George H. W. Bush
|George H.W. Bush|
|41st President of the United States|
From: January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
|Vice President||Dan Quayle|
|43rd Vice President of the United States|
From: January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
|Former Director of Central Intelligence|
From: January 30, 1976 – January 20, 1977
|Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations|
From: March 1, 1971 – January 18, 1973
|Former U.S. Representative from Texas's 7th District|
From: January 3, 1967 – January 3, 1971
George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924 in Milton, Massachusetts) is a World War II veteran and war hero who served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States from 1981 to 1989 and the 41st President of the United States, serving January 20, 1989 - January 20, 1993 after defeating liberal Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis by a landslide.
A moderate Republican who carried on most of the policies of the Reagan Administration, Bush's presidency presided over two major events, victory in the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union, and in the Persian Gulf War in 1991 against Saddam Hussein. His popularity soared after these foreign policy triumphs, but had little interest in domestic policies and troubled relations with the Democratic controlled Congress. He was defeated for reelection in 1992 by Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton.
During most of his public career, George Bush served other presidents loyally in a number of appointed positions. Not until 1988, after eight years as vice president under Ronald Reagan, did Bush step into the limelight as the Republican nominee for president. Even when his son George W. Bush was president (2001-2009), he avoided the spotlight.
George Bush, scion of an old New England Yankee family, was born in Milton, Massachusetts to Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker, on June 12, 1924. His father was a wealthy investment banker and later a partner in the Wall Street firm of Brown Brothers, Harriman and Company. Prescott Bush was a powerful two-term Republican senator from Connecticut from 1952 to 1963.
Bush's maternal grandfather, for whom he was named, was George Herbert Walker, a wealthy businessman and important figure in American golf history.
With his sister and three brothers, Bush was raised in Greenwich, Connecticut. George Bush attended Greenwich Country Day School before entering Phillips Academy from 1936 to 1942 in Andover, Massachusetts. At Andover, he played Varsity baseball, was captain of the basketball and soccer teams, and president of the senior class.
Military careerYale University, but the United States had entered World War II, and he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve on his 18th birthday instead. After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve at Corpus Christi at 18 years old, which made him the youngest naval aviator to that date.
Serving in the Pacific theater, he flew 58 combat missions. On one mission over the Pacific, as a torpedo bomber pilot his aircraft was hit by Japanese antiaircraft fire and his engine caught on fire. Despite the fact that his plane was on fire, he completed his attack and released the bombs over his target, scoring several damaging hits. With his engine on fire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft.
While Bush waited four hours in his inflated raft, several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine USS Finback. For this action Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross for bravery in action. During the month he remained on the USS Finback, Bush participated in the rescue of other pilots.
While at Yale, he joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and was elected president. He also captained the Yale baseball team. A left-handed first baseman, Bush played in the first College World Series. As a senior he was, like his son George W. Bush in 1968 and his father Prescott S. Bush in 1917, inducted into the Skull and Bones secret society in 1948, helping him to build friendships and political support.
He married Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945. George and Barbara Bush have six children: the 43rd US President, George W., Pauline Robinson ("Robin") (1949–1953, died of leukemia), Jeb Bush, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy Walker Kock.
In 1964, Bush ventured into conventional politics by running against Texas' Democrat Senator Ralph Yarborough. However, he lost in the 1964 Democratic landslide. Bush did not give up on elective politics, and was elected in 1966 and 1968 to the House of Representatives from the 7th District of Texas.
After the 1970 election loss, Bush was nominated and confirmed to the position of United States Ambassador to the United Nations, at which he served from 1971 to 1973.
After President Richard Nixon was re-elected President in 1972, he asked Bush to become Chairman of the Republican National Committee. After Nixon's resignation in 1974, Bush was considered for appointment as the replacement Vice President, but new President Gerald Ford chose Nelson Rockefeller instead. Ford appointed Bush to be Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China. (Since the United States at the time maintained official relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan and not the PRC, the Liaison Office did not have the official status of an embassy and Bush did not hold the position of "ambassador" even though he unofficially acted as one.)
In 1975, Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of Central Intelligence. The CIA had been rocked by a serious of revelations about illegal and unauthorized activities, and Bush helped to restore the agency's morale and integrity. In 1999, the CIA headquarters facility in Langley, Virginia was renamed the George Bush Center for Intelligence.
After Democrat Jimmy Carter took the presidency in 1977, Bush became Chairman of the First International Bank in Houston. He also became a board member of the Committee on the Present Danger.
1980 Presidential campaign
Main Article: United States presidential election, 1980
In the 1980 presidential election, Bush ran for the office, stressing his wide range of government experience. In the contest for the Republican Party nomination, despite Bush's establishment backing the front-runner was Ronald Reagan, the former Governor of California, who was now running for President for the second time after narrowing losing the Republican nomination to Gerald Ford in 1976. The Bush campaign team coined the term "voodoo economics" to describe the supply-side economic theory that Reagan supported, but later he said he became "converted" and supported the policies as Vice President.
Bush won the Iowa caucus to start the primary season. However, Reagan came back to decisively win the following New Hampshire primary. With a growing popularity among the Republican voting base, Reagan won most of the remaining primaries and the nomination.After some preliminary discussion of choosing former President Gerald Ford as his running mate, the original "dream" ticket, Reagan selected Bush as his Vice President, placing him on the winning Republican Presidential ticket of 1980 when current President Jimmy Carter was handily defeated.
As Vice President, Bush had influence on Reagan's staffing and was given many foreign affairs responsibilities. Bush was kept busy on overseas diplomatic trips; he attended so many state funerals that he famously quipped, "I'm George Bush. You die, I fly." Vice President Bush headed a task force over illegal drug trade and attended many high level policy meeting in the White House, including the national security council. Bush was seen as being a very loyal Vice President who supported his commander-in-chief even though he had come from a more moderate background. When President Reagan was shot and seriously wounded by John Hinckley, Jr. in March 1981, Vice President Bush performed the duties of President until he recovered. With a staff of 68 people Bush kept informed on international issues and maintained political friendships, thus preparing him for a 1988 presidential campaign.
1988 Presidential campaign
Main Article: United States presidential election, 1988
In 1988, after seven years as Vice President, Bush ran for President. Though considered the early front-runner for the nomination, Bush came in third in the Iowa caucus, beaten by winner U.S. Senator Bob Dole and runner-up televangelist Pat Robertson. Reagan himself remained neutral in the contest, choosing not to support any individual candidate. Bush was able to rebound to win the New Hampshire primary, much as Reagan had done against him 8 years earlier. Once the multiple-state primaries such as Super Tuesday began, Bush's organizational strength and fundraising lead were impossible for the other candidates to match, and the nomination was his.
Leading up to the 1988 Republican National Convention, there was much speculation as to Bush's choice of running mate. Bush chose little-known U.S. Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana. On the eve of the convention, Bush trailed Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis, then Massachusetts governor, by double digits in many polls. He was aided during the convention by Reagan's speech, which eloquently passed the baton to Bush as the next leader of America and his own man. Bush had been dogged by the "wimp" moniker by the press and Reagan's speech was part of the process to remove that. When it came his turn to speak at the convention, Bush, often criticized for his lack of eloquence compared to Reagan, surprised many by giving possibly the best speech of his public career, widely known as the "Thousand points of light" speech for his use of that phrase to describe his vision of American community. Bush's acceptance speech and a generally well-managed Convention catapulted him ahead of Dukakis in the polls, and he held the lead for the rest of the race. Bush's acceptance speech at the convention included the pledge, "Read my lips: no new taxes."
In the 1988 Presidential election the Bush-Quayle ticket beat Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen soundly in the Electoral College, by 426 to 111 (Lloyd Bentsen received one vote). In the nationwide popular vote, Bush took 53.4% of the ballots cast while Dukakis gained 45.6%.
|President||George H. W. Bush||1989-1993|
|Vice President||Dan Quayle||1989-1993|
|Secretary of State||James Baker||1989-1992|
|Secretary of Treasury||Nicholas Brady||1989-1993|
|Secretary of Defense||Richard Cheney||1989-1993|
|Attorney General||Dick Thornburgh||1989-1991|
|Secretary of Interior||Manuel Lujan||1989-1993|
|Secretary of Agriculture||Clayton Yeutter||1989-1993|
|Secretary of Commerce||Robert Mosbacher||1989-1992|
|Secretary of Labor||Elizabeth Dole||1989-1990|
|Secretary of Health and Human Services||Louis Sullivan||1989-1993|
|Secretary of Education||Lauro Cavazos||1989-1990|
|Secretary of Housing and Urban Development||Jack Kemp||1989-1993|
|Secretary of Transportation||Samuel Skinner||1989-1992|
|Secretary of Energy||James Watkins||1989–1993|
|Secretary of Veterans Affairs||Ed Derwinski||1989-1993|
With a large federal deficit, Democrats in Congress believed in raising taxes and Republicans believed in reducing federal domestic spending. President Bush and Congressional Democrats reached a compromise that would both have spending cuts and increased taxes, which would reduce the deficit $500 billion over five years as part of a 1990 budget agreement. In 1991 the U.S. entered into a mild recession. Unemployment was at 7.8%, although inflation and interest rates were at its lowest in years. The recession lasted for about six months, although Democrats made it an issue for two years.
On July 26, 1990, President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which stated that businesses can not discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability. This includes job hiring, job training, worker's compensation and other terms. Bush also signed the Clean Air Act of 1990, environmental legislation that is aimed at reducing smog and air pollution.
President Bush appointed two Justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. Bush nominated Circuit Judge David Souter as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on July 25, 1990; he was sworn in in October after being confirmed by a 90-9 vote in the Senate. Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy opposed him, saying he was too conservative, although on the court he usually voted with liberals. On July 1, 1991, President Bush announced Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court to replace Thurgood Marshall. He was confirmed by a much more narrow 52-48.
Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency from its first days. In his January 20, 1989 Inaugural Address upon taking the Presidency, Bush said:
- "I come before you and assume the Presidency at a moment rich with promise. We live in a peaceful, prosperous time, but we can make it better. For a new breeze is blowing, and a world refreshed by freedom seems reborn; for in man's heart, if not in fact, the day of the dictator is over. The totalitarian era is passing, its old ideas blown away like leaves from an ancient, lifeless tree. A new breeze is blowing, and a nation refreshed by freedom stands ready to push on. There is new ground to be broken, and new action to be taken."
New World Order
Bush's Presidency was extraordinarily eventful from a foreign policy standpoint. Over the course of four years the Cold War ended, Germany reunified, the Soviet Union collapsed, American troops intervened in Panama to remove a criminal dictator and in Somalia to save people from starvation, and the United States led a coalition victory in the Persian Gulf War in Iraq.
He differed from Reagan in some minor ways. Most important, Bush upgraded the influence of the National Security Council and made its head Brent Scowcroft his most trusted advisor on international relations. Reagan had relegated the National Security Advisor to a more passive role. Second he brought in a new team of top foreign policy officials, headed by his Secretary of State and long-time friend James Baker. (Baker had been Reagan's top aide in domestic affairs), Third, he concentrated on how to slowly ease Russia out of its dominant position in Eastern Europe without causing a violent backlash in Russia, thus allowing the peaceful takeover of East Germany by West Germany. Likewise Bush refused to proclaim "victory" in the Cold War and tried to keep Mikhail Gorbachev in power as long as possible despite his fading popularity in Moscow. When the serio-comic Boris Yeltsin replaced Gorbachev in late 1991, Bush humored him and helped him stay in power as well.
End of Cold War
With the help of Secretary of State James Baker, Bush used his strength in foreign policy and helped steer the world through a period of historic change. In 1989 the world watched in amazement as Germans tore down the Berlin Wall, within a year West Germany and East Germany were reunited. Through out the winter of 1989 communist governments in Eastern Europe crumbled. Democratic governments were created in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria. As the Soviet Union was unraveling, President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev declared a U.S.-Soviet strategic partnership at the summit of July 1991, decisively marking the end of the Cold War with the Soviet breakdown that had begun under Ronald Reagan. In December 1991, Gorbachev announced the end of the Soviet Union. President Bush declared that U.S.-Soviet cooperation during the Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991 had laid the groundwork for a partnership in resolving bilateral and world problems.
Crisis in China
Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and communist governments, China's communist leaders were determined to stay in power. Although the country had relaxed controls of its economy, it continued to repress its citizens' political speech. In May 1989, Chinese students and workers held demonstrations for democracy. In June, government tanks crushed their protests in Tienanmen Square in Beijing, the country's capital. Many people were killed and hundreds of activists were arrested. Many were later sentenced to life.
These events shocked the world. The United States and European countries halted arms sells with China and reduced their diplomatic contacts. President Bush resisted calls from congressional leaders for harsher sanctions, instead believing that trade and diplomacy would moderate China's behavior.
Invasion of Panama
As President, Bush continued Reagan's war on drugs. In 1989 he ordered 24,000 United States troops into Panama to capture one time anti-communist ally General Manuel Noriega, the dictator of Panama, and return him to the United States to face drug charges after Noriega threatened American servicemen. U.S. troops then helped Panamanians hold elections and organize a new government. In 1992, an American court sentenced Noriega to serve 40 years in prison in the U.S., where he is now.
Persian Gulf WarGulf War, on September 11, 1990 President Bush addressing the United Nations stated: Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective -- a New World Order -- can emerge: a new era thus becoming the first President of the United States of America to openly state and work toward global governance.
Bush is best known for leading the United Nations coalition in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. In 1990, led by Saddam Hussein, Iraq invaded its oil-rich neighbor to the south, Kuwait. The broad coalition sought the limited objective of removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait and ensure that Iraq did not invade Saudi Arabia. Bush summed up his and the entire free world's position succinctly when he said, "This aggression will not stand," and "this is not a war for oil. This is war against aggression."
Along with troops from the United States, Canadian, Europe, and Arab Nations, President Bush launched "operation desert storm" in which dozens of cruise missiles and laser guided bombs fell on Iraq, destroying its air defenses, bridges, artillery, and other military targets. Then the coalition launched a massive ground attack, were fewer then 300 coalition forces were killed with the war lasting just 100 hours. President Bush achieved his stated objectives of liberating Kuwait and forcing Iraqi withdrawal. President Bush's popularity rating in America soared during and immediately after the success of the military operations and American troops returned home to cheering crowds.
Bush's government, along with the Progressive-Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, spearheaded the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Bill Clinton signed in 1993.
George Bush resisted efforts by American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) and other organizations to secure American loan guarantees to assist Israel in the construction of new settlements in territories Israel occupied after the 1967 Six Day War. Bush's larger goal was to undermine the conservative Likud government and replace it with a leftist Labor coalition led by Yitzhak Rabin. Having secured the election of an Israel government more to its liking, Bush gave his support to a new loan guarantee package.
Conflict in Somalia
On December 4, 1992 President Bush ordered 28,000 U.S. troops to the east African, war-torn nation Somalia, where rival warlords were preventing the distribution of humanitarian aid to its citizens. However, the mission lasted 15 months from having U.S. troops embroiled in Somalia's political conflict. In 1993, the new President Bill Clinton was anxious to bring all troops home. He did so on March 25, 1994, and as a result fighting in Somalia continued into the 21st century.
1992 Presidential Campaign
Main Article: United States presidential election, 1992
During the 1980s, as President Reagan lead efforts to enable the Soviet Union to collapsed defense spending was increased, which later lead to the end of the Soviet empire as the Soviets could not compete with U.S. military ingenuity. However, in addition to this increase of spending to protect the United States, the Democrat-controlled Congress increased spending on social welfare programs. The resulting increase in the federal deficit helped lead to an economic recession which dogged most of Bush's term in office and was a contributing factor to his defeat in the 1992 Presidential election.
Several other factors were key in his defeat, including siding with Congressional Democrats in 1990 to raise taxes despite his famous "Read my lips: No new taxes" pledge not to institute any new taxes. In doing so, Bush alienated many members of his conservative and libertarian base, losing their support for his re-election. The issue of foreign policy had faded into the background after the collapse of the USSR, courtesy of Ronald Reagan, which rendered it unimportant to voters in 1992. The failure to remove Saddam after Desert Storm later contributed to the perception that it was a failure, after the initially impression of success. While many believe Ross Perot's 1992 candidacy cost Bush re-election, when looking at Ross Perot's pro-homosexual pro-abortion and protectionist stances, combined with Slick Willie's smooth talk and exit poll analysis of Perot's vote, it is clear that President Bush still would have lost without Perot in the race. Bill Clinton was able to capitalize on a Democrat Congress induced poor economy by telling the American public that Bush's tax hike raised taxes on the middle class, which shows 1992 to be a testament as to why Republicans must stick to economically conservative values. Bush's unpopular stance on life also cost him many votes with moderates, along with Pat Buchanan's famous "Culture War speech" which railed against baby-murder, homosexual privilege, and Bill Clinton's draft dodging.
After the election, with the outbreak of war in Somalia, President Bush, a war hero, unlike Bill Clinton committed troops to Operation Restore Hope, and as the American public appreciated what they had, gave him a send off approval rating of 56%.
Since leaving office, Bush has largely retired from public life. The Bushes live in Houston and their summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He holds his own fishing tournament in Islamorada, an island in the Florida Keys.
In April 1993, the Iraqi Intelligence Service attempted to assassinate former President Bush via car bomb during a visit to Kuwait. However, Kuwaiti security foiled the car bomb plot. On June 26, 1993, the U.S. launched a missile attack targeting Baghdad intelligence headquarters in retaliation for the attempted attack against Bush.
The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on the southwest corner of the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.
George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas was renamed after the former president in 1997. The tenth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier is named the USS George H. W. Bush and was launched in 2009.
In 2001, he became the first president since John Adams to be father of another president when his son George W. Bush, previously Governor of Texas, took office. During his term of office, George H. W. Bush was simply known as President George Bush, since his son had never held elective office and was not especially well-known to the public. He is now commonly referred to with his initials as "George H.W. Bush" as well as by various nicknames and titles, including "Bush the Elder," "the first President Bush," "Bush 41," and simply "41", in order to avoid confusion between his presidency and that of his son. Although the names of the two men are similar, they are not identical—George W. Bush lacks his father's first middle name Herbert—so they are not known as "senior" and "junior."
On June 12, 2004, he went skydiving in honor of his 80th birthday. It was his third parachute jump since World War II. He also made a jump on June 9, 1999, before his 75th birthday, and told reporters then he had also parachuted in Arizona two years earlier. The day before his 80th birthday jump, he and his son George both took part in eulogizing his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, at the latter's state funeral.
On November 22, 2004, New York Republican Governor George Pataki named Bush and the other living former presidents (Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton) as honorary members of the board rebuilding the World Trade Center.
On January 3, 2005, Bush and Bill Clinton were named by the current President Bush to lead a nationwide campaign to help the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Bush and Clinton both appeared on the Super Bowl XXXIX pre-game show on FOX in support of their bipartisan effort to raise money for relief of the disaster through the USA Freedom Corps, an action which Bush described as "transcending politics." Thirteen days later, they both traveled to the affected areas to see how the relief efforts are going.
In August 31, 2005, following the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, Bush again teamed with Clinton to coordinate private relief donations. Reports were common that Bush and Clinton had developed a friendship by now, despite the latter having defeated the former in the 1992 election. (Such friendships were not unknown, as Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter had developed one despite a similar history.) When Gerald R. Ford died in December, 2006 George Bush became the oldest surviving President.
Upon his return from the war, George Bush married Barbara Pierce. Their marriage later produced six children: George Walker Bush, Pauline Robinson Bush, John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (who became governor of Florida), Neil Mallon Bush, Marvin Bush, and Dorothy Bush Koch.
- Barilleaux, Ryan J., and Mark J. Rozell. Power and Prudence: The Presidency of George H.W. Bush (2004) excerpt and text search
- Beschloss, Michael R., and Strobe Talbott. At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War (1993),
- Bose, Meena, and Rosanna Perotti, eds. From Cold War to New World Order: The Foreign Policy of George H.W. Bush. (2002), 577 pp. essays by scholars excerpt and text search
- Brands, H.W. "George Bush and the Gulf War of 1991." Presidential Studies Quarterly 34#1 (2004) pp. 113+. online edition
- Buckley, Kevin. Panama: The Whole Story (1991) excerpt and text search
- Campbell, Colin, and Bert A. Rockman, eds. The Bush Presidency: First Appraisals. (1991) 308pp online edition
- Duffy, Michael, and Dan Goodgame. Marching in Place: The Status-Quo Presidency of George Bush (1992)
- Congressional Quarterly. Congress and the Nation, vol. 8, 1989-1992 (1993). massive 1300 page compendium of details
- Feldman, Leslie D., and Rosanna Perotti. Honor and Loyalty: Inside the Politics of the George H.W. Bush White House (2002) online edition
- Freedman, Lawrence, and Efraim Karsh. The Gulf Conflict, 1990-1991: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order (1993)
- Gordon, Michael R., and Bernard E. Trainor. The General's War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf (1995). excerpt and text search
- Greene, John Robert. The Presidency of George Bush. (2000) 356pp; standard survey by scholar. ISBN 0-7006-0993-8.)
- Himelfarb, Richard, and Rosanna Perotti, eds. Principle Over Politics?: The Domestic Policy of the George H. W. Bush (2004) excerpt and text search
- Hiro, Dilip. Desert Shield to Desert Storm: The Second Gulf War (1992)
- Levy, Peter B. Encyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years (1996) 461pp online edition
- Maynard, Christopher. Out of the Shadow: George H. W. Bush and the End of the Cold War (2008) 176pp.
- Naftali, Timothy. George H. W. Bush: The American Presidents Series: The 41st President, 1989-1993 (2007). short survey excerpt and text search
- Rose, Richard. The Postmodern President: George Bush Meets the World (1991) online edition
- Tarpley, Webster Griffin, and Anton Chaitkin. George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography (2004), a hostile attack from the far left excerpt and text search
- Tiefer, Charles. The Semi-Sovereign Presidency: The Bush Administration's Strategy for Governing Without Congress (1994), 216pp online edition
- Yetiv, Steve A. Explaining Foreign Policy: U.S. Decision-
Making and the Persian Gulf War (2004) excerpt and text search
- Council of Economic Advisors, Economic Report of the President (annual 1947- ), complete series online; important analysis of current trends and policies, plus statistcial tables
- Bush, George H. W. All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings (2000) excerpt and text search
- Bush, George H. W. and Brent Scowcroft. A World Transformed (1999), foreign policy. excerpt and text search
- War Record of LTJG George Bush
- History's Youngest Naval Aviator
- White House biography
- George Bush Presidential Library and Museum