Bush as a Great Man – The New Meme
Let’s say, hypothetically, GW had had a cause these past eight years: reducing auto accident fatalities. Let’s say he also set forth a plan that greatly increased the amount of funding to the state highway agency. But there was a catch – states only got the money if they pledged to use it primarily for public service campaigns designed to get across the message that unmarried people should not drive. At the same time, having noted that in many crashes, people often got killed despite having on a seat belt and traveling in a car with airbags, officials in the administration leaned quite heavily on car makers to remove seat belts and airbags from vehicles.
My guess is that right about now, the folks at the National Review would be hailing GW’s commitment to highway safety and berating the rest of us for failing to give him his due. And they’d be pretty desperate about it, given his dearth of accomplishments, at least positive ones, and their own continued support for him over the past eight years. So it wasn’t a surprise to read this:
I have much sympathy for our 43rd president. I think a good, maybe even a great man has been vilified.
Nor was it a surprise that one of the pieces of evidence cited for GW’s goodness, maybe even greatness, was this
funding for AIDS treatment in Africa on a scale that dwarfed Bill Clinton’s efforts
Another article at the National Review tells us
George W. Bush who has devoted so much time, energy, and money (well, our money, but it was legal) to fighting AIDS and other diseases in Africa.
It goes on:
It goes without saying that if Obama does even half of what Bush has done for AIDS sufferers in Africa, he will be — in the eyes of those same people — a candidate for canonization.
Of course the Left can say whatever they like about George Bush and the war in Iraq and the war on terror. But when he does something completely in line with their own stated principles and values, it is simply mean-spirited of them to deny him his due.
Now, I’ll be honest, I haven’t looked at numbers when it comes to AIDS in Africa. I know its a heart-breaking and horrific problem, but each of us has only limited bandwidth. Still, there’s one thing about AIDS in Africa I’m pretty sure of, even without looking at the numbers: GW did not make things better.
Even people who are desperate and shameless enough to try to explain that GW is a great man because of his efforts to fight AIDS in Africa can’t point to much in the way of improvements. (Not a surprise given the counter-productive approach he’s taken.) Heck, even Thomas Sowell, who seems to have a certain je ne se quois with numbers doesn’t appear to have dipped his toe in that one.
When it comes to AIDS in Africa, the best that can be said about GW’s legacy is this: let’s hope our next President does better.