George W. Bush: The American Presidents Series: The 43rd President, 2001-2009
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The controversial president whose time in office was defined by the September 11 attacks and the war on terror
George W. Bush stirred powerful feelings on both sides of the aisle. Republicans viewed him as a resolute leader who guided America through the September 11 attacks and retaliated in Afghanistan and Iraq, while Democrats saw him as an overmatched president who led America into two inconclusive wars that sapped the nation's resources and diminished its stature. When Bush left office amid a growing financial crisis, both parties were eager to move on.
In this assessment of the nation's forty-third president, James Mann sheds light on why George W. Bush made the decisions that shaped his presidency, what went wrong, and how the internal debates and fissures within his administration played out in such a charged atmosphere. He shows how and why Bush became such a polarizing figure in both domestic and foreign affairs, and he examines the origins and enduring impact of Bush's most consequential actions-including Iraq, the tax cuts, and the war on terror. In this way, Mann points the way to a more complete understanding of George W. Bush and his times.
president can satisfy himself that he has taken the time to get all the information he possibly can. For Bill Clinton, that issue was health care, and for Barack Obama it was the war in Afghanistan. For George W. Bush, it was stem-cell research. Two weeks after he was sworn in, Bush’s domestic policy advisers informed him that legal guidelines issued by the Clinton administration had cleared the way for new federal funding of research using embryonic stem cells and that it would be up to Bush to
firm’s toxic mortgage securities. For a time, Bush’s hopes were focused on Barclays, the British bank, which seemed interested, but the chancellor of the exchequer threw cold water on the idea. The British did not want to import America’s financial panic. “What the hell is going on?” Bush asked Paulson. “I thought we were going to get a deal.” But this time, there was no deal and no rescue. Bush and Paulson made the decision to let Lehman Brothers fail. On Monday, September 15, 2008, the firm
family. His parents’ health had begun to decline. He and his father were the first father-and-son pair of living ex-presidents in American history; John Adams had died while John Quincy Adams was still in the White House. The younger ex-president wrote an extended tribute to the older one: the book 41: A Portrait of My Father, about the life and career of George H. W. Bush, was published in 2014. Meanwhile, the Bush clan was continuing to grow. In 2013, Bush became a grandfather when his daughter
Americans, that action did not reverse the enormous impact of what had already taken place: over a period of nearly a decade, enormous sums that would otherwise have been routinely taxed were instead left in the hands of the wealthy. American presidents tend to be evaluated, above all, on how they perform in two areas: on issues of war and peace and on the economy. By this standard, Bush, who departed from the White House with America embroiled in two wars and the worst economic crisis since the
Points, pp. 249–50. He had relied on assurances from Rumsfeld: Ibid., pp. 258–59. 6: REELECTION AND ITS UNHAPPY AFTERMATH New Year’s Day in 2003 … “strong wartime leader”: Rove, Courage and Consequence, pp. 361–63. he would be willing to step aside: Cheney, In My Time, pp. 417–18; Bush, Decision Points, pp. 86–87. Bush hoped to run against Howard Dean … a more formidable opponent: Bush, Decision Points, p. 287. he reversed course and decided to endorse the measure: Elizabeth Bumiller, “Bush