Bush's first tax-cut arrived in the middle of a recession, but that was an accident. It was devised in 1999, when the economy was booming, to defend Bush in the primaries against the right-wing and Steve Forbes. During the 2000 campaign, Bush sold it as a way of returning budget surpluses to the people, with not a hint that it had something to do with fighting recession. The recession story was an after-the-fact reinvention. Weee, tax-cuts are the medicine for all ailments.
While conservatives today are obsessive compulsive about deficits and debt under Obama, the two biggest policy changes responsible for the swing into deficit were the big tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, and the war of choice in Iraq -- neither of which was necessary.
While complaining about costs associated with Obamacare, Republicans were just fine the budget-busting was Medicare Part D, whose plan was needlessly expensive, not because that’s the way the public wanted it that way -- it could easily have been simply an addition to traditional Medicare -- but to please the drug lobby and the anti-government ideologues.
While Republicans now act if they are firm constitutionalists, they had no problem with Bush tapping American's phones without court orders; locking up Americans accused of terrorism -- without charges or access to a lawyer, as required by the Constitution.
Of course, the biggest failure of Bush was his preemptive invasion of Iraq, a war that needed no preempting. Much of the destabilizing of today's Middle East is due to this invasion.
That isn't the "left's" definition. That's what happened.