consulting firm Navigators LLC.