Saturday, July 06, 2013

Happy 67th Birthday, President George W. Bush

HAPPY 67th Birthday to President George W. Bush! A strong leader after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the 43rd President of the United States led this nation through those dark days of fear and financial instability.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your strong family devotion, your work ethic, moral barometer, compassion and love for our military members, and the work you continue to quietly do in Africa and with America's Wounded Warriors. Unemployment during your watch was under 6 percent ... you gave a dignity to the Presidency that is sadly lacking today.

A quick bio of the President ....
George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was sworn into office on January 20, 2001, and served as Commander in Chief for two consecutive terms. Before his presidency, he served for six years as Governor of the State of Texas.

Prior to becoming the 46th Governor of Texas, he led a group of partners who purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise in 1989. President Bush started his career in the energy business in Midland, Texas, after receiving his master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School in 1975. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University in 1968 and then served as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard.

As president, George W. Bush worked to expand freedom, opportunity, and security at home and abroad, and he has continued to promote these ideals since leaving office through the creation of the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The Bush Center will be home to a presidential library that preserves and presents the history and archives of the Bush presidency, a museum where visitors will be able to view historic artifacts, and an innovative, action-oriented Institute. The Bush Institute turns ideas into practical, measurable solutions for pressing public problems with a focus on human freedom, education achievement, global health, and economic prosperity. In all its programs, the Bush Institute engages and empowers women through its Women’s Initiative. The Institute also honors the sacrifice the U.S. military and their families make for our freedom through the Military Service Initiative. The Institute’s mission is to turn ideas into action.

In the fall of 2010, President Bush authored his memoir, Decision Points, offering a personal and candid account of the most defining decisions of his personal life and his presidency. He is married to Laura Welch Bush, a former teacher and librarian, and they have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, and a son-in-law, Henry Hager.
In 2009, Fred Barnes noted ten of President Bush's accomplishments in The Weekly Standard:

1. "... his decision in 2001 to jettison the Kyoto global warming treaty so loved by Al Gore, the environmental lobby, elite opinion, and Europeans. The treaty was a disaster, with India and China exempted and economic decline the certain result. Everyone knew it. But only Bush said so and acted accordingly. He stood athwart mounting global warming hysteria and yelled,  'Stop!' "

2. " ... enhanced interrogation of terrorists. Along with use of secret prisons and wireless eavesdropping, this saved American lives. How many thousands of lives? We'll never know. But, as Charles Krauthammer said recently, 'Those are precisely the elements which kept us safe and which have prevented a second attack.' Crucial intelligence was obtained from captured al Qaeda leaders, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, with the help of waterboarding."

3. Bush's "... rebuilding of presidential authority, badly degraded in the era of Vietnam, Watergate, and Bill Clinton. He didn't hesitate to conduct wireless surveillance of terrorists without getting a federal judge's okay. He decided on his own how to treat terrorists and where they should be imprisoned. Those were legitimate decisions for which the president, as commander in chief, should feel no need to apologize."

4. "... Bush's unswerving support for Israel. Reagan was once deemed Israel's best friend in the White House. Now Bush can claim the title. He ostracized Yasser Arafat as an impediment to peace in the Middle East. This infuriated the anti-Israel forces in Europe, the Third World, and the United Nations, and was criticized by champions of the 'peace process' here at home. Bush was right."

5. "No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the education reform bill cosponsored by America's most prominent liberal Democratic senator Edward Kennedy. The teachers' unions, school boards, the education establishment, conservatives adamant about local control of schools--they all loathed the measure and still do. It requires two things they ardently oppose, mandatory testing and accountability. Kennedy later turned against NCLB, saying Bush is shortchanging the program. In truth, federal education spending is at record levels. Another complaint is that it forces teachers to 'teach to the test.' The tests are on math and reading. They are tests worth teaching to."

6. "Bush declared in his second inaugural address in 2005 that American foreign policy (at least his) would henceforth focus on promoting democracy around the world. This put him squarely in the Reagan camp, but he was lambasted as unrealistic, impractical, and a tool of wily neoconservatives. The new policy gave Bush credibility in pressing for democracy in the former Soviet republics and Middle East and in zinging various dictators and kleptocrats. It will do the same for President Obama, if he's wise enough to hang onto it."

7. "Medicare prescription drug benefit, enacted in 2003. It's not only wildly popular; it has cost less than expected by triggering competition among drug companies. Conservatives have deep reservations about the program. But they shouldn't have been surprised. Bush advocated the drug benefit in the 2000 campaign. And if he hadn't acted, Democrats would have, with a much less attractive result."

8. Some conservatives are cursing Chief Justice John Roberts  John Roberts for his recent upholding of Obamacare but he is his own man and a conservative, and was appointed by Bush along with Sam Alito. "In putting them on the Supreme Court and naming Roberts chief justice, Bush achieved what had eluded Richard Nixon, Reagan, and his own father. Roberts and Alito made the Court indisputably more conservative. And the good news is Roberts, 53, and Alito, 58, should be justices for decades to come." Let's hope Roberts knew what he was doing in his recent controversial decision on universal health care.

9. "He strengthened relations with east Asian democracies (Japan, South Korea, Australia) without causing a rift with China. On top of that, he forged strong ties with India. An important factor was their common enemy, Islamic jihadists. After 9/11, Bush made the most of this, and Indian leaders were receptive. His state dinner for Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2006 was a lovefest."

10. " [T]he surge. Bush prompted nearly unanimous disapproval in January 2007 when he announced he was sending more troops to Iraq and adopting a new counterinsurgency strategy. His opponents initially included the State Department, the Pentagon, most of Congress, the media, the foreign policy establishment, indeed the whole world. This makes his decision a profile in courage. Best of all, the surge worked. Iraq is now a fragile but functioning democracy."

Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

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