The Presidents of the USA


 
 
 

Biography

 
43
George W. Bush
R R R R R
 
2001-2009
 
He left as one of the least popular and most divisive presidents in American history. His presidency hammered by the Iraq war, the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina, the current economic crisis, has brought the most catastrophic collapse in America's reputation since WW II.


Born July 6, 1946, New Haven, Conn.
Political PartyRepublican
EducationYale University, B.A.,1968
Harvard University, M.B.A.,1975
Military Service Texas Air National Guard, 1968-73
Previous public office ♦ Governor of Texas, 1994-2001
picture of George W. Bush



Early Life

The eldest son of President George H. W. Bush, he was raised in Texas and, like his father, attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and Yale, graduating in 1968. He subsequently earned a Harvard M.B.A. (1975) and worked in the oil and gas industry (1975-86).

Bush helped manage his father's 1988 presidential campaign, then became managing partner (1989-94) of the Texas Rangers baseball team.



Political Career

In 1994, Bush was elected governor of Texas, defeating the incumbent, Ann Richards. In office he won a reputation for being able to forge bipartisan coalitions with the conservative legislature's Democrats, and won passage of changes to tort laws and the welfare, public-school, and juvenile-justice systems. Bush was reelected in 1998 by a landslide.

In 1999, Bush officially began his campaign for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, and quickly raised record campaign funding. He won a majority of convention delegates in the primaries and became the GOP's candidate.

Although he appeared generally to lead in the polls, he ultimately lost the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore. However, Bush secured the presidency with a victory in the electoral college when he won Florida by a narrow margin, having outlasted Gore's attempt to challenge the Florida vote-counting process in court. He thus became the first person in more than a century to win the presidency without achieving a plurality in the popular vote.



Presidency

Eight months into Bush's first term as president, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred and had a profound effect on USA.

In response, Bush announced the War on Terror, an international military campaign which included the war in Afghanistan launched in 2001 which succeeded in destroying the government of the Taliban and severely disrupting the al-Qaida network, which had used the country as a base for training and operations. The United States then worked with the United Nations in trying to rebuild the country around President Hamid Karzai.

Beginning in 2002, Bush dramatically escalated pressure on Iraq and its president, Saddam Hussein. Claiming that Iraq still possessed weapons of mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons, he argued that the country constituted a threat to U.S. security. Despite massive global opposition, even from traditional American allies like Germany and France, U.S. and British forces invaded the country in March 2003 and overthrew Saddam Hussein's government.

In addition to national security issues, Bush also promoted policies on the economy, health care, education, and social security reform. He signed into law broad tax cuts, the PATRIOT Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors. His tenure saw national debates on immigration, Social Security, electronic surveillance, and enhanced interrogation techniques. He announced the U.S. would not implement the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, which had been signed by the previous administration but never ratified by the Senate.

Bush successfully ran for re-election against Democratic Senator John Kerry in 2004, in another relatively close election. After his re-election, Bush received increasingly heated criticism from across the political spectrum for his handling of the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina and numerous other controversies.

As a result, the Democratic Party won control of Congress in the 2006 elections. In December 2007, the United States entered its longest post-World War II recession, prompting the Bush Administration to enact multiple economic programs intended to preserve the country's financial system.

Nationally, Bush was both one of the most popular and unpopular presidents in history, having received the highest recorded presidential approval ratings in the wake of 9/11, as well as one of the lowest approval ratings during the 2008 financial crisis.

Internationally, he was a highly controversial figure, with public protests occurring even during visits to close allies, such as the United Kingdom.



Retirement

Bush has returned to Texas and purchased a home in a suburban area of Dallas. He is currently a public speaker and has written a book about his life entitled Decision Points.



Legacy

Bush left the White House as one of the least popular and most divisive presidents in American history. At home, his approval rating has been stuck in the 20s for months; abroad, George Bush has presided over the most catastrophic collapse in America's reputation since the second world war. The American economy is in deep recession, brought on by a crisis that forced Mr Bush to preside over huge and unpopular bail-outs.

Sequentially hammered by the Iraq war, the bungled response to Hurricane Katrina, soaring gasoline prices and, as the coup de grace, the current economic crisis, Bush endured his second term without once attaining majority public approval – a feat unseen in 70 years of presidential approval polls.

The budget surplus he inherited is now a deficit, the fiscal hole in America's retiree programs is bigger than ever, the tax system is an unstable, patched-up mess.

America is embroiled in two wars, one of which Mr. Bush launched against the tide of world opinion. The Bush family name, once among the most illustrious in American political life, is now so tainted that Jeb, George's younger brother, recently decided not to run for the Senate from Florida. A Bush relative describes family gatherings as “funeral wakes”.

Mr. Bush's presidency is not without its merits. He supported sensible immigration reform. He proposed tighter regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the now-nationalized mortgage agencies. Congress stymied him on both points. He promoted more members of minorities than any previous president; and he also stood up to the Dixiecrat wing of his party, edging Trent Lott, a Mississippi senator, out of his job as majority leader for segregation-favoring remarks. He maintained good relations with India, Japan and, particularly, Africa, where he launched a $15 billion anti-AIDS program

A 2010 Siena College poll of 238 Presidential scholars found that Bush was ranked 39th out of 43, with poor ratings in handling of the economy, communication, ability to compromise, foreign policy accomplishments and intelligence.

Although he has been rated among the worst by scholars, his favorability ratings in public opinion surveys have slowly improved since he left office in 2009.




 
 
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