When the new Congress is sworn in, GW will have had 6 years in which he’s controlled the Presidency, his allies and supporters control the Congress, conservatives control the Supreme Court, and the head of the Fed has been a friendly. In other words, he’s had six years in which he’s had more opportunity to shape the world than any President in recent memory – certainly a lot more than, say, Reagan, GHW, or Clinton. Which means that more any other recent President, GW owns his record. He, and his supporters, should get the credit for what has been accomplished, and the blame for the failures.
And yet… what has he accomplished? Well, he’s cut taxes. He’s invaded two countries. But are these strictly accomplishments, or are they merely actions? An accomplishment is something that turned out well, not just something that you happened to do.
Consider the tax cuts… they were going to spur the economy, leading to increased tax receipts and a booming economy (not to mention paying off the debt). But even cherry picking starting dates, economic growth hasn’t been all that impressive, and even nominal tax receipts actually fell for a few years. As to paying off the debt… well, now the goal seems to be cut the deficit GW himself created in half.
What about the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq? Well, in terms of decisiveness, they’re nothing special. I remember Reagan, GHW, and Clinton each having their own military actions. While there were failures (Beirut, Somalia), the signature pieces under Reagan, GHW, and Clinton (I would imagine these are Grenada, Panama, Gulf War 1, and Kosovo) all led to outcomes that a few years on appeared more successful than those in Afghanistan and Iraq.
All of which is to say… GW was given a free hand to do what he pleased, and at least to me, it seems he failed.
Which raises a few questions:
1. Am I wrong about this? Has he succeeded with the tax cuts and with the wars and I (and many others) just don’t see it?
2. Has he succeeded at something else? He must have done something well – what? Its coming up on six years… what are his actual accomplishments?
3. If he truly has failed at all the big things, can he not see it himself? And if he can, if he is truly patriotic, wouldn’t he step aside and let someone with less of a proven record of incompetence take over?
4. Of course, GW hasn’t done it all alone. There have been plenty of cheerleaders and supporters. Should questions 1 – 3 apply to them?
I’m sure there are other questions I’m also missing. Any thoughts?