Saturday, June 2, 2007

Yet Another IBD Editorial Home Run

Bear with me, folks. I know I have been rambling on and on about the subject of George W. Bush and his underrated Presidency. And yes, his immigration ideas are bad. But IBD's editors yet again have knocked the ball out of the park. Instead of linking to it, I want to just cut and paste the whole thing. Bold emphasis mine throughout.


The Singular Vision Of George W. Bush

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Friday, June 01, 2007 4:20 PM PT

The Presidency: Burdened by a Democratic Congress that can't see beyond the next election, at least the U.S. is blessed with a president with the ability to see a better future and the courage to take risks to achieve it.

The Bush Years In Perspective: Fourth In A Series Click here to read the rest of the series

His father didn't have the vision thing, but fortunately it's one trait that didn't skip the son's generation.

Bush the younger sees a world where democracy is the wave of the future, and an ownership society where people aren't at the mercy of politicians bribing them with their own money.

He has challenged an educational system where tenure, not accountability, is the norm. He has transformed Ronald Reagan's dream of preventing nuclear death rather than avenging it. And he has sought to transform the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security into a system of generating wealth that could be the greatest anti-poverty weapon ever devised.

He challenged conventional wisdom by touching the third rail that was Social Security, and not only lived but got re-elected. And he has entrusted America's survival to the genius of American technology and not the good will of our enemies.

It is in the area of foreign policy that shows how Bush sees beyond the next election to beyond the next generation. Facing a new kind of enemy in a new kind of war after Sept. 11, 2001, he has taken an old cliche and fashioned it into a winning strategy: The best way to kill alligators is to drain the swamp.

He knew it would not be easy. On Sept. 20, 2001, President Bush told Congress and the nation: "Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have seen." He continued: "Our war with terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."
Democracy, he insisted, would be our ultimate weapon. We would exploit the hope of the oppressed, just as our enemies exploited their despair. We would plant democracy in the Middle East, something his critics said could not be done.

Not long ago, editorial pages of the mainstream media and white-flag Democrats said the Iraqi elections should be put off, that the country was too violent and too unstable to have a fair and free election. Iraq and the Middle East were not ready for democracy.

They chuckled at the naivete of the Texas "cowboy" who said that "we have lit a fire . . . a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of the world."
Millions of Iraqis marched at the risk of their lives to the polls in successive elections that selected a permanent democratic government and a new constitution. In Afghanistan, the medieval rule of the Taliban would be replaced by another 21st century democracy.
The battle is not over, but the commitment to winning has been made. In his 2005 State of the Union, Bush declared: "All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for liberty, we will stand with you. Democratic reformers facing repression, prison or exile can know: America sees you for who you are — the future leaders of your free country."

Like another visionary president, Ronald Reagan, Bush has not regarded containment as an option. The Gipper would win the Cold War, not just fight it, and freedom would reach deep into the heart of the evil empire. Bush sees the Middle East as not only ready for democracy but crying for it. We will win this war too, and they will lose.

Reagan dreamed of being able to actually defend the U.S. against nuclear attack and not just participating in a doctrine appropriately named MAD, for mutually assured destruction. Bush recognized that while one superpower might be able to deter another, dime-store thugs like North Korea's Kim Jong Il and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could not.
So he slowly transformed Reagan's dream into a reality, pouring concrete and building launchers.

Today we have operational systems in Alaska and California. Aegis cruisers and destroyers cruise the world's oceans. Other systems, such as airborne lasers, are on the way. Allies from Tokyo to Warsaw to Prague have been brought in. We will not be at the mercy of madmen.
Bush also has sought to free American people from government shackles of another kind — management of their lives by mindless bureaucrats from cradle to grave. His boldest initiative is his keystone for what he calls the Ownership Society — personal saving accounts that would allow wealth to be created, personally owned and transferred to one's heirs.

Bush recognized that once a worker pays his or her Social Security taxes into the system, the worker no longer owns that money. The benefits he or she may receive depend on the good will or the current whim of a federal government that has viewed Social Security tax revenues as a slush fund for other spending.

Bush saw that under Social Security, you and your heirs may get most of the money back, some of it or none of it. If they live long enough to get all of it back, they get it back at a rate lower than a bank CD or U.S. savings bonds would provide. Under a system of voluntary personal retirement accounts, they and their heirs would get every penny, at a higher rate of return, from a nest egg that the government could never spend, cut or take away.

As President Bush noted, "Congress felt so strongly that people ought to be able to own and manage their own accounts, they set one up for themselves." It's called the Thrift Savings Plan and Bush dared to ask the question, why are personal accounts good deals for senators and congressmen, but not for the people they represent?

In education, Bush transformed our education system from a union-run baby sitter to an actual learning tool with the No Child Left Behind Act. For too long American students have been underperforming when measured against foreign students on whom less money per capita is spent. Our long-term future depended on changing this dynamic.

Educators were now actually forced to educate and document their success — or failure. The result has been steadily improving test scores across the board and, perhaps most significantly, a steady narrowing of the gap between test scores of whites and minorities.

President Bush sees a world where people are in control of their own destiny, from the selection of their leaders and the shape of their government, to the education of their children, to their health care and retirement.

All this in a world where we need not fear the alligators, for the swamp has been drained.
On Mount Rushmore is a president, Abraham Lincoln, who saw America as "the last, best hope on Earth." The current occupant of the White House sees it that way, too.