George W. Bush

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President George W. Bush
President George W. Bush

George Walker Bush is the 43rd and current President of the United States. Bush, a Republican, was elected 46th Governor of Texas in 1994 and was re-elected in 1998. From there, he moved on to win the nomination of the Republican Party for the 2000 presidential race and ultimately defeated Democratic Vice President Al Gore in the general election. In 2004, Bush was elected to a second term, defeating Democratic Senator John Kerry. This term will expire January 20, 2009.

Contents

Biographical

Born July 6th, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut. Son of George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. Brother of Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Husband to Laura Bush. Grandson to Prescott Bush.

He was raised in Midland, and Houston, Texas with his siblings Jeb, Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy. Another younger sister, Robin, died in 1953 at age three from leukemia.

He attended prep school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, the same school his father attended. Bush then enrolled at Yale University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History in 1968. He graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and entered the Texas Air National Guard. After two years of learning how to fly jets, he was promoted to First Lieutenant on the November 1970 recommendation of his commander Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He served as an F-102 pilot until 1972.

He later attended Harvard Business School, from which he earned his MBA in 1975; he is the first U.S. President to hold an MBA. After graduation Bush returned to Texas to enter the oil business. Two years later, he married Laura Welch, a librarian originally from Midland. They have twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, born in 1981. In 1978, Bush ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Early in his professional life, Bush ran, or was a partner in a number of oil companies, including Arbusto Energy, Spectrum 7, and the Harken Energy Corporation. After working on his father's successful 1988 presidential campaign, Bush purchased a share in the Texas Rangers baseball franchise, in April 1989, where he became managing general partner.

In 1994, Bush ran for Governor of Texas against the incumbent, Democrat Ann Richards. On November 8, 1994, he defeated Richards by a margin of 53% to 46%. As Governor, Bush forged a legislative alliance with powerful Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock, a longtime Democrat. In 1998 Bush went on to win re-election in a landslide victory with nearly 69% of the vote, becoming the first Texas governor to be elected for two consecutive four-year terms (before 1975, the gubernatorial term of office was two years). During Bush's governorship, he undertook significant legislative changes in criminal justice, tort law, and school financing.

Presidential campaigns

In the 2000 presidential election Bush defeated Democratic candidate Vice President Al Gore, winning 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266 and carrying 30 of the 50 states. Gore had received a plurality of the national popular vote, but this fact is not relevant in deciding presidential elections. It should be pointed out that if the American system were based on the popular vote, rather than the Electoral College, then the focus and methods of campaigning would be different. Because of this, the validity of using popular-vote totals under the present system to predict who would have won an actual popular vote election is questionable. In that election, Gore failed to win the popular vote in his home state of Tennessee, making him the first major party presidential candidate to have lost his home state since George McGovern lost South Dakota in 1972.

In the 2004 election, Bush carried 31 of 50 states for 286 Electoral College votes. In that election, he also received more popular votes than any previous presidential candidate. Democrat challenger, Senator John Kerry, carried a mere 19 states and the District of Columbia, earning him 251 Electoral College votes and only 48 percent of the popular vote to Bush's 51 percent.

George W. Bush became the first candidate since his father—George H. W. Bush, elected in 1988—to receive a majority of the popular vote. It also marked the seventh consecutive election in which the Democratic nominee failed to reach that threshold.

The counties where Bush led in the popular vote amount to 83% of the geographic area of the U.S. (excluding Alaska, which did not report results by borough/census area, but had all electoral districts but one of the two in Juneau vote for Bush).

The election marked the first time an incumbent president was reelected while his political party increased its numbers in both houses of Congress since Lyndon Johnson in the 1964 election. It was the first time for a Republican since William McKinley in the 1900 election.

Presidency of the United States

After the 9/11 attacks, President Bush's quick response to the crisis lead to his approval rating to soar to 89 percent. On October 7, 2001, the United States launched a war against the Afghani Taliban regime, which harbored various al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden. Democratic elections were held on October 9, 2004.

Starting in the spring of 2002, the Bush administration promoted urgent action in Iraq based on the debatable notion that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was a threat to U.S. security. Allegedly Saddam destabilized the Middle East, inflamed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, financed terrorists, refused and hindered weapons inspections, breached a 1991 ceasefire, attempted to have a former US president assassinated, and had been continuously violating numerous UN resolutions which legally required the US and other nations to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

In 2002, Bush had the highest approval rating of any president during a midterm congressional election since Dwight Eisenhower. In an unusual deviation from the historical trend of midterm elections, the Republican Party retook control of the Senate and added to its majority in the House of Representatives. Typically, the President's party loses congressional seats in the midterm elections; 2002 marked only the third midterm election since the Civil War that the party in control of the White House gained seats in both houses of Congress (others were 1902 and 1934). However, by 2006 his approval rating had sunk to record lows.

Libertarian perspective

Some observers question whether Bush's presidency has been a net gain or loss for conservativism. In particular they cite the growth of the size of government under Bush's care as anathema to libertarian ideals. For example, Andrew Sullivan wrote,

...[T]his president has all but destroyed conservatism as a governing philosophy. In that respect, it reminds me of his war-management. Energy independence could have been a rallying cry after 9/11. He could have asked for a higher gas tax to pay for the war and prompt the prviate sector to innovate for new energy resources. Instead, he tells everyone to go shopping, and that Big Daddy will deal with the enemy and don't trouble your pretty heads about anything. When we ask questions, the secrecy mantra slams the door shut. When abuses of power occur, he resorts to the us-or-them meme. You know what? I loathed Kerry. But I backed him in 2004 because I cared about conservatism - and what this president has been doing to it. He has three more years to wreak havoc on what was once a coherent tradition. [1]

External links

  • Official White House biography
  • RNC biography
  • 2000 GOP Convention Nomination Speech
  • First Inaugural Address
  • Second Inaugural Address