With the new Obama administration coming in, and the "supposed" worst president in history going out I've been reflecting on the Bush presidency -- how bad was it?
Did George Bush accomplish anything?
Keeping America safe post 9-11: Agree or disagree with his tactics and decisions, we have not endured a terrorist attack on US soil since 9-11. Some argue that his tactics have produced more hatred and animosity towards the US, and will breed more hatred of the US in the Middle East and breed more Islamic jihadists who seek American blood. This may be a horrifyingly accurate depiction of the future. However, (by luck or the Bush-formed Homeland Security Department) we have been safe on US soil for coming on 8 years.
Lowered taxes: George Bush successfully kept taxes low through-out his presidency. This wasn't only for the rich -- the refundable child tax credit, increased standard deductions and exemptions, 5% capital gains rate, and other provisions have been highly beneficial to the lower and middle classes. Conveniently ignoring the housing bubble and subsequent banking collapses, his tax cuts were instrumental in increased investment and economic growth for a large part of his presidency.
Despite the tax cuts, revenue increased substantially during his Presidency. This is because the President appointed IRS administrators who ended the "kinder, gentler, IRS" for a "smarter, more efficient IRS". The IRS has spent his presidency updating stone age computers, and hiring new IRS agents who go into audit meetings usually knowing that the target has unreported income or over reported deductions that will bring in additional revenue to the US coffers.
I can't think of any others:
Afghanistan: We never found Osama.
Iraq: No weapons of mass destruction. Declaring victory almost 6 years too soon.
Spending: He spent like a drunken sailor. He ran extremely high deficits.
Social Security Reform: He was never able to get on Social Security reform proposal through Congress.
Illegal Immigration: Instead of doing what the right wanted or what the left wanted, George Bush did nothing!
So it is my opinion that Bush II was not a good president, but I don't know that he was a horrible President either.
I respected Bush because he stuck to his guns on a lot of issues, despite to enormous unpopularity that resulted. However, he made rushed decisions regarding foreign policies that will be costly in future Middle East relations, he couldn't stay fiscally conservative (a "walk middle, squish just like grape" policy is bankrupting us now) and he failed to move one meaningful permanent piece reform through (except the Dept. of Homeland Sec.) that he proposed.