One of the few times George W Bush was mentioned at the Republican National Convention came during a speech by his brother, Jeb Bush, who said this about the last GOP president: "He is a man of integrity, courage, and honor, and during incredibly challenging times, he kept us safe."
I've heard that before about President Bush. It's something some conservatives tell themselves. But it's got to stop. Personally, I don't blame Bush or his administration for failing to prevent the September 11 terrorist attacks. I'd never say that it's their fault all those people died. Still, it happened on their watch. And there are things they could have done better to prevent it. So while their failures don't, in my judgment, justify anger at that aspect of their leadership, it's just bizarre to affirmatively argue that Bush's defining legacy was that he kept us safe.
Is there any bigger caveat to that statement than 9/11?
What people mean when they say he kept is safe seems to be that there wasn't another terrorist attack like 9/11. By that standard, he kept us no safer than Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama. And even leaving out 9/11, for reasons that are never explained, Bush was president during the anthrax attacks, the Beltway sniper incident, the Los Angeles airport shooting, the Mohammed Reza SUV incident, the Seattle Jewish Federation shooting, and the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina. Again, I don't blame Bush for the victims of those incidents, but to harken back to his tenure as a time when the president kept America safe is ahistorical.
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