A Look at George W. Bush's Presidency

A Look at George W. Bush's Presidency

The Presidency of George W. Bush

George W. Bush; the oldest son to former president George H.W Bush was the United States' 43rd president. The 2000 election was one of the most highly contested elections in United States history. He served his first term as president from 2001 to 2004. This was after two-vote recounts when Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore filed a lawsuit against George Bush. Supreme Court resolved the Bush v. Gore dispute. The Florida Secretary of State declared Bush the winner of Florida. Moreover, the twenty-five electoral votes from Florida gave Bush an upper hand against Al Gore. Bush was reelected in 2004, and his second term came to an end in January 2009. Changes in every aspect characterized the Bush presidency. Hence, an analysis of the themes that influenced his administration will be essential.

As the son of one of the most famous American presidents, George Bush managed to neutralize many of his critics during the first two years. According to Schier (2004), he received remarkable legislative wins after the successful passage of the significant tax cuts and education policy reforms. During his tenure, he garnered the public's support despite that he had only won a minority of the popular vote.

Themes that characterized the Bush Regime


The September 11th terrorist attack and the subsequent Iraq War, to a great extent, defined President Bush's tenure. In September 2001, terrorists hijacked four U.S airplanes and crashed two into the World Trade Center in New York. The third plane was crashed into the Pentagon government building outside Washington D.C. However, the fourth plane crashed into the Pennsylvania field (Nabers & Patman, 2008). In these cases, approximately 3,000 people died during the attacks. It was after these unfortunate events that President Bush declared war on terror. The U.S Patriot Act was passed in October 2001 to fight against domestic terrorism (Woodward, 2012). This act was enacted to widen the search, seizure, and detention capabilities of the Federal government.

The administration also focused their attention on Afghanistan on the basis that the Taliban government was hiding Osama Bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda. The war on terror also entailed going after nations accused of producing chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. In 2003, American Troops were sent Iraq to overthrow Sadaam Hussein, who was accused of supporting international terrorist organizations and acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Bush gained the Russian Federation's cooperation, established close relations with the former Soviet republic and Pakistan, who provided political support. Throughout the Bush regime, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to protect the country from terrorist activities.

Compassionate Conservatism

This is a political analogy that was borrowed from U.S politician and historian Doug Wead. This philosophy emphasized that the traditionally conservative beliefs and techniques are ideal in improving society (Brand & Pratt, 2012). Over the years, compassionate conservatism has been linked to former President Bush, who used the term to describe his ideologies. It is the belief that compassion and conservatism are closely linked together. These individuals view social problems like healthcare easily attainable via cooperation with private entities, religious institutions, and charities.

Despite that his tenure was marked changes and inconsistencies, compassionate conservatism was ideal for American citizens. It advocates for policies that support "traditional households" to facilitate active policing, individual responsibility, and assistance to developing nations worldwide. The ideals that characterize this policy allowed Bush to use his power to help people save, give, and build. Further, the administration managed to set challenging educational levels and implement the no child left behind policy. Based on Olasky (2000), President Bush garnered legislative support for education reforms, welfare, and tax cuts despite being a Democrat-controlled house. This theme was essential throughout his presidency in enhancing unity.

Domestic Policy

President Bush joined politics with a robust domestic policy plan that consisted of reforms in immigration, social security, and education. The domestic policy plans were mainly conservative. Nonetheless, he encouraged spending on programs that were ideally linked with liberal democrats. For instance, he supported the No Child Left behind Act, a bipartisan attempt to raise the school standards in the low-income regions (Perotti, 2004). Further, the Bush administration successfully supported the new federal program whose objective was to subsidize prescription drugs for the elderly. This approach was unique since it was a program that would be promoted by the democrats.

This policy was an influential theme in the Bush presidency since it managed to increase funding for most federal agencies and projects. According to Genovese, Belt & Lammers (2015), tax cuts were considered the most significant domestic policy accomplishment. The majority of presidents struggle to push their agendas, and in Bush's case, the political environment was hostile, especially after he was sworn as president. However, these tax cuts significantly increased the federal debt and budget deficit as the national debt doubled from $5 trillion to $10 trillion.

In conclusion, the Bush administration was characterized by challenges that defined him as a leader of the world's most powerful nation. The decisions he made during his term aimed at protecting the interests of the citizens. Despite that, the United States experienced the worst economic recession since the Great Recession; he led the country through some of the most challenging periods. These themes were instrumental in providing a summary of his presidency.  

Published on: 11 Sep 2020

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