First, the pre-9/11 period. This is from the start of his Presidency through 9/10/2001.
Second, the 9/11 period. This is the timeframe between the date of 9/11 and the end of the Afghanistan war, meaning when the Taliban fell from power.
Third, the Iraq period. This period begins when we pulled our troops out of Afghanistan and covers up until the time we realized that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Finally, fourth we have the pre-election period. This is from the time we realized that Iraq was not the threat we had made it out to be, all the way up until present day.
On to the analysis -
Pre-9/11 period: Does anyone remember anything Bush did that was either a) worthwhile, or b) controversial? I dare say that while I'm sure he did "something", I cannot find anyone who can think of anything. To be perfectly fair, I guess he did give out $60 billion in tax refunds to families, which sounds nice, but it will be eclipsed by spending later on so why even mention it. I only bring this time period up because it is worth looking at in comparison to the Pre-Election time period.
9/11 period: During this period of his time in office, I have to admit Bush did a fine job. We found out who was to blame for the attacks and we went after them. We ousted the Taliban and we put a serious dent in Al Qaeda and Bin Laden's quality of life. Bravo! However, is this something we should really give Bush much credit for? From where I sit, the moment the first plane hit the first tower of the World Trade Center, the next year was a script that any President had no choice but to follow. I can't think of a single President, past, present or future, that wouldn't have done exactly the same thing. Letting it go unpunished was never going to happen, and to get at Al Qaeda we had to go through the Taliban. Again, not saying he did a bad job, just saying that the response he followed was pretty much a foregone conclusion after the terrorists checked in at the airport that day. What he did should not have required much thought. All you needed to do was just ask about 80% of all Americans what we should do and you would have gotten the same answer.
The Iraq period: This is where things start breaking down. Bush decided that finishing Al Qaeda off was less important than attacking Iraq. He pulled out of Afghanistan, leaving a void of leadership, which the warlords were quick to take advantage of. The new government only maintains control of the capital city, and even there they have to worry about terrorists and the Taliban seeking to re-exert their power. Iraq itself was a mess. We pissed off the world in order to save ourselves from a "grave and gathering threat" that turned out to be about as threatening as anyone would expect a third world nation to be. We lowered our standing in the eyes of the world, we raised the ire of many Iraqi's and up-and-coming terrorists, and we gained nothing by it.
The Pre-Election period: Once we found no WMD's in Iraq, we found out that Bush really wanted to liberate the Iraqi people, and that WMD's were only a secondary goal. We also suddenly found out that Bush had a passion for helping out the poor immigrant workers with a new (out of nowhere) guest worker program. Bush's conscience suddenly got the better of him and he decided that the institution of marriage was breaking down and a constitutional amendment was crucial. We've also learned that Bush feels that Homeland Security should take a backseat to making it easy for Mexicans coming into the country, so long as they promise to only stay 3 days and stay near the border. And apparently Bush now thinks that his tax cuts need to become permanent, where as he didn't seem to think that was the case when he had them implemented. And my goodness, where would the US be if we don't make it to the Moon and Mars in the next few years! Let us not forget that we now have troops pouring back into Afghanistan again to hunt Bin Laden to ground, now that he is finally known to be a threat to the United States.
These are just examples of the heart-felt and driving topics that define the President, but which only now has he decided to make known to us. I think that it is really special of him to make sure that we know what he really finds to be important so close to election time. If I didn't know all of these things about him, through his previous actions, decisions, policies, speeches and etc. until the last four months, then I might not have known who to vote for in November. All I can do now is wonder how I could have missed all of this during the first 3 years of his time in office. I guess I really don't watch enough news if I didn't know how passionate he was about all of this until just now. It's just funny how he was in office for most of an (uneventful) year before 9/11 but I never heard about any of this...
To sum up these four periods of time...
Pre 9/11 Period : ???
9/11 Period : Not requiring any thought
Iraq Period : No evidence...of any thought
Pre-Election Period : Bush suddenly cares about the Iraqi people, Guest Workers, the institution of marriage, Mexicans who only want to be here for 3 days, Taxpayers, Star Trek fans, and bringing Bin Laden to justice. I wonder who we will find out that Bush has always cared deeply for next...