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After four years, George W. Bush has done enough damage
FIRST, DO NO HARM. Physi- cians take that rule seriously. So should presidents.
Unfortunately, President Bush does not. Doing harm has been the primary function of his term as president.
He has harmed the nation's relationships with other countries around the world, reflected in the lack of global cooperation in the Iraq war effort.
He has harmed the economy by saddling it with a $500 billion deficit, in large part due to his own unprecedented discretionary spending.
He has harmed employment with a net loss of some 600,000 jobs.
He has harmed the environment by siding with big business on logging, oil production, and other issues while virtually ignoring worthy projects such as the Chesapeake Bay Program.
He has harmed the English language over, and over, and over, and over again.
He has harmed education by imposing No Child Left Behind on states such as Virginia that already have accountability programs in place, leading to excessive testing rather than leaving time for learning. He then fails to sufficiently fund his own NCLB program's mandates, hamstringing the most needy states' efforts to achieve the program's goals.
He has harmed families with feel-good tax cuts that in the long run only widen the nation's wealth gap. Under his watch, 4 million Americans, many of them children, have joined the nation's poverty rolls. And just when it is needed most, funding for families in need of Section 8 housing assistance vouchers has come up $93 million short, say housing advocates. Administration officials call it a cost-containment effort.
He has harmed efforts to achieve social unity by proposing a marriage amendment to the Constitution, a bow to the Christian right that alienates most Americans and divides his own party. Even Vice President Dick Cheney says that's the states' business. Such proposals make GOP calls for inclusiveness laughable.
The list could go on to include nearly every issue the president has touched.
Some give President Bush high marks for his leadership immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, and for his focus on homeland security in the post-9/11 era. History, however, may prove these to be among his key shortcomings.