As my Comparative Politics classroom once again became a haven for criticizing President George W. Bush on Tuesday, I  found myself correcting many of the liberal lies and myths that are created about our 43rd President. I prepared myself for the same old Bush criticisms: “Bush is stupid, Bush is evil, Bush deliberately invaded Iraq for oil, Bush is a jerk.” The media and left-wing pop culture have brainwashed the American college student into believing these absurdities. As a proud American, I believe it is only right to defend President Bush. While his decisions and legislation were not always for the best, I have never trusted a politician more. His proud patriotism, sentimental demeanor, and genuine delivery projected American courage, pride, and exceptionalism. He has been a victim of the liberal assault on American values, but I have no doubt that history will have a more favorable view of him.

One of the most common claims about Bush is that he is stupid. This liberal fallacy is fueled by the assertion that because the former president’s oratory skills weren’t typical of a politician, he is lacking brains. Well, looking back on W’s impressive history, this isn’t the case. The man graduated from the prestigious Yale University, and then from Harvard Business School with a 3.6 GPA. In fact, Bush’s four year average at Yale was actually higher than the four year average of supposed intellectual John Kerry, who also graduated from Yale. Furthermore, voters with a college education actually favored Bush to Kerry in 2004, 52% to 46% . The 43rd President is also the only U.S. President to hold a Masters of Business.

However, educational accolades aren’t everything. Bush acquired much of his wisdom through the school of hard knocks. He served in the Texas Air National Guard, created and ran his own business, and advised a Major League Baseball team in its business operations. None of these truths are the characteristics of an idiot, but then again, the truth is rarely a consideration of the Left. Intelligence is often linked with impressive public speaking. Judging by the current mess that smooth politicians like Barack Obama are facilitating, this association is unfortunate. George W. Bush may not have been a great orator, but to me, that just means he wasn’t a liar.

Whenever a liberal college student brings up George Bush, they usually claim that he deliberately lied and manipulated our nation into going to war in Iraq. This is another absurd accusation. Looking deeper, we see that the Iraq War had non-partisan and bi-partisan support. While U.S. action in Iraq was heavily favored by Colin Powell, it was also favored by many prominent Democrats as well. In fact, looking back at the formal United States Senate vote on authorization for intervention in Iraq, we see overwhelming bipartisan support. The vote was 77-23 in favor of the war, and included “yes” votes from Senate Democrats such as Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, and Harry Reid. While the liberals claim that it was Bush who solely brought us into the war, they dodge the simple fact that authorization could have easily been denied! The Democrats held a majority of 51-49 in the Senate, and could have simply blocked the vote. However, history tells us that they stood with President Bush and overwhelmingly supported the war 3-1. If liberals are so anti-War, how come they never share blame for starting the Iraq War?

Another myth about Bush and the Iraq War is the assertion that the President was solely motivated by oil. If that were true, wouldn’t the oil imports from Iraq to America have skyrocketed after the invasion? Examining the facts, we find that this is not the case. In fact, the peak year within the last 15 years for oil business with Iraq was 2001, pre-9/11. That year, we imported almost 300 barrels of oil from Iraq. In 2002 and 2003, our Iraqi oil imports dropped by almost half. They have since fluctuated, but have never yet came close to the 2001 and pre-war statistics. Iraqi production of oil also heavily dropped after the invasion. 2003 saw the production of Iraqi oil also decrease by half its 2001 numbers. If both the production of oil and sale of oil to the United States decreased by almost half after the invasion, how can liberals claim we were spilling blood for oil? If President Bush’s sole intentions were to seek more oil from Iraq, he would have been better off staying out of the war, because the facts tell us that we did far more oil trading with Iraq before the 2003 invasion.

Perhaps the most personal attacks on George W. Bush are the jabs at his character. I have heard our former president called hateful names from left wing demagogues such as Michael Moore, and they are undeserved. The Dalia Lama, one of the world’s most famous faces of peace and friendliness, has a highly positive opinion of Bush. In a CNN Interview, the renowned Buddhist, Dalai Lama, cited the former President as one of the influential figures he admired most. “I love President Bush as a person, as a human being; he is a very nice person.” The word of someone who is considered to be one of the world’s nicest people is good enough for me. It is one thing to criticize the policies of a man, but to question his character is unfair if it can’t be legitimately critiqued. One action of George W. Bush that particularly impressed me is his abandonment of golf during wartime. As an avid golfer, I know that giving up the sport must have been tough. But President Bush felt that playing golf while our nation’s servicemen were donating their lives would not be a desirable trait for a leader, proving that Bush is a man of high character. Unfortunately, our current President does not agree (his rounds tripled Bush’s total over eight years a mere two and a half years into his presidency…and counting).

As the Bush years are still fresh in memory, I’m sure the unfair criticism will continue. However, many areas of left-wing Bush hating are truly destructive to his legacy, and I hope that history will remember him for who he was: A staunch American patriot and man of great moral character. While his policies were not always conservative, his love and devotion to America was unwavering, and his character could not be more sincere. I will always remember his impromptu speech on the rubble of the World Trade Center after 9/11: “I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear ALL of us soon!” That moment will hopefully be captured in American history forever. The fact that it was not produced by a speechwriter or queued by a teleprompter is a testament to George W. Bush’s sincerity. He remains one of my greatest political influences, not particularly because of policy, but because of character. Sometimes that is more important. His devotion to America shows that honesty and values are greater traits than rhetoric and charisma. His presidency radiated honesty and values, our current President relies on the latter two. A charismatic oration is often a smokescreen for deception; a president should not be judged on oratory alone.

Colin Snell | Burlington College | Burlington, New Jersey | @SnellColin