Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Looking Back at Bush

Last night, I was watching a movie about George W Bush titled "W" directed by Oliver Stone. I am not sure how much of it was based on fact but it was entertaining to say the least.

One particular scene in it got me thinking though. Other than the War on Terrorism, particularly the invasion and occupation of Iraq, what will end up being Bush's legacy in our nation's history?

So I decided to do a little bit of reading and looking into what legislation was implemented while he was in office, which ones he supported and what not. Here is what I found:

2001

The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act
This legislation was simple a law that enacted some huge tax cuts. Probably the biggest in our nation's history. This legislation was signed and implemented almost immediately after Bush took office.
I think this was a good piece of legislation and in general if it is looked at by itself it had an overall positive impact on the country in my opinion.

PATRIOT Act
This controversial act in a nutshell allowed law enforcement agencies to monitor private telephone calls, emails and other records in an effort to prevent and intercept terrorists in our country. It also made it easier for intelligence agencies to gather information inside the United States.
While I agree with the legislation in theory, I think in practice it went overboard. I think it gave too much power to those law enforcement agencies. That's just my opinion though.

2002

No Child Left Behind Act
This legislation reauthorized several federal programs in an effort to improve the performance of primary and secondary schools by increasing standards. It also provided more flexibility for parents in choosing their children's schools.
Another piece of legislation that I approve of in theory however I think education is an issue better left to the states. I also do not think it provided enough flexibility in choosing schools.

Campaign Reform Act
The major changes in this legislation were reforming campaign finance reform.
Nothing special here. I approve of the bill. Probably could have gone further but it was a good start.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act
This business reform law set standards for the regulation public company boards, management and accounting firms.
I am actually a little bit surprised that Bush approved of this. I really honestly thought he was pro-big business all the way. Shows how much I know about him. In any case, I did not dig very deep into this bill because it was terribly confusing to me so I don’t have any real logical comments about it.

Homeland Security Act
This Act created the department known as the Department of Homeland Security.
Not a big fan myself. Not a big fan of the government creating new departments with new bureaucracy. I think an existing agency could have done the same job this one does.

2003

PROTECT Act
This was a law designed specifically for reform in the laws toward sexual offenses on minors. Its biggest provision was that it allowed for mandatory life sentences for child molesters.
I’m all for that. Put them all in jail!

Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act
As the title suggests, this law prohibits late term abortions. This act by the way was upheld by the Supreme Court in a decision on the Gonzalez v Carhart case.
In my own mind, this piece of legislation is going to be one of President Bush’s lasting legacies. I think it took great courage to sign this bill into law.

Medicare Improvement and Modernization Act
This legislation overhauled Medicare by adding provisions for prescription drug benefits.
I’m okay with this. From what I have read about it the economic impact was minimal.

2004

Unborn Victims of Violence Act
Another one that I think will be a legacy in my mind for Bush. This recognized a fetus as a legal victim for numerous crimes. The only problem I have with it is that for whatever reason it did not define abortion as a crime against a fetus.

2005

Real ID Act
It set federal standards for drivers licenses and state identification cards.
I have no problem with this bill. Overall I think it was a good thing.

Bankruptcy Reform Act
This enacted many changes in federal bankruptcy laws, making it more difficult to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. It affected both consumers and businesses.
This was not a bad law. Over time it seems like a lot of people starting using bankruptcy as a crutch to stop having to pay their bills. Bankruptcy in my opinion lessens the amount of personal responsibility in people.

Energy Policy Act
The legislation provided for tax incentives to businesses that research and manufacture alternate energy sources.
Good act here. Incentives to businesses (rather than penalties) is a good way to get things going in that direction. Heck of a lot better than some sort of cap and trade law.

2006

Adam Walsh Child Protection and Security Act
Further reformed sex offender laws. This organized sex offenders into 3 different tiers based on their threat to society. It also required all of them to register their whereabouts at specific times. Tier 3 sex offenders have to report their whereabouts for the rest of their life.
I support this law as well. There is a very small part of me that says it violates their right to privacy but I get over that really quick when I think about the little kids or women they have violated.

Secure Fence Act
This allowed for 700 miles of fence to be built along the Mexican border in an attempt to curb illegal immigration.
This was a good law too.

So overall, I think the few bad things that Bush did during his presidency (invading Iraq in the 1st place based on questionable intelligence; his abuses of presidential power) unfortunately are going to always overshadow the good things that he did during his presidency in most people’s eyes.

While I think that in most cases (most cases) everything he did, he honestly thought was for the good of the American people, I think in a lot of those cases where the wrong decisions were made he was probably misguided and relied too much on the advise of dishonorable people.

11 comments:

  1. Good post otter... they can say what they want about Bushy but they can't say he was a do-nothing President and they can't say he didn't do exactly what he said he would do.

    I admire the man, always will.
    -red

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  2. I admire him a lot more than I have in the past that is for sure.

    In fact, I am planning on writing him a letter. Almost a letter of apology but mostly a letter to commend him on signing the partial birth abortion act.

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  3. God bless you Steve... please post it when you do.

    wow.
    -red

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  4. I like George W Bush as a person, but I think his and his administration’s attitude towards the amount of power that the Executive Branch should have is scary. He was guilty of what amounts to abuse of power in his unbelievable misuse of signing statements. He never vetoed a bill until the GOP lost control of the House because he didn’t have to. If there was anything in the bill that he thought needed tweeking, he would do so in the signing statement. That is a horrible precedent that I’m sure is being followed by our current President. The Democrats should have gone after him for that but they didn’t because they wanted to be able to use this new found power when they got one of their guys in the Oval Office.

    I never bought the “Bush lied” thing with the war. I think that he was truly doing what he thought was the best thing to do. Were others in the administration guilty of lying? Probably, but I don’t think W was one of them.

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  5. Bill Clinton issued many more signing statements than dub-yah did, so as far as "precedent" of a President issuing signing statements, that was made long long ago.

    Every President has put his imprint on measures passed by congress in terms of how those measures are applied and carried out, George W Bush didn't invent that for sure.

    I think looking back when compared to the President before him caught with his pants down and the President that came after him caught destroying our economy and incomes while implementing socialism under the umbrella of the global hoax known as warming... I think George W Bush will come out just fine in history as people look back 20 years from now.

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  6. RED: I was actually thinking that I would post the letter that I end up sending to him. I just need to find out what address to send mail to a former President to first. LOL!

    DAVE: I agree with you. I am starting to think more and more that Bush did not lie about the war. I think he was doing what he thought was best thing to do at the time based on evidence and intelligence that he was given. Personally, I think Cheney was the one that needs to be given a boot to the head in regards to that whole affair. Him and Rumsfield both.

    However, I can also see that he might have been a little overzealous. I think he wanted to go back and finish the job that his daddy did not and he wanted that to be his legacy. Unfortunately, based on the intelligence he was given, which he then gave to Congress, they basically gave him carte blanche on the invasion of Iraq.

    Point is, he is not the only person at fault in this whole affair.

    He is, I think, certainly a good person.

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  7. 10141 Daria Pl
    Dallas, TX 75229

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  8. Red -- Based on everything that I have read on the subject, W used more signing statements than any other President in history. Granted, they have been abused by both parties, but that doesn’t make it right. The fact is that it was the Reagan Administration that orchestrated the current use of signing statements changing them from being an expression of opinion by the President on a specific bill to a way to alter the use and execution of the law. This policy was researched and drafted by now Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

    Steve said “Personally, I think Cheney was the one that needs to be given a boot to the head in regards to that whole affair. Him and Rumsfield both.”

    AMEN!!!

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  9. Here is a good analysis Justice Alito on Presidential Signing Statements

    "Clinton used it 105 times, Bush Sr. used it 146, Reagan used it 71, and Bush Jr. has used it 110 times. None of these numbers are unusual, or rare." Link

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