I submitted this is a letter to the editor of my local, daily newspaper. Since I doubt it has much of a chance to get in, I though I would post here here for your enjoyment.
Personally, I don't like to be judged by criteria that I don't choose to be judged by. Consider my merits and my goals when you are calling me a screw-up or a disaster. If I judged George W. Bush in the same way, a success story emerges.
As we come to the end of the Bush Administration, many writers are trying to get a jump on history by proclaiming him a miserable failure (the prevailing view) or lauding his goals, if not his achievements as president.
Another way to judge the Bush Presidency is on what it intended to do from day one. Judged in this way, it is easy to find many successes. Cheney's energy task force was wildly successful when one looks at the wild profitability of the coal and oil companies who helped to forge it. The tens of billions of dollars of profit of companies like Exxon/Mobil, and the vast numbers of Americans tricked into denying climate change or believing in the existence of "clean coal" technologies are testaments to Bush's successful energy leadership.
The tax cuts of 2001 were also successfully implemented, and Americans with incomes in the top 2%--and those who stood to gain lucrative inheritances--cannot complain. Moreover, with no tax increases to pay for increased spending on the War on Terror or Homeland Security, Bush successfully delayed the economic impact of these policies until the last year of his administration, albeit two years earlier than when the bubble was designed to burst back in 2001.
The Iraq War was also a goal of the administration from day one. Former treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill revealed in his book The Price of Loyalty, that rationale for an invasion of that country was presented at one of the first meetings of the National Security Council. Bush wanted that war. Mission accomplished. When he ran for re-election, Bush promised to keep troops in Iraq, and he has delivered on that promise, too, even if it took two more years go find a strategy that would finally reduce sectarian violence in that war-ravaged land.
If we consider his terms, then, Bush succeeded at achieving the goals he had from the beginning of his first campaign for President. In hindsight, these "successes" may seem short-sighted or disastrous to our country's prosperity. If that is the case, however, the blame should not lie with George W. Bush and his administration but with the American voters who embraced these priorities in Bush's two election victories.