If you go by the amount of energy Bush has expended over the last 6 years doing the kind of presidential grunt-work it takes to launch an initiative and see it through to the end, then there’s only one issue he’s ever given a damn about because there’s only one issue he ever put himself out to pass: tax cuts. Our supremely disengaged Supreme Commander was fully engaged on that initiative for the one and only time in his career, including as Gov of Texas. He made phone calls, twisted arms, lobbied Congressional leaders, the whole bit – everything he never did before and hasn’t done since, not even over Iraq. This president prefers to give orders as if he were a monarch, handing down edicts and “signing statements” and “presidential findings” as if they were the same thing as law.
Of course, up to now he’s had a rubber-stamp Congress that pretty much did what it was told by Grand Vizier Rove and Vice-Monarch Cheney, but there were areas of disagreement – immigration reform, for instance – which were supposed to be “close to his heart” and with which the Republican Congress disagreed, yet he never lifted so much as a presidential pinky to change their minds (thus, no immigration reform).
So I think it’s fair to judge his success – or lack of it – by the single issue over a term-and-a-half in which he actually acted like a president rather than a king. How did he do? Did the tax cuts he fought so hard for really jump-start the economy and help the middle class as he promised they would?
Well, uh, no. To both. (more…)