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2007: An up and down year for President Bush


With all due respect to Larry Kudlow, who today wrote in the Washington Times that 2007 had been "a good year for President Bush," I believe that the results were, in fact, far more mixed than that.

2007 brought wins and there were losses to the President, as a full year will bring to anybody. However, the year included some enormous blunders on the part of the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue crew. This spring, of course, was the immigration "reform" fiasco, which saw the conservative Republican grassroots rise up against their party's leader in an ultimately successful effort to soundly defeat what President Bush decided to make one of his top two issues of 2007. During that protracted intraparty barfight, many on the right -- including myself -- wondered why in the world this much effort to inform, persuade, cajole, coerce, etc. on an issue had
never been made during the six-year length of the War on Terror (or the four-plus year length of the Iraqi portion of the GWOT). With that issue, as with so many others, the Bush White House demonstrated its tin ear and complete lack of PR ability, and ultimately threw a great deal of political capital down the drain.

2007 also saw a dramatic foreign policy shift for the Bush-Rice state department and administration as a whole as, with an eye apparently cocked toward legacy, the White House began Clintonesque negotiations with North Korea about normalization of relations and increased aid in exchange for the tiniest bit of progress on the nuclear weapons front. Further, in November, the thousand nations of the Middle East were begged and bribed to appear at Annapolis to hear the President, once a purportedly strong ally of Israel, call on the Zionist Entity to "end its occupation" of the West Bank and other areas.

The real victory of 2007 was, as mentioned above, Iraq. General David Petraeus and his brilliantly-executed counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq caused the US effort there to progress and improve by a degree so vast that neither I nor any other close watchers of that conflict could ever have predicted it. The President remained steadfast on that issue throughout the year -- which began as a very tough one, and only improved after midsummer had passed -- and has largely been rewarded for his risk.

Spending will be an enormous issue in the next few months. I never thought that we would be in a position where I have to hope that the spendthrift administration of George W. Bush will throw a choke collar around the pork factory that is the US Capitol, but, given the combination of the exorbitant price tag on the earmarks in the end of 2007 omnibus spending bill and the president's extremely conservative statement against that frivolous spending, that is the position we find ourselves in heading into 2008.

2007 has been one heckuvan interesting ride. We can only hope that 2008 builds on the second half of this year, and continues the improvement that has been begun, both by the President and by those in Washington, in Iraq, and elsewhere.


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