Thought this might interest anyone who has strong views about Bush... The President? Go Figure, Editor's Letter by Graydon Carter Vanity Fair, December 2003 As we near the three-quarter mark in the current president's eventful run, it's probably as good a time as any to assess his achievements to date. There's lots of ground to cover here, so let's do it scorecard-style. AMBITIOUS WARRIOR * 2-Number of nations George W. Bush has attacked and taken over since coming into office. * 130-Approximate number of countries (out of a total of 191 recognized by the United Nations) with a U.S. military presence. * 10 million-Estimated number of people worldwide who took to the streets in opposition to the invasion of Iraq, setting an all-time record for simultaneous protest. * $100 billion-Estimated cost of the war in Iraq to U.S. citizens by the end of the year. * $13 billion-Amount other countries have committed toward rebuilding Iraq (much of it in loans) as of October 24. * 104-Number of American combat deaths in Iraq between May 2003 (when Bush landed on an aircraft carrier and declared an end to the open conflict) and the middle of October. * 0-Number of American combat deaths in Germany following the Nazi surrender in May 1945. * 0-Number of coffins of dead soldiers returning home that the Bush administration has allowed to be photographed-presumably to keep the spotlight off fatalities in Iraq. * 53-Percentage of Americans who doubt that the Iraq war was worth the cost. FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE WARRIOR * $28 billion-Amount of proposed cuts to veterans' benefits in the congressional Republicans' budget resolution for fiscal year 2004. (In the end they cut only $6 billion.) * $6,000-Amount of proposed increase-opposed by Bush in benefits to families of soldiers who die in combat. (Thanks to White House pressure, the increase did not pass Congress.) * 2 -Years that veterans in some parts of the country have to wait for a doctor's appointment; this with a proposed new $250 enrollment fee in their health plan, and increased prescription drug costs. * 7-Number of hospitals Bush's Veterans Administration announced it was closing one day before the president addressed a group of veterans in St. Louis. MONEY MANAGER * $127 billion-Amount of U.S. budget surplus in fiscal year 2001, the year Bush became president. * $374 billion-Amount of U.S. budget deficit in fiscal year 2003. * # 1-This year's deficit will be the biggest in U.S. history. * $290 billion-Amount of the second largest U.S. budget deficit (1992, the last full year of the first Bush administration). * $6.84 quadrillion (yes, quadrillion)-Current national debt. * $9.3 quadrillion-Estimated national debt by 2008. * $1.58 billion-Amount on average the national debt increases each day. * $23,396-Amount of each U.S. citizen's share of the national debt as of October 21, 2003. * # 1-Record for most bankruptcies filed in a single year (1.57 million) set in 2002. * 440,257-Number of bankruptcies filed during the second quarter of 2003, more than in any other quarter in history. * 3-Number of consecutive quarters with an increase in personal-bankruptcy filings. * # 1-Set record for biggest two-year point drop in the history of the stock market during the first half of a presidential term. * $200 billion-Approximate aggregate amount of state budget gaps in the past three years, the highest figure since WW 11. * # 1-Set record, in 2003, for most residential real-estate foreclosures in a one-quarter period. * 1.6-Percentage increase in economic growth since Bush took office, the slowest rate of increase over an equivalent period for any administration in 50 years. SHY, RETIRING TYPE, NOT ONE TO TOOT HIS OWN HORN * 9-Number of solo press conferences Bush has held since the beginning of his term. (His father had managed 61 at this point in his administration, and Bill Clinton 33.) * 1-Number of executive orders signed by Bush permitting him to single-handedly suppress the release of his presidential papers and those of his three predecessors. HAS LOTS OF FRIENDS * $11.5 million-Amount of hard money Bush raised through the "Pioneer" program, the controversial fund-raising process created for the 2000 campaign. (Participants pledged to raise at least $100,000 by bundling together checks of up to $1,000 from friends and family. Pioneers were assigned numbers which were included on all checks to enable the campaign to keep track of who raised how much.) * $113 million-Amount of total hard money the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign received, a record. * $18.5 million-Amount raised through the Pioneer program so far this year. * $20 million-Amount raised through the new "Ranger" program so far this year. (Participants pledge to raise at least $200,000.) * 212 Total number of Pioneers identified by the Bush 2000 campaign. * 524 - Total number of Pioneers later revealed through court documents. * 61-Number of Pioneers subsequently named to government posts. * 19-Number of Pioneers subsequently appointed as U.S. ambassadors. * 2-Number of Pioneers subsequently appointed to the Cabinet. * $175 million-Approximate amount of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign's pre-convention budget. $5.3 million-Amount Bush raised this past September 30 toward his re-election campaign, breaking the one-day record he himself set. THIS LAND IS MY LAND * 58 million-Number of acres of public lands Bush has opened to road building, logging, and drilling. * 200-Number of public health and environmental laws Bush has worked to downgrade or weaken since taking office. * # 1-Rank of U.S. worldwide in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. MORE LIKE THE FRENCH THAN HE WOULD CARE TO ADMIT * 28-Number of vacation days Bush took in August this year, the second-longest vacation of any president in U.S. history. (Record holder: Richard M. Nixon.) * 13-Number of vacation days the average American receives each year. LOVES TO TRAVEL (BUT NOT WITHOUT A PURPOSE) * 65-Approximate number of fund-raisers attended in 2002. * 0-Number of trips taken to Afghanistan before waging war against that country. * 0-Number of trips to Iraq before waging war against that country. * 0-Number of funerals or memorials Bush has attended for soldiers killed in Iraq. TOUGH ON CRIME * # 1-First president to execute a federal prisoner in the last 40 years. * 8-Number of days after that first execution that a second federal prisoner was executed. * # 1-As governor of Texas, executed more prisoners (152) than any governor in modern U.S. history. EMPLOYMENT RECORD * 2.4 million-Number of Americans who lost their jobs during first two and a half years of the Bush administration. * 9 million-Number of workers unemployed as of September 2003. * # 1 -The administration is well on its way to being the first since Herbert Hoover's to preside over an overall loss of jobs during its complete term in office. For Bush to avoid this fate, the economy would have to create jobs over the next 13 months at a rate unprecedented outside of World War 11. CHAMPION OF WOMEN'S RIGHTS * 0-Number of Bush Court of Appeals nominees who have endorsed the legal foundation of Roe v. Wade. HELPING THE ADVANTAGED * # 1-Has assembled the wealthiest Cabinet in U.S. history. * $10.9 million-Average wealth of the members of Bush's original 16-person Cabinet. * 75-Percentage of Americans unaffected by Bush's 2003 cuts in the capital-gains and dividends taxes. * $42,000-Average savings members of Bush's Cabinet are expected to receive this year as a result of cuts in capital-gains and dividends taxes. * $42,228-Median household income in the U.S. in 2001. * $116,000-Amount Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to save each year in taxes. * 9-Number of members of Bush's Defense Policy Board who also sit on the corporate board of, or advise, at least one defense contractor. ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU CAN'T HELP EVERYONE * 43.6 million-Number of Americans without health insurance as of 2002. * $300 million-Amount cut in December 2002 from the federal program that provides subsidies to poor families so they can heat their homes during the winter. RELATIONSHIPS (HE'S NO PUSHOVER) * 35-Number of countries to which U.S. has suspended military assistance after they failed to sign agreements giving Americans immunity from prosecution before the International Criminal Court. * # 1-First American president to ignore the Geneva Convention on warfare (by refusing to allow inspectors access to US. held prisoners of war). ENDORSEMENTS * 90-Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on September 26, 2001. * 67-Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on September 26, 2002. * 54-Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on September 30, 2003. * 50-Percentage of Americans who approved of the way Bush was handling his job as president on October 15, 2003.