Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) — who is running for reelection and holds a narrow lead over his Democratic challenger Bill White — is engaged in a desperate appeal to the conservative base to help put him over the top.
Perry, who is being rumored as a leading 2012 presidential candidate, was asked by the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith whether he considers former President George W. Bush to be a “great” president. Bush was “a very, very good President,” Perry responded, adding that he may go down as “great” one day:
PERRY: At the end of the day, when the history books are written, I think George W. Bush will go down as a very, very good President. Approaching great? I don’t know yet because I don’t know if we’ve seen the —
A year and a half since he’s been out of office, this may be a little bit early to write George’s history. But here’s why he was an incredibly good President: because this man kept America safe. […]
Anyone who is not a rank political hack, who has an agenda, and looks at this President’s efforts — I mean, there are two things that I think people judge Presidents on: their safety and the economy.
Indeed, Presidents can and should be judged on the two metrics Perry outlines: “their safety and the economy.” And on both those scores, Bush was anything but a “very, very good President.”
In terms of keeping America safe, the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil — about which Bush was forewarned — occurred on his watch. His disastrous decision to invade Iraq — which “everyone” in Congress now agrees was a huge “mistake” — has resulted in almost 4,400 U.S. casualties.
As for his stewardship of the economy, Bush inherited a budget surplus of $127 billion and bequeathed a deficit of over $1 trillion to Obama. During his two terms, median income fell, poverty rose, and two recessions occurred — one of which was a global financial meltdown.
If Perry thinks this was “very, very good,” one wonders what classifies as very, very bad.