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Bush did a good job when he was in office

Great to see the story in The News about the uptick in popularity of former President George W. Bush. Compassionate conservatism is the phrase that strikes the perfect balance. Despite excellent work in Africa, with the women of Afghanistan, the humane endeavors of the Bush Institute, etc., the compassionate part got lost in war. Neo-con? Would that in turn make Colin Powell, Tony Blair, the then House and Senate including Hillary Clinton and the 48 coalition countries – who also believed in the needful engine of war in stopping Saddam Hussein – neo-cons? Though true no WMDs were found, 400,000 mass graves were, and the Syrian chemicals Secretary of State John Kerry labeled as WMDs are the same ones used in Hussein’s attacks on the Kurds. The jury is still out on the fledgling democracy in Iraq and it may spread yet.

The conservative side of the phrase, however, did fall short for him. The 2006 prescription drug benefit for seniors and the continuing war on terror brought some added cost after what had been steady growth and low unemployment. After Democrats gained congressional power in 2007, spending soared further, then the financial meltdown affecting both his and the Obama presidency exploded. Virtually every in-depth study of the collapse, such as by Time magazine (February 2009), ranking Bill Clinton over Bush as culprit, and the book “Reckless Endangerment” by financial experts at the New York Times, placed the primary policy blame with the well-intentioned Democrats.

When President Obama returns home to where he cut his political teeth Chicago-style, the federal debt is projected to eclipse $20 trillion. In Chicago, governing equates to “if you bring a knife to the fight, I bring a gun.” The semblance of getting in there personally, negotiating until agreement, isn’t part of the bargain. Good grief, someone call George.

Jeff Flint

Tonawanda