Bush made one really bad mistake.
He conducted the WoT in an exemplary manner to our foreign enemy in other countries. This was good.
However, he could not discern between foreign enemy in other countries, and peaceful American citizens here. He equated the two with his actions.
In retrospect, the Patriot Act I and II could have been a fraction of the size they were. In consolidating federal agencies and creating the TSA, he could have asked congress to waiver the constitutional arguments against profiling.
Yeah, it would have been annoying to be a Muslim traveling around the US, or to or from the US by air. Tough. But everyone else should not be annoyed to create the nonsense illusion that security needs to be “fair”. It doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be.
When we were at war in WWII, we did not trust people of German, Japanese, or Italian origins. During the Cold War, we were distrustful of Russians. All legitimate concerns.
The same rule should apply to Muslims. It is not racist, because Islam is not a race. However, for all its sects, there is enough agreement in Islam that threatens the US, *as a religion*, that the US has a right to single out Muslims for scrutiny, *for their religion*.
This is what Bush should have done.
This being said, Bush’s big error turned American all ahead full in the direction of a police state. It will take decades to fully reverse the damage done by this, if it can be done short of the near collapse of the nation forcing it to happen.
Likewise, Bush had an amazing opportunity to fix America’s financial problem, and should have taken that opportunity, but he did not. And this damages us immensely as a nation.
Ideally, our next Republican president is going to have his work cut out for him. Ideally, he would put the US on a path to eliminate half the federal government; significantly reduce the power of the office of the POTUS; and restore so much of what has been forfeited in the past, such as massive federal land takings from the states; the corrosive effects of years of economic pumping; and the insane prohibitions against energy and economic development.
I wouldn’t say he was our WORST president (any field that includes Jimmy Carter takes care of that distinction), but he was certainly in the bottom five. Expensive prescription drug “benefits”, Harriet Myers, an unjustified and unjustifiable war in Iraq, “nation building” in Afganistan which has been a graveyard for every country that has gone in there, no child left behind, Chief Justice Roberts, failure to protect border agents, what more can I say? Whoever thinks he (or his father) was in the same class as Reagan has been drinking some Kool-Aid which I will never have in my refrigerator.