Was Bush A Good President?
George W. was a terrible president for so many reasons. Prior to 9/11 he was just considered a clown and lame duck doing anything his big corporate friends told him to do. He rescinded all of the laws put in place by Clinton that would have forced automakers to make modest improvements to emissions and mileage.
After 9/11 occured, everyone felt this was Bush's big chance to step up and be a leader. Unfortunately, he blew it. While he did keep true to his promise about attacking terrorists by declaring war on Afghanistan, he then immediately started demanding we go to war with Iraq. His arguments for going to war with Iraq were all false - and this was known by the Bush administration long before Congress voted to go to war with Iraq. But that didn't stop Bush from using 9/11 and terrorism as the 21st century boogy-man to basically scare congress into doing whatever he wanted "or else...911 will getcha!"
Compared to that, his other misdeeds don't seem as bad. I mean, he set the record for most vacation days taken by a president - even in time of war. Even when Katrina hit, he didn't cut his vacation short even as 1000s were homeless and in need of immediate government action. Bush's educational policy, "No child left behind" has destroyed the education of a generation, and those effects will be felt for decades to come. Bush appointed his good buddies to top government positions without any thought as to whether they could actually do the job. The most spectacular failures was his appointment to the head of FEMA whose total job experience was running a small horse show...badly.
Finally there's all the other stuff Bush just didn't pay attention to, nor do anything about. He came into office with the largest surplus in US history, and left us with our largest deficeit (until Obama came in.) His appointees in the economic sector totally ignored growing problems with the banks, and unemployment - which finally blew up during Bush's final months in office.
Welcome to my opponent, and I look forward to a vigorous debate.
A good president is one who defends the United States
The president swears to, with the best of his ability, “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That is the primary duty of the president and the standard by which president's are judged and ought to be judged.
The 9/11 attack and the events that followed dominated the Bush presidency. At the time of the attack, Republicans and Democrats had spent a decade cooperatively dismantling much of the U.S. military force on the grounds that because the Cold War was over, it was no longer needed. Clinton signed legislation that reduced military strength by 600,000 soldiers. There was no Department of Homeland Security and very few defensive measures in place to protect against terrorist attack. Past legislation had built a wall between the FBI and the CIA so as to isolate domestic investigations from from foreign intelligence. The rules of conventional warfare were defined, but the terrorist style of warfare did not fit the conventional model.
Bush lead the country in building the Department of Homeland Security, integrating the intelligence agencies, and defining the rules of warfare needed for the war against terror. In World War II, 500,000 enemy combatants were imprisoned on U.S. soil in accord with the rules of conventional war, all held indefinitely with none given any right to a trial. Bush developed a procedure for classifying terrorists as enemy combatants by military tribunal with one level of appeal civilian courts. The legislation was passed with bipartisan support and ultimately passed Supreme court challenges.
Con grants the war in Afghanistan was correct. The war in Afghanistan kept the terrorists preoccupied with their own immediate survival while the defensive infrastructure was built. The strategy worked. There was widespread anticipation of additional major terrorist strikes within U.S. borders, but the Bush strategy worked and none occurred.
In the long term struggle against terrorism, the U.S. desperately needed to build credibility among despotic leaders in the Middle East who only respect force. Bush also believed that democracy was a long term solution to terrorism. The Congressional resolution authorizing war in Iraq gave twelve reasons for military action. [1. http://en.wikipedia.org...] Only five of the reasons related to terrorism, and there is no doubt they were harboring members of al Qaeda and giving bounties to anti-Israeli terrorists. The main reasons were that Saddam was attempting to shoot down U.S. aircraft, was defying UN inspections and sanctions, and was widely practicing genocide and torture.
With a well-educated populace, Iraq was also a good candidate for democracy. Signs are reasonably good that democracy will take hold in the Middle East. At the time of Iraq, critics denounced the idea as an utter impossibility. The Arab Spring is off to a rough start, but polls in seven Arab countries show “reform and rights issues now being perceived as political priorities in most countries.” [2.http://tinyurl.com...] Bush recognized the potential for democracy that others dismissed.
Saddam had killed about 800,000 during his rule. [3.http://middleeast.about.com...] hat alone justifies intervention.
We now know from jailhouse interviews that Saddam wanted the world to think he had WMDs in the belief that it would scare Iran and the Kurds. He believed the US would never take action. Saddam intended to resume WMD production as soon as possible. [4. http://tinyurl.com... pp 4, 6.] UN inspector Hans Blix said in his book that he too believed that Saddam had WMDs; Blix wanted more time to find them. [5. http://www.defencemanagement.com...
Bush, as well as nearly all the prominent Democrats agreed to act based upon honest belief. Journalist Bob Woodard, who took down Nixon with Watergate, verified the vigorous attempts by Bush at verification, and that Bush had asked all the right questions of all the right people. [6. http://tinyurl.com...]
Con makes a list of charges without citing evidence to support them. I deny them, which is all I need do since they are unsupported. However, I will refute them as well.
Presidential "vacations" are mainly changes of scenery during which the President works at a location other than the White House, and which opponents always charge as goofing off. [7. http://www.capecodtoday.com...] Half of Bush's time away was at the Camp David military base near Washington, and the rest at the "Western White House" at his ranch in Texas. [7. op cit]
The Corps of Engineers is now building giant flood gates to protect New Orleans from hurricanes. Construction was to originally to have been completed in the 70s, but environmentalists successfully sued and blocked the construction. [ 8. http://www.southernstudies.org...] Primary responsibility for the devastation therefore lies with environmental activists, not with the Bush Administration. Aid might have gone in faster, except the Democrat governor asserted states rights and blocked it. [9. http://en.wikipedia.org... Criticism_of_government_response_to_Hurricane_Katrina#Louisiana] Neighboring Alabama and Mississippi had similar devastation, but few of the problems of Louisiana. he neighboring states were competently prepared and governed.
FEMA Administrator Brown was mainly a lawyer, noted in part for successfully banning unethical members from a horseman's association in lengthy lawsuits.[10. http://en.wikipedia.org...] Lawyer appointments are commonplace for every recent president, because the executive branch is responsible for carrying out the laws.
The charge that Bush did nothing about mounting economic problems is false. The economic disaster was a product of Fannie and Freddie buying bad loans. Fannie and Freddie were run by Democrats throughout the Bush years, and they encouraged bad loans under the belief that they were expanding home ownership. The Bush Administration went to Congress three times demanding that Fannie and Freddie be reigned in, and each time Democrats in Congress blocked action using the filibuster and reprimanded the Administration for even suggesting there was a problem. [11. http://tinyurl.com...]
Bush saved millions in Africa
President Bush quadrupled aid to Africa and, unlike many ill-conceived foreign aid programs, the aid worked to good effect. the money was spent combating the spread of AIDS. [13. http://www.independent.co.uk......]
When the Bush administration inaugurated the [President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief] in 2003, fewer than 50,000 HIV-infected people on the African continent were receiving the antiretroviral drugs that keep the virus in check and halt the progression toward full-blown AIDS. By the time Bush left office, the number had increased to nearly 2 million. ...
Before PEPFAR, the conventional wisdom was that the drug treatment regimens that had been saving lives in developed countries would not work in Africa. Poor, uneducated people in communities lacking even the most basic infrastructure could not be expected to take the right pill at the right time every day. ... Therefore, this reasoning went, trying to administer antiretroviral treatment in poor African countries might actually be worse than doing nothing at all.
The Bush administration rejected these arguments, took the risk, and millions were saved.
mohammad forfeited this round.
From my opponent's "plz no trolling" comment I assumed he wanted a serious debate. I could have been wrong about that.
In the previous round I didn't address the "no child left behind" education policy.
Education policy. The principle of the bill is that testing of students should be used to hold the education system accountable. That principle was hammered out on a bipartisan basis, with Senator Kennedy heading up the Democrats in the negotiations. "It took four months more for conferees to finally reach agreement, but ultimate success came because, as one White House official said: 'Kennedy and Miller changed the direction of the Democratic Party, and Bush changed the direction of the Republican Party. That it all happened in one year is remarkable.'" [13. http://www.washingtonpost.com...]
Alas, politicians, especially Democrats, do not like being held accountable; teachers do not like being held accountable; and students do not like being tested. Republicans do not like any Federal involvement in education."On Friday, the Department of Education plans to announce that it has granted waivers releasing two more states, Washington and Wisconsin, from some of the most onerous conditions of the signature Bush-era legislation. With this latest round, 26 states are now relieved from meeting the lofty — and controversial — goal of making all students proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014. Additional waivers are pending in 10 states and the District of Columbia." [14. http://www.nytimes.com...]
Con claimed that the program "destroyed the education of a generation." Not hardly. The Washington Post reported "Thomas S. Dee of the University of Virginia and Brian Jacob of the University of Michigan, have provided a quick summary of what NCLB [no child left behind] did, before we forget it ever existed. They have reviewed all the relevant papers and come up with some surprising conclusions:
"The estimates suggest that NCLB increased the proportion of 4th graders reaching the basic level on NAEP by 10 percentage points. . . .While we find that NCLB had larger impacts among lower-achieving students, we do not find any evidence that the introduction of NCLB harmed students at higher points on the achievement distribution. In contrast to some prior work within individual school districts and states, we find that NCLB seemed to increase achievement at higher points on the achievement distribution more than one might have expected. For example, in 4th grade math, the impacts at the 75th percentile were only 3 scale points lower than at the 10th percentile.” [15. http://voices.washingtonpost.com...]
In addition the study found that NCLB increased education spending and increased student engagement with less tardiness and absenteeism.
By objective measures the program was a success.
George Bush served in very difficult times, keeping us safe from terrorism and fighting, ultimately unsuccessfully, a disastrous Democrat-controlled housing policy. He was a good president.
mohammad forfeited this round.
My opponent forfeited without ever making an argument or providing any supporting evidence.
The Pro side prevails.
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