George W. Bush: Report Card By: Abi Cadenas AP Government
BUSH: Background • Attended Yale University and Harvard Business Law School • Worked with oil companies and co-owned the Texas Rangers • Became governor of Texas in 1994 and then again in 1998.
BUSH: Chief Legislator • Much legislation was passed during the Bush presidency; he only used his veto power 12 times. • Major legislation includes No Child Left Behind Act and the USA Patriot Act. • Bush’s relationship with Congress was not the best especially in the subject of Iraq. • Grade: C
BUSH: Commander-in-Chief • President Bush used much force throughout the world most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. • In both instances the thought of accomplishment has many times come in to question. • Bush’s military budget and also Homeland Security’s hit the record during his 8 years in office. • In 2007 the proposed budget was $439 billion not including the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
BUSH: Commander-in-Chief (cont.) • Most of the budget was on investments for equipment and weapons against the war on terrorism. • Grade: B
BUSH: Chief Executive • Out of the fifteen Cabinet secretaries, Bush only keep one for his entire presidency. • Then there was the dismissal of the U.S. Attorneys in which led to the resignation of Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales and more staff. • It is said the Bush took a “hands-off” approach in managing and also overlooked mistakes too much. • Grade: D
BUSH: Head of State • The months after September 11, President Bush had the highest approval ratings of any president, but in the upcoming years especially during Hurricane Katrina, his approval ratings went as far as the low 30%. • In 2006 Bush gave a speech to the United Nations stating that the west was not a war with Islam but wants peace.
BUSH: Head of State (cont.) • Bush’s public image was portrayed as a Western cowboy with poor word choice. • He public image seen to go up at the start of the Iraqi War but gave a dead drop during the disaster of Katrina. • Grade: C
BUSH: Chief of Party • In both Presidential election the Republican party was in control of both Houses, but during both midterm election the balance of power was transferred to the Democrats. • During his campaign for presidency he did not face any serious competition, because the GOP had most of its support. • When his approval rating began to slide do did his support of the GOP. • Grade: D
BUSH: Guardian of the Economy • Although he called for many tax cuts, he had to pay for two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan). • He did though have tax cuts for all tax rates and increased the child tax credit. • But still the tax cuts could not stop the growing national debt. • He also pushed for free trade and did get some power through the Trade Act of 2002.
BUSH: Guardian of the Economy • Bush had already a bad economy from Clinton and it did help. • The worst hit came from the economic recession in 2008, the Feds had to call on commercial banks for loans. • Unemployment grew during his term. • Grade: C
BUSH: Chief Diplomat • Bush promoted stronger economic and political ties with Latin America. • Most of his time was spent on the Middle East in which he visited several time. • In African he sought humanitarian aid. • He also renewed relations with India. • Grade: B
BUSH: Final Grade • Even though he worked well as commander in chief and as chief diplomat, Bush struggled in the areas of chief executive and of chief of party. • He was average in the other remaining areas. • He did a lot of foreign work well but had trouble in the domestic and legislative work. • Final Grade: C
Questions • What things should have Bush done in order to insure his party’s approval in the latter stages of his term? • Was the economic collapse entirely his of the GOP’s fault? Was it their fault?