George Bush on how he thinks he’ll be remembered:
I think I’ll be remembered as a guy who was dealt some pretty tough issues and I dealt with them head-on and I didn’t try to shy away. I helped this country protect itself, and at the same time was unabashed at spreading certain values to others— the main one being liberty.
The Bush White House has issued a report on the “Highlights of Accomplishments and Results of the Administration of George W. Bush.”
Its inherent bias aside, I thought it was interesting because for all the negative things which occurred in the last eight years, a lot of good things have also occurred. (Note: This is not everything that is included in the booklet. For example, I did not include items such as “President Bush worked to reduce America’s dependence on oil” or attempts characterize the recent bailout as a positive.)
That said, here’s George Bush’s attempt at defending his record:
In Afghanistan, the United States and our allies removed the regime that harbored the terrorists who plotted the 9/11 attacks. As a result, more than 25 million Afghans are free; the terrorist training camps have been shut down; and Afghanistan has become an ally in the war on terror.
Today Afghanistan has a democratically elected President, a national assembly, and a market economy. Women are voting and starting their own businesses. Millions more children are in school, including girls who were once banned from the classroom.
President Bush and President Karzai established the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council in 2002 to help give Afghan women the opportunity to improve their lives and rebuild their country. First Lady Laura Bush made three trips to Afghanistan to underscore America’s commitment to this work. Although Afghanistan still faces serious challenges, the international community is working together to help this emerging democracy succeed.
In Iraq, the United States led a coalition to remove a dictator who murdered his own people, invaded his neighbors, and threatened the United States. Because our coalition acted to remove Saddam Hussein, 25 million Iraqis are free; the Iraqi people have the most progressive constitution in the Arab world; and Iraq has become an ally in the war on terror.
With Saddam Hussein gone from power, the coalition’s mission turned to helping the Iraqi people defend their freedom against violent extremists. When the battle in Iraq reached a pivotal point, the President rejected calls for retreat. Instead, in January 2007, he ordered a new strategy supported by a surge in forces. This historic decision dramatically reduced violence and created the conditions for political and economic progress to take place.
Also highlighted is George Bush’s support for democratic revolutions in Lebanon, Ukraine and Georgia, elections in Pakistan and recognition of Kosovo as an independent country.
Bush was the first American President to support a two-state solution with a democratic Israel and a democratic Palestine living side-by-side in peace.
The United States completed a historic civil nuclear agreement with India, reshaping the relationship between the world’s two largest democracies.
The President worked with Congress to enact four major pieces of homeland security related legislation:
1. The USA Patriot Act;
2. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act;
3. The Protect America Act; and
4. Modernization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
More than 20 Federal agencies were merged together to create the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history. Since the President launched this initiative in 2003, PEPFAR has supported life-saving treatment for more than 2.1 million people and care for more than 10.1 million people worldwide.
The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) is on track to reduce malaria deaths by half in 15 targeted countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2007 alone, the PMI reached more than 25 million people with lifesaving treatment and prevention services, and this good work continues.
President Bush enacted the largest tax relief in a generation. For only the third time in history, Americans received across-the-board tax relief. Tax rates fell for everyone who pays income taxes, and more than 13 million Americans saw their income taxes eliminated altogether. The President worked with Congress to double the child tax credit, reduce the marriage penalty, and put the death tax on the road to extinction.
When President Bush took office in 2001, the United States had free trade agreements (FTAs) in force with only three countries. Today, America has agreements in force with 14 countries, and Congress has approved FTAs with another three. These agreements have benefited American farmers, workers, and small business owners.
The Federal government has increased its investment in research and development to a record $143 billion – an increase of 57 percent from 2001.
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act
This law asks states to set measurable standards and hold schools accountable for ensuring every child learns to read and do math at grade level. Six years after NCLB became law, the results are clear. According to the Nation’s Report Card, fourth-grade students achieved their highest reading and math scores on record, and eighth-grade students achieved their highest math scores on record. African-American and Hispanic students posted all-time highs in reading and math, and the achievement gap has narrowed.
Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. Under this program, private drug plans compete against each other to provide coverage for beneficiaries. This competition has helped drive down prices. The average premiums in 2008 were 40 percent lower than the original estimates. Overall, the projected spending for the program between 2004 and 2013 is 38 percent lower than originally expected—a reduction of about $240 billion.
Through Health Saving Accounts (HSAs), Americans of all ages have put away money for routine medical expenses free of taxes. The number of individuals covered by HSA-eligible plans at small businesses increased by 70 percent in 2008.
Did You Know?
9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured and is in custody.
Iraqi forces have taken over security responsibilities from U.S. forces in more than two thirds of Iraqi provinces and helped reduce attacks to the lowest level in more than four years.
More than six million children now attend Afghan schools, compared to fewer than one million in 2001; a third of these are girls who were previously barred from attending school.
The Afghan economy has doubled since 2001.
President Bush implemented the largest reorganization of the Federal national security apparatus since 1947.
More than 400 individuals and entities that posed a threat to America had assets frozen, transactions blocked, or were isolated from the U.S. financial system.
The increase in defense funding is the largest increase since the Truman Administration.
Intelligence experts believe the 2006 plot to blow up multiple passenger jets traveling from London was only weeks from being carried out.
The President launched a global threat reduction program that has removed enough material for more than 30 nuclear bombs from sites around the world.
President Bush persuaded Libya to disclose and dismantle all aspects of its WMD and advanced missile programs and renounce terrorism.
The Administration dismantled the A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network, which had previously spread sensitive nuclear technology and capability to Iran and North Korea.
To protect against the danger of rogue regimes armed with ballistic missiles, the Administration withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and made missile defense operational.
This Administration halved the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile by 2007—five years ahead of schedule.
The President’s Proliferation Security Initiative united more than 90 nations to cooperate to stop of the spread of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems, and related materials.
The United States persuaded the UN Security Council to require all UN members to take enforcement actions against the proliferation of WMD and related materials.
The President increased the budget for the National Endowment for Democracy by more than 150 percent since 2001.
The United States provided more than $1.5 billion in new funding for humanitarian and peacekeeping aid to Darfur.
President Bush directed all senior U.S. officials serving in undemocratic countries to maintain regular contact with political dissidents and democracy activists to help give them a voice.
Since 2001, the United States has provided $16 billion in food aid.
The MCC has now signed agreements, which seek transformational change in the development of recipient countries, for $6.7 billion in grant funding for 35 countries.
The President committed $1 billion through the African Education Initiative and the Initiative for Expanded Education for the World’s Poorest Children to educate children in poor nations.
The United States has provided $10 billion for international disaster relief and other humanitarian efforts since 2001.
The President’s tax relief helped fuel growth that led to the largest three-year increase in revenues in 26 years.
A family of four earning $40,000 kept an average of $2,000 more of their own money in 2007 thanks to the President’s tax relief.
Americans with the highest incomes—the top five percent—pay a greater share of the total Federal income tax burden today than they did before the President’s tax relief.
Growth in exports, to a record $1.6 trillion, accounted for about half of U.S. economic growth in 2007.
U.S. agriculture exports were $92.4 billion in 2007, up 74 percent from 2000.
After-tax per-capita income increased 12 percent from 2000 to 2007.
NCLB helped increase the percentage of first graders reading at grade level in 44 of 50 States.
President Bush created a $100 million Teacher Incentive Fund to reward teachers who improve student achievement in high-need school districts.
1.2 million more students are attending college in the 2008-09 year compared to 2001-02 thanks to a near doubling of Pell Grant funding to $16.2 billion and an increase of the largest maximum Pell Grant award to $4,700.
The number of charter schools in the United States has doubled since 2000, thanks in part to an infusion of Federal funding.
Nearly 10 million Americans are enrolled in private Medicare Advantage programs, and virtually every county in America has a private plan option.
Among seniors, the satisfaction rate with the drug benefit is close to 90 percent.
The President added preventive screening to Medicare to help diagnose illnesses earlier.
Since 2001, more than 1,200 community health centers have opened or expanded nationwide.
Nearly seven million more Americans now have coverage in HSA-eligible plans.
The President’s first Executive Order established the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Similar offices were established at 11 Federal agencies, and 35 Governors now have State offices or liaisons of their own.
More than 515,000 children received after-school tutoring through Supplemental Educational Services, many from faith-based and community providers.
In response to Hurricane Katrina, National Service programs have given more than 5.4 million hours of service, directing 405,000 volunteers in recovery efforts.
In 2007 alone, more than 2,200, or 87 percent, of partners in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief were indigenous groups, and nearly one-quarter were faith-based.
The President also signed a GI Bill for the 21st century. This legislation significantly expanded education benefits and allowed those who have defended our country to transfer unused benefits to their spouses or children.
The President committed more than $6 billion to modernize and expand VA facilities.
VA’s polytrauma system of care was expanded to 22 network sites and clinic support teams to provide state-of-the-art treatment to injured veterans closer to home.
Under this Administration, DoD, in cooperation with VA, created the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury to take advantage of cutting-edge medical technology.
Ethanol production quadrupled from 2000 to 2007, and nearly $1 billion was invested to advance cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass, wood chips, and other non-food sources.
This Administration launched the Nuclear Power 2010 Program and other significant efforts that helped encourage industry to submit 17 applications for 26 new nuclear reactors in the United States.
The President’s $2 billion commitment to the Coal Research Initiative was fulfilled three years early.
$1.2 billion was invested in hydrogen and fuel cell vehicle research and development.
Between 2001 and 2008, the United States committed more than $22 billion total to climate change technology research.
The new Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument protects more than 7,000 species. More than 220 Preserve America grants were awarded in more than 650 communities in all 50 States to protect America’s cultural and natural heritage.
Record funding was provided to repair and improve our national parks through the President’s National Parks Centennial Initiative, a priority of First Lady Laura Bush.
Thanks in part to the creation of Project Safe Neighborhoods and innovative programs for enforcing Federal firearm laws, the overall rate of reported crimes reached a 30-year low in 2007.