A recent political cartoon that appeared in a number of American newspapers, including the Journal-World, showed a "parent" (in the form of a GOP elephant) looking at a George Bush "report card." The parent, glaring toward a George Bush character standing in the corner and wearing a dunce cap, said: "Well? What do you have to say for yourself?"
The report card showed Bush getting F's in classes titled "War In Iraq, Foreign Policy, Immigration, Gasoline Prices, Taxes, Prescription Drugs, Civil Liberties, Combating Terrorism and Leadership," every subject listed on the card.
Obviously the cartoonist is one of the "Bush-haters," individuals who refuse to give Bush credit for anything. Such individuals have had this mindset since Bush was first elected to the presidency. Those in this camp are blind in their hatred of Bush and will not give Bush credit for anything positive.
The fact of the matter is that Bush has not done as well as many would like, but he certainly doesn't deserve an F in all of the categories noted above - nor does he deserve all A's and B's.
There's much to be said about what previous presidents could have done to minimize the need for the war in Iraq. Bush's foreign policy certainly deserves a "C" if not better. The immigration situation is not of Bush's making and was a serious matter of concern long before he moved into the White House.
Gasoline prices cannot, or should not, be placed at the feet of Bush, because no refineries have been built in the United States for years while consumption in China and India has skyrocketed. Political unrest in many foreign oil-producing countries has interrupted supplies, and American environmentalists and others have prohibited drilling in many oil-rich offshore and Alaska locations.
Taxes are low. How is Bush responsible for drug matters? "Civil liberties," if connected to the Patriot Act, is tied to 9-11 and Bush certainly had nothing to do with that horrible act of terrorism. And hasn't Bush done as much as our nation's laws will allow him to do in fighting terrorism?
There never is enough money to fund all the requests from various education lobbies, and views on "No Child Left Behind" are varied. History is likely to be the best judge of Bush's leadership skills. Remember what people thought of Truman when he was in office? Now historians rate him as one of the most effective presidents.
This is not to suggest Bush has done a great job, but he sure doesn't deserve all F's on anyone's report card. How many problems did he inherit from his predecessors? Didn't the Clinton campaign focus on the nation's economy as being the most important factor? And isn't the nation's economy better today than it was at any time during the Clinton years? Unemployment is low and productivity is high.
A media intent on trying to discredit Bush and, at times, the American effort in domestic and foreign challenges, can be extremely destructive. There are many national and international matters that could be better, and Bush certainly could have compiled a better record in many arenas. But, again, he doesn't deserve all F's on the cartoonist's score card.