George W. Bush inherited a recession and was thrown the gauntlet by islamic terrorists who had been let loose under his predecessor. In the wake of the compounding economic crisis he managed to liberate two countries and fifty million people and install democracies there, kept the homeland free from further terrorist attacks, and managed, through his tax cuts, to turn the tide of mounting budget deficits by 2004. En passant he profiled himself as the savior of Africa's tens of millions AIDS victims. Never one to appease the electorate or the elites, he took bold decision upon bold decision. Six months before his second term expired, the last timebomb from the Clinton era exploded in his face, and again he dealt with this crisis as best as he could, and seemed to be turning things around by November 3.
Adolf Hitler destroyed empires and kingdoms, states and entire peoples. Because he lived, an estimated 60 million died, very often in atrocious and appalling circumstances. Many millions more were wounded, maimed or psychologically ruined. Infrastructure was devastated on an unseen scale, financial systems broke down completely, and the entire world power balance was changed. Humanity was left with the shocking realization that there are no limits to its cruelty.
But not even Adolf Hitler ever received so much scorn as George Bush.
What is wrong with us? The WSJ's Jeffrey Scott Shapiro does not have the answer. But at least he asks the question.
It's about time.
THE TREATMENT OF BUSH HAS BEEN A DISGRACE
What must our enemies be thinking?
By Jeffrey Scott Shapiro
Earlier this year, 12,000 people in San Francisco signed a petition in support of a proposition on a local ballot to rename an Oceanside sewage plant after George W. Bush. The proposition is only one example of the classless disrespect many Americans have shown the president.
According to recent Gallup polls, the president's average approval rating is below 30% -- down from his 90% approval in the wake of 9/11. Mr. Bush has endured relentless attacks from the left while facing abandonment from the right.
This is the price Mr. Bush is paying for trying to work with both Democrats and Republicans. During his 2004 victory speech, the president reached out to voters who supported his opponent, John Kerry, and said, "Today, I want to speak to every person who voted for my opponent. To make this nation stronger and better, I will need your support, and I will work to earn it. I will do all I can do to deserve your trust."
Those bipartisan efforts have been met with crushing resistance from both political parties.
The president's original Supreme Court choice of Harriet Miers alarmed Republicans, while his final nomination of Samuel Alito angered Democrats. His solutions to reform the immigration system alienated traditional conservatives, while his refusal to retreat in Iraq has enraged liberals who have unrealistic expectations about the challenges we face there.
It seems that no matter what Mr. Bush does, he is blamed for everything. He remains despised by the left while continuously disappointing the right.
Yet it should seem obvious that many of our country's current problems either existed long before Mr. Bush ever came to office, or are beyond his control. Perhaps if Americans stopped being so divisive, and congressional leaders came together to work with the president on some of these problems, he would actually have had a fighting chance of solving them.
Just as Americans have gained perspective on how challenging Truman's presidency was in the wake of World War II, our country will recognize the hardship President Bush faced these past eight years -- and how extraordinary it was that he accomplished what he did in the wake of the September 11 attacks.
The treatment President Bush has received from this country is nothing less than a disgrace. The attacks launched against him have been cruel and slanderous, proving to the world what little character and resolve we have. The president is not to blame for all these problems. He never lost faith in America or her people, and has tried his hardest to continue leading our nation during a very difficult time.
Our failure to stand by the one person who continued to stand by us has not gone unnoticed by our enemies. It has shown to the world how disloyal we can be when our president needed loyalty -- a shameful display of arrogance and weakness that will haunt this nation long after Mr. Bush has left the White House.
Hat tip CDR Salamander.