This study focuses on presenting an analysis of George W. Bush, the ex-President of the United States who was succeeded by Barack Obama. This analysis is important and topical, given that Bush’s actions were relatively recent and his impact on the United States still looms large, with him only passing power over four years ago. The work presents a discussion of Bush’s contributions to the American government. Within this analysis, the work provides an assessment of how Bush made a significant contribution to the betterment of the American government and how he managed to improve the political system overall. The work focuses on the nature of his leadership and describes how he has shaped the way in which the US population now wishes to see a leader in this modern age of globalization.
As a brief overview, it is important to state that George Bush’s time in office began in a disputed fashion, but as this work continues, it will highlight how Bush made positive contributions to the United States, and in particular to the political system of the country. George Bush’s time in office was controversial, particularly given the nature of his election. The 2000 election between him and Democrat Al Gore caused controversy over the fact that Florida’s 25 electoral votes were awarded to Bush while thousands of votes may not have counted. Moreover, Bush actually won fewer popular votes than Gore but still became the President (Uradnik 189). Despite this, Bush overcame the controversial start and had a number of victories while in office, both in terms of domestic and foreign policy and his work is analyzed here, highlighting the successes of this controversial and divisive figure in US politics.
The analysis of George Bush’s impact on the American political system and government is an interesting topic. His auto-biography is a good account that focuses on the major forms of decision-making that he took while in office, rather than presenting a holistic overview of his life that while interesting, would have been less informative in terms of the decision-making process that he went through dealing with issues such as national emergencies (9/11, Hurricane Katrina), foreign policy and the manner in which he dealt with the financial crisis. At this juncture, it is important to note that Bush writes in his work that ‘I have done my best to write about the decisions I got right, those I got wrong and what I would do differently if given the chance’ (Bush 4). This acceptance that he would reassess certain decisions that he took during his presidency indicates the nature of the man, and allows this study to be far more objective than other individuals that could have been picked. This work focuses on George Bush’s actions and his impact on the government in terms of homeland security, leadership more generally, foreign policy and the economy.
The discussion of George W. Bush is perhaps one of the detailed that could be had over how a former President changed the way that the American government and the country in general worked. The developments in modern society, particularly focusing on foreign policy and the economy of the country in this technological age, all took place to a large extent during his presidency. Therefore, he dealt with increased pressure and need for change in homeland security, the US presence in global affairs and the growth of the global economy that needed the US to be an active leader. This of course impacted greatly on American society and its people, through their everyday lives but also in terms of how they are governed and how they view the role of the government to be.
To begin this analysis in earnest, it is important to discuss perhaps one of the most iconic events in recent history. On the morning of September 11, 2001, George W. Bush was in an elementary school visiting children when he was given the news that there had been a terrorist attack in New York. The two airplanes that had flown into the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan had shattered the air of invincibility that lay around the United States and Bush was the man in charge at the time. His reaction was one of shock and he appeared to the news cameras and media in the country and around the world as dumbfounded and frozen by the events. It was perhaps this incident more than any other that began to define his presidency, his impact on the United States and the wider global community and it is important to assess his own reaction to this situation as well as that of other biographers. This event has provided two contrasting views of the man in charge of the country at that point and these are discussed in detail in this section.
Bush indicates that ‘before 9/11, most Americans had never heard of al Qaeda…by the afternoon of 9/11, the intelligence community had discovered known al Qaeda operatives on the passenger manifests of the hijacked planes’ (Bush 134). The presence of the al Qaeda threat transformed the presidency of George Bush and in a way; the events of 9/11 will forever mark as a turning point in the US view towards the world. His actions in this transformed society have been criticized but this criticism should be quashed, according to certain scholars. Verjee and Martin note that Bush should be ‘viewed as one of the nation’s great Presidents…Bush-haters try to distort his ongoing record of achievement under trying conditions’ (Verjee and Martin 16). This point of the trying conditions of Bush’s presidency effectively points to the situation regarding 9/11 and the War on Terror campaign that was launched shortly after.
All Presidents face domestic issues and foreign policy quandaries, struggle with the economy and face the ongoing debates concerning education and healthcare. However, the situation that transformed Bush’s presidency from the ordinary to the extraordinary was the events of 9/11. Bush himself admitted that he was not fully prepared for this type of event occurring, especially so soon into his first term. Bush notes that ‘I remembered the shattering pain of 9/11, the surprise of the attack for which we had received no warning and were ill prepared’ (Bush 252). This surprise, coupled with the way his face reacted on television when told of the event has led to much criticism in the media. An example of this criticism can be highlighted by Swanson’s work when he stresses that when ‘informed of a second plane hitting the World Trade Center, Bush sat bewildered with the children for another seven minutes, until someone suggested he leave. The press chose not to cover this incident –or, more accurately, they chose to cover it up’ (Swanson 3). In this description, Swanson displays Bush as an individual and a leader without any plan, or a clue about how to respond and this type of commentary was common in the weeks, months and years after the event occurred.
The view of Swanson, when assessed objectively, is rejected by this study. Although Bush did not necessarily act efficiently after receiving the news, it is the opinion of this researcher that this reaction showed how hurt he was personally and also allowed the US people to see him as a human as well as the figurehead of the country. Therefore, it is clear that the manner in which Bush dealt with the situation both short and long-term should be praised. Kessler’s study on the Bush administration found that he came to a ‘surprising conclusion: George W. Bush isn’t the most articulate or scholarly president in history, but he scores very high on the factors that count most: character and leadership. President Bush has a more clearly defined moral instinct, management style, and self-awareness than any other recent president’ (Kessler 174). This analysis from an objective mindset indicates the way in which George Bush had a dramatic impact on society and US politics. During his term in office, Bush was perhaps not the most educated leader but he was an effective leader and one that was able to lead the country in two of the most recent and most devastating national emergencies of the modern era.
The discussion of Bush’s leadership in crisis is perhaps the one topic of conversation that should dominate all others when his presidency is evaluated. The United States, particularly with the event of 9/11, needed a leader that was both strong and human and in George Bush, they received both. Schier’s work on Bush’s presidency focuses on the view that it was not as positive as Kessler makes out. He states that ‘events create positive and negative political impact for presidents. A careful look at the major occurrences during the Bush presidency from this perspective reveals the rollercoaster ride of George W. Bush’s time in office’ (Schier 10). Although Schier’s work acknowledges that this rollercoaster ride was often negative, he indicates that this was perhaps mainly in the short term and the presidency of Bush will be mostly remembered for his strong and courageous reaction to the two major events of his term in office. This is an important consideration and through Bush’s leadership, it is important to note that he has perhaps defined what a modern leader should be like in this era of increased globalization and threats both externally and from within.
The difficulty in assessing Bush’s contribution comes from the fact that it has only been four years since he left office. In the meantime, Obama has become President and has encountered many economic issues that were instigated by the Republicans under George Bush. In this way, it is stated that ‘some of the Bush administration’s actions will look more significant in the context of future events, others less so…the Bush legacy is likely to change from generation to generation. This conditionality applies no more than to the two headlines of the Bush legacy: the state of the American economy and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan’ (Wroe and Herbert 259). This viewpoint highlights the complex nature of assessing Bush’s impact on US politics and the government. On the one hand, it is clear that he has re-molded the role of the presidency, making it far more active in global affairs and wary of international and domestic threat. This can only be viewed as a positive development due to the widely held belief by scholars and lay people alike that the world needs more communication and diplomacy. On the other hand though is the view that his handling of the economy has placed the US in trouble and this could impact greatly on the overall view of George Bush in years to come. Despite this negative impact on the economy, it is apparent that Bush’s legacy will be positive, mainly because the economy will thrive again (the only question remaining is when this will occur), but it is likely that his actions through the emergencies of Katrina and 9/11 will ensure that his legacy remains positive as the period of his presidency moves further back into the past.
In conclusion, it is possible to state that through this study, the work has been able to identify a number of positive contributions that Bush has made to the US political system, the American government and the United States overall. The assessment looked at and used autobiographical information as well as biographical information to ensure that the study was underpinned by an objective examination of Bush and his work during his time as President.
The study was conducted in an objective manner. Through this, it analyzed George Bush’s own opinion on his legacy and the way in which he has impacted on American politics and the way that the government conducts business, as well as another studies focusing on his overall impact as President between 2001-2009. The study highlighted that although not always the most popular President, his role was transformed because of 9/11 and as a true American leader; he changed the way that citizens looked at the Presidency and its role. Bush’s actions through very trying situations has enabled the majority of the literature to stress how adept he was leading the country through crisis and his approval ratings increased dramatically, considering he was elected President with fewer popular votes than his opponent.
The study found that Bush had a tremendous impact on the US government, and how it views the society in which it operates. Part of this impact was because Bush was simply the President at the time of certain events, such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. However, although this could have technically happened to any US President, it was the manner in which George Bush appeared humbled and appealed to Americans as a human being during these crises that enabled him to have such a large impact on society. Moreover, following 9/11, he instigated a far more active role in global affairs for the United States, as well as increasing the notion of homeland security, two developments that have had a dramatic impact on the way in which the US is perceived globally, and how the notion of Americanism has grown domestically.