George W. Bush

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George Walker Bush
George w bush.jpeg
43rd President of the United States
From: January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
Vice PresidentDick Cheney
PredecessorBill Clinton
SuccessorBarack Obama
46th Governor of Texas
From: January 17, 1995 – December 21, 2000
PredecessorAnn Richards
SuccessorRick Perry
Information
Party Republican
Spouse(s) Laura Bush
Religion United Methodist

George Walker Bush (born New Haven, Connecticut 1946) was the Governor of Texas (1995-2000) and served as the 43rd President of the United States of America from 2001 to 2009. Campaigning on a theme of "compassionate conservatism" and promising "to restore honor and dignity" to the office of President after the Clinton years,[1] he won the office by a narrow margin in the decisive State of Florida in the 2000 Presidential election. Legal challenges to the certified vote count went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court when liberal Democratic contender Al Gore contested the outcome for weeks until the Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore.

In the 2004 Presidential election Bush won re-election, helped in part by a 300,000 vote victory (5%) in the State of Florida, where the outcome had been so close in 2000.[2] Leftist Democratic candidate John Kerry conceded defeat the day after the election.

Bush's presidency was defined by foreign policy because of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which eventually resulted in the liberation of the countries of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush named two conservatives to the Supreme Court. He reformed K12 education with a major new program, No Child Left Behind, and pushed a series of major tax cuts through Congress. Conservatives cheered. All this happened in his first term, aiding his easy reelection. His performance in dealing with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 were widely ridiculed, though some Republicans argued that local Democrats did an even worse job.

As the Financial Crisis of 2008 smashed into the banking system and the nation plunged into the Recession of 2008, Bush responded by proposing a massive aid program of $700 billion to banks, and loan guarantees amounting to the trillions of dollars. Conservatives were dismayed as he proposed a traditional Keynesian stimulus which Democrats lauded. Above all, he made one of the most dramatic federal interventions in American history by his aid to the financial system. Bruce Bartlett, a Republican economist, says, "Bush clearly is not a Reaganite or "small 'c' conservative."

Conservatives and libertarians have criticized Bush for greatly increased domestic spending, creating a new entitlement program for prescription drugs, failing to veto a single bill, and expanding both the size and scope of government. The man made extremely difficult decisions under extraordinary circumstances. Unlike any president before him, he was subjected to an all out attack by the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. Bush's last year in office was a combination of Democrat Alinsky tactics and abandonment by his own Republican party. Lobbyists and Congress contributed greatly to the collapsing financial markets. Mistakes, questionable interests, Federal Reserve lack of transparency, Liberal Media, Unions, Homeland Security and you understand why the Bush team was to falter, they were in over their heads. Bush is a man with convictions that didn't cower from protecting America and putting America first. [3] George would engineer two government rebate checks, giving back to the people. Average unemployment over eight-years of the Bush Administration was 5.3%. [4] and he can be credited for having the most pro-life policies of any president.

Contents

Early Life

George W. Bush and his family in 1981
George W. Bush was born on July 6, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. [5] He earned a BA in history from Yale University and attended Harvard Business School as well. He later served in the Texas Air National Guard as an F-102 Delta Dagger pilot. Bush grew up around politics, as his father George H. W. Bush had been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, American Ambassador to the United Nations, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) and Vice President of the United States under President Ronald Reagan. In 1988, George W. Bush worked for his father's successful presidential campaign. Afterward Bush purchased the Texas Rangers baseball franchise.

Governor of Texas

Bush declared his candidacy for Governor of Texas in 1994. He defeated incumbent Democrat Governor Ann Richards 53.5 percent to 45.9 percent. Bush advocated and signed the two largest tax cuts to date in Texas history, totaling over $3 billion. [6] He supported and signed legislation emphasizing local control of schools, higher standards, and a revised curriculum. Bush was easily reelected Governor in 1998.

2000 Presidential Campaign

Main Article: United States presidential election, 2000

The Republican nominee for the 2000 Presidential nomination came down to Texas Governor George W. Bush and Arizona Senator John McCain, a maverick Republican and ex-POW. Most social conservatives endorsed Bush. Despite early primary wins in New Hampshire and Michigan for McCain, Bush eventually won after sweeping 9 out of the 13 states on Super Tuesday. McCain withdrew in March after a bitter primary fight. Bush then chose former U.S. Defense Secretary Richard Cheney as his running mate. Vice President Al Gore was the Democratic nominee. Consumer Advocate Ralph Nader, a strong supporter of environmental protection and critic of large corporations entered the race in the green party.

In a historically close race, Gore edged out Bush in the popular vote 48.4 percent to 47.9 percent. However, Bush won the majority of electoral votes, 271 to 266, because of Bush's victory in Florida, winning its 25 electoral votes that both candidates desperately needed. The race in Florida was so close that state law required a recount of the ballots. There were, however, thousands of thrown out ballots that were discredited because the counting machines could not discern them. After the machine recounts still showed Bush ahead, Gore asked for a hand recount of ballots in counties that favored Democrats. On November 26th, Florida officials certified that Bush won the state of Florida by 537 votes. Gore conceded December 13th.

2004 Reelection Campaign

Main Article: United States presidential election, 2004

In President Bush's reelection campaign in 2004, national security, the invasion of Iraq and social issues dominated the campaign. The Democrat nominee was Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Bush won the popular vote, 51% to 48%. With 120 million Americans voting (15 million more then in 2000) Bush received more votes than any other presidential candidate in history. Among the swing states, Kerry took Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Oregon, while Bush took Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. [7]

Republicans also picked up seats in both chambers of Congress.

Presidency (2001-2009)

In foreign and security areas, his terms included the 9-11 terrorist attack, the passage of the PATRIOT Act, the invasion of Afghanistan (2001-present) and Iraq (2003-present), the expansion of NATO to the Russian border, financial aid to fight disease (especially AIDS) in Africa, and improved relations with India. The Iraq was was the focus of intense partisan debate.

The 2002 midterm election saw a GOP gain of seats in the House of Representatives and governorships, However the 2006 elections showed sharp GOP losses across the board, and loss of control of the House for the first time since its capture in 1994. He played a minor role in the 2008 election, which the GOP lost.

In domestic legislation he partnered with Sen. Ted Kennedy to pass the No Child Left Behind education act, and tried--but failed--to pass immigration reform. Early on he secured large-scale tax cuts, which helped the economic recovery in 2002. The boom (and later collapse) in real estate boosted the economy then pulled it down. Liberals criticized his handling of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina relief, and the dismissals of U.S. Attorneys for political reasons. His proposed "Vision for Space Exploration" went nowhere, and he failed to make headway in Social Security reform. Conservatives hailed his appointments of conservatives to the Supreme Court at the time

Administration and Cabinet

Office Name Term
President George W. Bush 2001-2009
Vice President Richard Cheney 2001-2009
Secretary of State Colin Powell 2001-2005
Condoleezza Rice 2005-2009
Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill 2001-2002
John W. Snow 2003-2006
Henry Paulson 2006-2009
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld 2001-2006
Robert Gates 2006-2009
Attorney General John Ashcroft 2001-2005
Alberto Gonzales 2005-2007
Michael Mukasey 2007-2009
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton 2001-2006
Dirk Kempthorne 2006-2009
Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman 2001-2005
Mike Johanns 2005-2007
Ed Schafer 2008-2009
Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans 2001-2005
Carlos Gutierrez 2005-2009
Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao 2001-2009
Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson 2001-2005
Michael Leavitt 2005-2009
Secretary of Education Rod Paige 2001-2005
Margaret Spellings 2005-2009
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Mel Martinez 2001-2003
Alphonso Jackson 2003-2008
Steve Preston 2008-2009
Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta 2001-2006
Mary Peters 2006-2009
Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham 2001-2005
Samuel Bodman 2005-2009
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi 2001-2005
Jim Nicholson 2005-2007
James Peake 2007-2009
Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge 2003-2005
Michael Chertoff 2005-2009
Chief of Staff Andrew Card 2001-2006
Joshua Bolten 2006-2009
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Christine Todd Whitman 2001-2003
Michael Leavitt 2003-2005
Stephen Johnson 2005-2009
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mitch Daniels 2001-2003
Joshua Bolten 2003-2006
Rob Portman 2006-2007
Jim Nussle 2007-2009
Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy John Walters 2001-2009
United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick 2001-2005
Rob Portman 2005-2006
Susan Schwab 2006-2009
CIA Director George Tenet 2001-2004
John E. McLaughlin 2004
Porter J. Goss 2004-2006
Michael Hayden 2006-2009
FBI Director Louis Freeh 2001
Thomas J. Pickard 2001
Robert S. Mueller 2001-2009
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice 2001-2005
Stephen Hadley 2005-2009
White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales 2001-2005
Harriet Miers 2005-2007
Fred Fielding 2007-2009
White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer 2001-2003
Scott McClellan 2003-2006
Tony Snow 2006-2007
Dana Perino 2007-2009

Response to the 9-11 Terrorist Attacks

The September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks resulted in George W. Bush becoming a self-described war time President. On that morning President Bush had traveled to Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida to promote his educational agenda; when 19 Islamic terrorists connected with Al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airplanes. Two of them crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, the third in The Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the fourth in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers of the flight successfully stopped the hijackers from hitting Washington D.C., possibly the White House or Capital. As a result over 3,000 Americans were killed, and over 6,000 injured, the largest terrorist attack in American history. After White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card had whispered in the President's ear that the United States was under attack, President Bush addressed the public in the Booker school's media center, saying a brief four paragraph statement that "Terrorism against our nation will not stand. This will not stand." Which was a formation that President George H. W. Bush used in August 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait. President Bush would later say that "This is my reminder of lives that ended, and a task that does not end. . . . I will not yield; I will not rest; I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people."

President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vice President Dick Cheney and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Hugh Shelton, talk with the press about the previous day's terrorist attacks during a cabinet meeting Sept. 12, 2001. White House photo by Tina Hager.
Although the attacks may have been an attempt from Al-Qaeda to divide the United States, they were unsuccessful. Across the nation, Americans had donated blood and raised money for reconstruction in New York City. Within weeks, Americans had raised over one billion dollars. [8] On September 14th President Bush declared a national emergency. CIA Director George Tenent and the FBI identified the attacks from Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. As Secretary of State Colin Powell begin to build an international coalition with over 90 countries to support the United States global War on Terrorism, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld began to redeploy troops and aircraft's to the Middle East. On September 24th, President Bush issued an executive order freezing all funding of financial assets to individuals and groups suspected of terrorism, and over 80 other nations soon followed. Bush then established the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate federal agencies working to prevent terrorism. The President appointed Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge to the office. In October President Bush signed into law the U.S. Patriot Act, which allowed authorities to obtain a signal nationwide search warrant that could be used anywhere on suspected terrorists. It also made it easier to wiretap terrorists and track their email. The mastermind of the 9/11 attacks—Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been captured.

On October 5th, a new anthrax scare from terrorists began. Anthrax—a deadly bacteria—had been sent in the mail to news organizations in New York City and Washington, D.C. and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office. The FBI investigated the anthrax attacks, although no suspects were identified.

War in Afghanistan

Afghanistan housed and protected al-Qaeda as it planned the 9-11 attacks. It then refused to turn over al-Qaeda leaders. With UN and NATO approval, Bush went to war to overthrow the Taliban. On October 7th, 2001, he ordered bombing of al-Qaeda's camps and the Taliban's military forces in Afghanistan. "We will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, we will not fail, freedom will prevail", President Bush explained. The attack quickly shattered the Taliban's defenses, and by early December the Taliban regime had collapsed. The United States, its allies and the UN then helped Afghanistan create a new government under Hamid Karzai. By March 2002, the Taliban and al-Qaeda were beginning to regroup again in the mountain's of the Pakistan border. President Bush responded by launching Operation Anaconda, where Al-Qaeda troops were defeated. Al-Qaeda was largely destroyed, but the Taliban rebuilt using secure sanctuaries in Pakistan from which it launched terror attacks inside Afghanistan (and inside Pakistan as well)..[9]

As a candidate in 2008 Obama criticized Bush for neglecting the Afghanistan, and tripled the number of American troops from 31,000 when Bush left office to over 100,000 in early 2010

2002 Mid-Term Elections

Democrats wanted the focus of the 2002 mid term elections to be on the economy, which was growing slowly after the September 11th terrorist attacks. However, because Congress voted to authorized military force in Iraq in mid-October, national security was the top issue. Republicans increased their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and took back control of the United States Senate.

2002-2003 build up of the War in Iraq

In his famous January 2002 State of the Union speech, President Bush declared an "Axis of Evil" made up of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, countries that posed a grave threat to the world and were suspected of supporting terrorism. Considering it a more dangerous and urgent threat then North Korea, President Bush began putting pressure on Iraq throughout 2002 for a regime change. Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons against Iran and the Kurds, an ethnic minority in Iraq. Considering that Iraq may had been building Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD's) and was a threat to the United States and its allies, On September 12, 2002 President Bush tried to gain U.N. support for a U.S. led invasion of Iraq and asked for a resolution that Iraq gave up it's Weapons of Mass Destruction. While the U.N. Security Council approved a resolution that demanded Saddam Hussein declare all of it's WMD's, stop supporting terrorism and oppressing his people, Congress authorized the use of military force against Iraq. The United States, Great Britain and about 30 other countries began to prepare for war.

Aftermath of the Invasion

President George W. Bush meets with troops and serves Thanksgiving Dinner at the Bob Hope Dining Facility, Baghdad International Airport, Iraq,, Thursday, November 27, 2003. White House photo by Tina Hager.
On March 23rd, 2003, U.S. led coalition forces began an attack on Iraq. Most of the Iraqi army dissolved and coalition forces quickly took control of the country. However, sectarian violence worsened through bombings and sniper attacks. On Thanksgiving 2003 President Bush and U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice visited troops in Iraq to boost moral. Saddam Hussein was captured in December 2003 while little evidence had shown that he had obtained Weapons of Mass Destruction.

On January 30, 2005 Iraq had it's first general election since the liberation. They voted for a 275-member Iraqi National Assembly which later drafted a constitution. In December Iraq elected a permanent 275-member Council of Representatives. There were low levels of violence during the voting. In a show down with Congressional Democrats after taking control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in the 2006 Congressional Midterm elections, Democrats retreated on their pledge to end the Iraq War early and bring the troops home. Democrats had threatened to withhold funding for the troops unless a date certain for withdrawal was set. After the final vote, 280-142 in the House and 80-14 in the Senate, the anti-War movement was defeated. The deal cut with Democratic leaders in exchange for their acquiescing to fund the troops calls for the President to sign legislation raising the minimum wage. [10] One commentator remarked, "Despite all the talk of standing up to George W. Bush, despite all the bravado about taking control of Congress, despite the so-called mandate to change direction, Democrats caved....They claim that the majority of Americans are with them on the Iraq issue, but...President Bush, at the weakest moment of his presidency, still bested his Democratic rivals." [11]

2007 Troop Surge

President George W. Bush meets with National Security team, from left to right, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006, at Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas. White House photo by Paul Morse

On January 23, 2007 President Bush ordered an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq.

In order to make progress toward this goal, the Iraqi government must stop the sectarian violence in its capital. But the Iraqis are not yet ready to do this on their own. So we're deploying reinforcements of more than 20,000 additional soldiers and Marines to Iraq. The vast majority will go to Baghdad, where they will help Iraqi forces to clear and secure neighborhoods, and serve as advisers embedded in Iraqi Army units. With Iraqis in the lead, our forces will help secure the city by chasing down the terrorists, insurgents, and the roaming death squads. And in Anbar Province, where al Qaeda terrorists have gathered and local forces have begun showing a willingness to fight them, we're sending an additional 4,000 United States Marines, with orders to find the terrorists and clear them out.
[12]

The surge was opposed by a majority of the United States Congress. However, it has resulted in significantly reduced sectarian violence. According to U.S. Central Command General David Petraeus, violence in Iraq by December 2008 was at a 5 year low. [13]

Humanitarian aid

President Bush has worked to stop the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. In the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) $15 billion dollars over five years (2003–2008) was spent on fighting global HIV/AIDS and improving treatment.

Economy

Upon gaining office in 2001, Bush signed into law a $1.35 trillion cut in taxes over 10 years. The plan included the objectives of doubling the child tax credit from $500 to $1,000, reducing the tax penalty on married couples and fully repealing the tax on estates. A United States Senate Finance Committee Report estimated that with all the planned reductions fully phased in, the average family of four making $50,000 would save $1,825 per year.[14]

President George W. Bush stands with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, left, SEC Chairman Chris Cox, right, and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson as he delivers a statement on the economy Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, in the Rose Garden. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian
Since the tax cuts, IRS revenues increased from $1.78 trillion in 2003 to $2.56 trillion in 2007 with a 46.3% increase of individual income tax receipts. Surging $785 billion since the 2003 investment tax cuts, it is the largest four-year revenue increase in U.S. history[15]

During this same time period, spending mandated by Congress has also increased by more than 29% in inflation-adjusted dollars, representing an 11.4% increase in federal spending as a percentage of GDP. This spending has doubled the federal debt, increasing it from 58% to 66% of GDP. Defense spending increased 61%, and non-defense by 23% during the eight years since 2000. The largest non-defense spending increase has been for federally-funded medical expenses, at 54 percent.[16] In total, Bush has increased government expenditures by the largest percentage of any president since Lyndon Johnson.[17]

Bush presided over a period of unreal economic growth that reflected a bubble that burst in 2008. The housing bubble allowed people to cash in the rising value of houses; low interest rates that led to massive borrowing. Money flowed into the U.S. from around the world. The stock market that hit a record high in 2007, then plunged relentlessly downward, losing $8 trillion in value in 2008. Unemployment hit an all time low in March 2007, but started rapidly increasing after January 2008. Bush signed into law a minimum wage increase, one of the platforms for the Democrats in the 2006 Congressional elections, after the House and Senate included Bush's request of provisions for small-business tax breaks.[18][19] Tax policies have been favorable to reducing the Capital Gains Tax, with a subsequent surge in investment.

See Financial Crisis of 2008 and Recession of 2008,

The socialist Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was signed by Bush into law on April 25, 2009 as a rider to the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007, despite conservative opposition [20]. This measure hurt businesses and decreased America's competitiveness in the global marketplace.

Supreme Court Appointments

After the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, President Bush nominated U.S. Court of Appeals Judge John Roberts to fill the vacancy. He was confirmed on September 29, 2005 by a 78-22 vote. To replace the retiring Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito, after his original nomination of Chief White House Council Harriet Miers was withdrawn because of widespread opposition due to lack of experience. After an unsuccessful filibuster attempt from Senate liberals, Alito was confirmed on a 58-42 vote and was sworn in on January 31, 2006. [21]

Involvement in the 2008 Presidential election

In March 2008, Bush endorsed his one-time rival John McCain as the Republican candidate for President of the United States. However, due to the President's declining popularity in polls, McCain distanced himself from Mr. Bush on the campaign trail. Bush had the lowest approval rating (30%) of any president at their time of leaving office since the end of World War II, except Nixon.[22] At the same time, Democratic candidate Barack Obama tried to portray a McCain presidency as four more years of George W. Bush. The President spoke by videolink at the 2008 Republican National Convention, while his wife Laura appeared on stage with McCain's wife Cindy.

President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush pose for their last official holiday portrait, Dec. 7, 2008, in the Blue Room of the White House.

Future Plans

John McCain lost the election to Senator Obama, and President Bush met with the new president-elect to discuss the presidential transition between his administration and Obama's, which he promised would be efficient and without problems. George W. Bush's term ended at noon on January 20, 2009, at which point President-elect Obama was inaugurated. In an interview with ABC's Charles Gibson in December 2008, Bush said his retirement plans included moving back to his home state of Texas and writing a book. He later released his memoir "Decision Points." He also wants to build an institute at the Southern Methodist University to serve as a non-partisan public policy forum, to debate issues and run volunteer projects from.

Family

George W. Bush is the son of George H. W. Bush, who served as vice-president from 1981 to 1989 and as president from 1989 to 1993, and Barbara Bush. President Bush is married to Laura Welch Bush, a former teacher and librarian, and they have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna. John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, Neil Bush and Marvin Bush are his brothers. Dorothy Bush Koch is his only surviving sister, as Pauline Robinson Bush died at age four of leukemia.

Faith

George W. Bush is a member of the United Methodist Church, and most people feel that George W. Bush's faith is sincere and profound. The Faith of George W. Bush, a non-political book by author Stephen Strang, made the New York Times best-sellers list. [23] When asked where he would be without the influence of family friend Billy Graham, George W. Bush said "I wouldn't be president." "It was just a conversation," said the younger Bush about a talk with Graham in the mid-'80s that changed his life. During the pivotal conversation Bush recalled saying, "'You know, Billy, I'm longing for something.' And I know that he sent me a Bible I still have. All I can tell you is that as a result of being inspired by Billy Graham, I started reading the Bible and shortly after, I quit drinking." [24] Bush's faith led him to veto a bill which would have provided for federal funding of immoral embryonic stem cell research.

In an interview with ABC's "Nightline" on 12/8/08, the president also said he probably is not a literalist when reading the Bible although an individual can learn a great deal from it, including the New Testament teaching that God sent his only son.

During his presidential career, George W Bush often consulted God when making important decisions. For example, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, reported that President Bush said that God told him 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan' and 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq' [25] . Asked about creation and evolution, Bush said: "I think you can have both. I think evolution can -- you're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president. But it's, I think that God created the earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution."[26] [27] [28] He added:

I happen to believe that evolution doesn't fully explain the mystery of life.

Polls

When Bush entered office, his popularity rating was near 50%. However, after the September 11 attacks, his popularity rose significantly, reaching an all-time high of 90%.[29] Since, then, though, it declined as some of his policies have become unpopular (largely due to the media's persistently negative -- and biased -- reporting on the Iraq War and misrepresentation of his policies).[30] In 2007, Bush had an approval rating of only 24%. [31] The same poll gave the Democratic controlled Congress an approval rating of only 11%). [32]


Farewell Speech

  • Delivered January 15, 2009 at the White House. His audience in the East Room included family, friends, Cabinet and some selected Americans President Bush had met in his eight years in office.

Fellow citizens: For eight years, it has been my honor to serve as your President. The first decade of this new century has been a period of consequence – a time set apart. Tonight, with a thankful heart, I have asked for a final opportunity to share some thoughts on the journey we have traveled together and the future of our Nation.

President George W. Bush reaches into the audience to shake hands with invited guests and staff members following his farewell address to the nation Thursday evening, Jan. 15, 2009 in the East Room of the White House, where President Bush thanked the American people for their support and trust. White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian
Five days from now, the world will witness the vitality of American democracy. In a tradition dating back to our founding, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people. Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose story reflects the enduring promise of our land. This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole Nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-elect Obama, his wife Michelle, and their two beautiful girls.

Tonight I am filled with gratitude – to Vice President Cheney and members of the Administration; to Laura, who brought joy to this house and love to my life; to our wonderful daughters, Barbara and Jenna; to my parents, whose examples have provided strength for a lifetime. And above all, I thank the American people for the trust you have given me. I thank you for ....

...the prayers that have lifted my spirits. And I thank you for the countless acts of courage, generosity, and grace that I have witnessed these past eight years.

This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house – September 11, 2001. That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor. I remember standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center three days later, surrounded by rescuers who had been working around the clock.

I remember talking to brave souls who charged through smoke-filled corridors at the Pentagon and to husbands and wives whose loved ones became heroes aboard Flight 93. I remember Arlene Howard, who gave me her fallen son’s police shield as a reminder of all that was lost. And I still carry his badge.

As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before Nine-Eleven. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our Nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe.

Over the past seven years, a new Department of Homeland Security has been created. The military, the intelligence community, and the FBI have been transformed. Our Nation is equipped with new tools to monitor the terrorists’ movements, freeze their finances, and break up their plots. And with strong allies at our side, we have taken the fight to the terrorists and those who support them.

Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al Qaeda and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school. Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the United States.

There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions. But there can be little debate about the results. America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. This is a tribute to those who toil day and night to keep us safe – law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.

Our Nation is blessed to have citizens who volunteer to defend us in this time of danger. I have cherished meeting these selfless patriots and their families. America owes you a debt of gratitude. And to all our men and women in uniform listening tonight: There has been no higher honor than serving as your Commander in Chief.

The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God and that liberty and justice light the path to peace.

This is the belief that gave birth to our Nation. And in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens. When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror. When people have hope in the future, they will not cede their lives to violence and extremism.

So around the world, America is promoting human liberty, human rights, and human dignity. We are standing with dissidents and young democracies, providing AIDS medicine to bring dying patients back to life, and sparing mothers and babies from malaria. And this great republic born alone in liberty is leading the world toward a new age when freedom belongs to all nations.

For eight years, we have also strived to expand opportunity and hope here at home. Across our country, students are rising to meet higher standards in public schools. A new Medicare prescription drug benefit is bringing peace of mind to seniors and the disabled. Every taxpayer pays lower income taxes.

The addicted and suffering are finding new hope through faith-based programs. Vulnerable human life is better protected. Funding for our veterans has nearly doubled. America’s air, water, and lands are measurably cleaner. And the Federal bench includes wise new members like Justice Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts.

When challenges to our prosperity emerged, we rose to meet them. Facing the prospect of a financial collapse, we took decisive measures to safeguard our economy. These are very tough times for hardworking families, but the toll would be far worse if we had not acted. All Americans are in this together. And together, with determination and hard work, we will restore our economy to the path of growth. We will show the world once again the resilience of America’s free enterprise system.

Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Yet I have always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made. But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.

The decades ahead will bring more hard choices for our country, and there are some guiding principles that should shape our course.

While our Nation is safer than it was seven years ago, the gravest threat to our people remains another terrorist attack. Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again. America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard.

At the same time, we must continue to engage the world with confidence and clear purpose. In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism. Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led.

As we address these challenges – and others we cannot foresee tonight – America must maintain our moral clarity. I have often spoken to you about good and evil. This has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world, and between the two there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere.

Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This Nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace.

President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” As I leave the house he occupied two centuries ago, I share that optimism. America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead.

I have confidence in the promise of America because I know the character of our people. This is a Nation that inspires immigrants to risk everything for the dream of freedom. This is a Nation where citizens show calm in times of danger and compassion in the face of suffering. We see examples of America’s character all around us. And Laura and I have invited some of them to join us in the White House this evening.

We see America’s character in Dr. Tony Recasner, a principal who opened a new charter school from the ruins of Hurricane Katrina. We see it in Julio Medina, a former inmate who leads a faith-based program to help prisoners returning to society. We see it in Staff Sergeant Aubrey McDade, who charged into an ambush in Iraq and rescued three of his fellow Marines.

We see America’s character in Bill Krissoff, a surgeon from California. His son Nathan, a Marine, gave his life in Iraq. When I met Dr. Krissoff and his family, he delivered some surprising news: He told me he wanted to join the Navy Medical Corps in honor of his son. This good man was 60 years old – 18 years above the age limit.

But his petition for a waiver was granted, and for the past year he has trained in battlefield medicine. Lieutenant Commander Krissoff could not be here tonight, because he will soon deploy to Iraq, where he will help save America’s wounded warriors and uphold the legacy of his fallen son.

In citizens like these, we see the best of our country – resilient and hopeful, caring and strong. These virtues give me an unshakable faith in America. We have faced danger and trial, and there is more ahead. But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great Nation will never tire … never falter … and never fail.

It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your President. There have been good days and tough days. But every day I have been inspired by the greatness of our country and uplifted by the goodness of our people. I have been blessed to represent this Nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other: citizen of the United States of America.

And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God bless this house and our next President. And may God bless you and our wonderful country."

Quotes

  • "Everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear."

Decision Points

Decision Points is a memoir written by Bush and was released on November 9, 2010. Bush also went on a national tour after releasing his book. After two months, the book sold very well, surpassing two million copies sold.

The book is 481 pages long and is broken into 14 chapters, with the first two being about Bush before his presidency, covering events such as when he quit drinking alcohol and was governor of Texas. The remaining twelve are about events during his presidency, such as the War on Terror, the September 11, 2001 attacks, and Hurricane Katrina.

Publications

Further reading

Academic
  • Abramson, Paul R., John H. Aldrich, and David W. Rohde. Change and Continuity in the 2004 and 2006 Elections (2007), 324pp excerpt and text search
  • Allard, Scott W. "The Changing Face of Welfare During the Bush Administration." Publius 2007 37(3): 304-332. Issn: 0048-5950
  • Barone, Michael. The Almanac of American Politics (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010), highly detailed coverage of electoral politics and Congress.
  • Berggren, D. Jason, and Nicol C. Rae. "Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush: Faith, Foreign Policy, and an Evangelical Presidential Style." Presidential Studies Quarterly. 36#4 2006. pp 606+. online edition
  • Campbell, Colin, Bert A. Rockman, and Andrew Rudalevige, eds.. The George W. Bush Legacy Congressional Quarterly Press, 2007, 352pp; 14 essays by scholars excerpts and online search from Amazon.com
  • Congressional Quarterly. CQ Almanac Plus highly detailed annual compilation of events in Congress, White House, Supreme Court, summarizing the weekly "Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report". (annual, 2002-2009)
  • Conlan, Tim and John Dinan. "Federalism, the Bush Administration, and the Transformation of American Conservatism." Publius 2007 37(3): 279-303. Issn: 0048-5950
  • Corrado, Anthony, E. J. Dionne Jr., Kathleen A. Frankovic. The Election of 2000: Reports and Interpretations (2001) online edition
  • Daynes, Byron W. and Glen Sussman. "Comparing the Environmental Policies of Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush." White House Studies 2007 7(2): 163-179. Issn: 1535-4738
  • Desch, Michael C. "Bush and the Generals." Foreign Affairs 2007 86(3): 97-108. Issn: 0015-7120 Fulltext: Ebsco
  • Eckersley, Robyn. "Ambushed: the Kyoto Protocol, the Bush Administration's Climate Policy and the Erosion of Legitimacy." International Politics 2007 44(2-3): 306-324. Issn: 1384-5748
  • Edwards III, George C. and Philip John Davies, eds. New Challenges for the American Presidency New York: Pearson Longman, 2004. 245 pp. articles from Presidential Studies Quarterly
  • Edwards III, George C. and Desmond King, eds. The Polarized Presidency of George W. Bush (2007), 478pp; essays by scholars; excerpt and online search from Amazon.com
  • Fortier, John C. and Norman J. Ornstein, eds. Second-term Blues: How George W. Bush Has Governed (2007), 146pp excerpt and online search from Amazon.com
  • Greenstein, Fred I. ed. The George W. Bush Presidency: An Early Assessment Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003
  • Greenstein, Fred I. “The Contemporary Presidency: The Changing Leadership of George W. Bush A Pre- and Post-9/11 Comparison” in Presidential Studies Quarterly v 32#2 2002 pp 387+. online edition
  • Gregg II, Gary L. and Mark J. Rozell, eds. Considering the Bush Presidency Oxford University Press, 2004. 210 pp. British perspectives
  • Hendrickson, Ryan C., and Kristina Spohr Readman, "From the Baltic to the Black Sea: Bush's NATO Enlargement." White House Studies. (2004) 4#3 pp: 319+. online edition
  • Hilliard, Bryan, Tom Lansford, and Robert P Watson, eds. George W. Bush: Evaluating the President at Midterm SUNY Press 2004
  • Jacobson, Gary C. “The Bush Presidency and the American Electorate” Presidential Studies Quarterly v 33 #4 2003 pp 701+. online edition
  • Jacobson, Gary C. "Referendum: the 2006 Midterm Congressional Elections." Political Science Quarterly 2007 122(1): 1-24. Issn: 0032-3195 Fulltext: Ebsco
  • Milkis, Sidney M. and Jesse H.Rhodes. "George W. Bush, the Party System, and American Federalism." Publius 2007 37(3): 478-503. Issn: 0048-5950
  • Moens, Alexander The Foreign Policy of George W. Bush: Values, Strategy, and Loyalty. Ashgate, 2004. 227 pp.
  • Rabe, Barry. "Environmental Policy and the Bush Era: the Collision Between the Administrative Presidency and State Experimentation." Publius 2007 37(3): 413-431. Issn: 0048-5950
  • Sabato, Larry J. ed. The Sixth Year Itch: The Rise and Fall of the George W. Bush Presidency (2007), experts on the 2006 elections in major states
  • Strozeski, Josh, et al. "From Benign Neglect to Strategic Interest: the Role of Africa in the Foreign Policies of Bush 41 and 43." White House Studies 2007 7(1): 35-51. Issn: 1535-4738
  • Wekkin, Gary D. "George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush: Puzzling Presidencies, or the Puzzle of the Presidency?" White House Studies 2007 7(2): 113-124. Issn: 1535-4738
  • Wong, Kenneth and Gail Sunderman. "Education Accountability as a Presidential Priority: No Child Left Behind and the Bush Presidency." Publius 2007 37(3): 333-350. Issn: 0048-5950
Pro-Bush
  • Barnes, Fred. Rebel-in-Chief: How George W. Bush Is Redefining the Conservative Movement and Transforming America (2006)
  • Draper, Robert. Inside the Bush White House: The Presidency of George W. Bush (2007)
  • Hughes, Karen. George W. Bush: Portrait of a Leader, (2005)
  • Gerson, Michael J. Heroic Conservatism: Why Republicans Need to Embrace America's Ideals (And Why They Deserve to Fail If They Don't) (2007) excerpt and text search
  • Woodward, Bob. Plan of Attack (2003) on Iraq war excerpt and text search
Anti-Bush
  • Bartlett, Bruce. Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (2006), conservative attack by former aide
  • Ferguson, Michaele L. and Lori Jo Marso. W Stands for Women: How the George W. Bush Presidency Shaped a New Politics of Gender (2007)
  • Greenspan, Alan. The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, (2007), memoir by powerful chairman of the Federal Reserve
  • Moore, James. and Wayne Slater. Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential. 2003. online edition
  • Suskind, Ron. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill (2004), complaints of ex Treasury Secretary excerpts and online search from Amazon.com
Bush aides
  • Stephen F. Hayes. Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President (2007) excerpts and online search
  • Mabry, Marcus. Twice as Good: Condoleezza Rice and Her Path to Power (2007)
Primary sources

See Also

References

  1. THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE TEXAS GOVERNOR; Bush Calls on Gore to Denounce Clinton Affair, By Frank Bruni, The New York Times, August 12, 2000.
  2. Florida Election Records, Florida Dept. of State
  3. See www.honorfreedom.com
  4. Scottstanzel.com, Unemployment During President George W. Bush’s Two Terms
  5. http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/biography.html
  6. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/40078/tsl-40078.html
  7. http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/map.html
  8. The American Vision from National Geographic, pg. 1033
  9. Fred Barnes, Rebel-in-Chief: Inside the Bold and Controversial Presidency of George W. Bush (2006); Seth Jones, In the Graveyard of Empires: America's War in Afghanistan (2009)
  10. Congress OKs war bill sans time-line, By S.A. Miller, The Washington Times, May 25, 2007.
  11. Democrats Show True Colors, Tony Phyrillas, New Media journal, May 29, 2007, [Dead link]
  12. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/603653/the_iraq_war_troop_surge_one_year_later.html
  13. http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE4B86G720081209
  14. $1.35 trillion tax cut becomes law, CNN, 21 June 2001
  15. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119189497675953035.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
  16. Big Government Under The Bush Administration, AIER, 16 November 2008
  17. Some think Bush was too liberal, Wes Allison, Tampa Bay Times December 21, 2008 quoting Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University and author of a new paper, "Anatomy of a Divorce: Conservatives versus George W. Bush."
  18. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/20/AR2006122001784.html
  19. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/10/AR2007011001666.html
  20. http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/01/opposing_minimum_wage_hike_is_1.html
  21. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5181091
  22. http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/info-presapp0605-31.html
  23. http://www.christianlifemissions.org/ministries/georgewbush.htm
  24. Billy Graham and the White House [1]
  25. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/oct/07/iraq.usa
  26. http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=6418908
  27. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2008/12/09/bush-says-creation-incompatible-evolution/
  28. http://www.onenewsnow.com/Business/Default.aspx?id=347242
  29. USAT Gallup Poll
  30. Historical Bush Approval Ratings from University of Minnesota [2]
  31. Voters unhappy with Bush and Congress, Reuters, October 17 2007
  32. [3]

External Links

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