Friday, January 16, 2009

He Kept Us Safe

Bush kept us safe when no one thought he could. That will be his greatest legacy, but coming in for a close second will be Bush's faith based legacy. Along with doing more to fight AIDS and disease in Africa than any person on the planet, Bush did much more right here in America:

Access to Recovery (ATR) program: Provided nearly 270,000 recovering addicts with vouchers that enabled them to choose from an expansive network of faith-based and other community organizations (FBCOs) for the clinical and supportive services that best met their individual needs. Thousands of participating FBCOs helped produce results that outperform many national programs on multiple measures.

The President’s Prisoner Re-entry Initiative: Links returning nonviolent offenders with FBCOs that help them find work and avoid relapse into criminal activity. Participants’ rate of re-arrest within one year of release is 15 percent, less than half the national average.

Disadvantaged Students: More than 515,000 children received after-school tutoring annually through Supplemental Educational Service providers, including FBCO partners.

Community Health Services: The President’s Community Health Center Initiative exceeded its goal of creating or expanding 1,200 community-based health centers, many of which are operated by FBCO grantees. The number of low-income individuals receiving medical services from these centers annually has increased by 5.8 million since 2001.

Homelessness: Federal partnerships with FBCOs have been greatly expanded to combat homelessness, contributing to a nearly 30 percent reduction in chronic homelessness (approximately 50,000 individuals) from 2005 to 2007. The estimated number of homeless veterans was cut by nearly 40 percent from 2001 to 2007.

Global Health:In FY 2007 alone, 87 percent of partners in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) were local organizations, mostly faith-based and community groups. The latest results show that PEPFAR now supports life-saving treatment for more than 2 million people worldwide.

Mentoring Children of Prisoners Initiative (MCP). In the interest of these children and their communities, President Bush established MCP in 2003 to work with hundreds of faith-based and community organizations to recruit and train mentors to provide guidance and support to some of our Nation's most vulnerable children. We have exceeded our goal for this program by matching more than 110,000 children with mentors so far, and we continue to make progress.

The Faith-Based And Community Initiative Built A Powerful Network Of Public-Private Partnerships To Address Need

Last year, the Federal government awarded direct, competitive grants to more than 19,000 FBCOs. Of those, more than 3,200 grants, totaling more than $2.2 billion, were awarded to faith-based organizations.

The President’s vision inspired State governments to develop their own FBCI programs. Today, 35 governors (19 Democrats and 16 Republicans) and 70 mayors of both parties have their own Faith-Based and Community Initiative offices and/or liaisons.

Remember this is only work done with faith based initiatives. This doesn't even count the "conservative compassion" he showed in signing legislation (in fact he was a bit too free with that pen, but that's for another day).

Bush is and always has been a good man with a big heart. As conservatives, we disagreed with him plenty, but we always knew he was doing was he thought was right. Being a leader isn't about being popular. It's about making the tough decisions even when they aren't popular. Bush led and I will always be grateful for that. He showed grace and dignity in the face of never before seen hate and scurrilous attacks from the left and the Democratic leadership. He never lowered himself to their level. He was always a gentleman.

So next time some liberal touts the tired lie that Republicans don't care about the poor, bookmark this page and prove to them differently.

Update: In the comments RB linked this excellent article regarding Bush's foreign policy. What I see as especially telling is how Arab govt's changed their policy toward terrorists groups because of Bush and how incredible that was.