George W Bush Accomplishments

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The Presidency of George W Bush

George W Bush was sworn in as the President of The United States on 20 January 2001. He was the 43rd President of the United States and his term ended on 20 January 2009.

George W Bush , a Republican, took office following a very close and controversial victory over Democratic incumbent Vice President Al Gore. Four years later in 2004 Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry to win a reelection, something that his Father George HW Bush could not achieve. The 2000 Presidential Campaign was based on the Vision to Improve Education (No Child be left behind), Quality Health Care, Cut Taxes, Strengthen Social Security, and Help Charities and Faith base Groups serve those in need, A dangerous World requires a strong Military. Richard B Cheney (Dick Cheney) with no Presidential ambitions and wealth of experience in politics having been the White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defence offered expertise and weight to the Bush Presidency. As Bush had no foreign policy experience, he brought him an entire package of people who had served in his father’s tenure.

Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, and Paul Wolfowitz formed the core members of the team.

The Promise to cut Taxes was the mainstay of the Presidential Campaign and Bush wasted no time in putting this to action. Even though he was handed over a Budget Surplus by the Bill Clinton Administration, the reduced economic growth had already accounted for the surplus and further Tax cuts would result in deficits. But he could not go back on an important election promise. The surplus in 2001 turned into a huge deficit by 2009 and debt rose from 31.2% to 52.3%.

President Bush teamed up with Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy to pass the ’No Child Left Behind Act’ in 2002. However, the promised Federal funding via ‘School Vouchers’ as proposed by the President was dropped.

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The Nation was polarised as a result of the 2000 Elections. The unfortunate and tragic terrorist attacks happened nine months into Bush’s Presidency. This was the moment to unite the country. President Bush was upto the task and choice of returning to the White House after the attacks rather than moving to the safety of the bunker gave an important message that he was in charge and his leadership during the crisis was admirable. This led to the invasion of Afghanistan and the defeat of the Taliban. But the capture and elimination of the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden the Al Qaeda leader, was elusive. The United States got stuck in Afghanistan much similar to the Russians earlier on. The creation of Homeland Security and the passage of The Patriot Act into law happened soon after 9/11. The Act resulted in sweeping powers to the Government to conduct surveillance of suspected terrorists. This along with the creation of the Office of Faith based and Community Initiatives further alienated many who thought Government money should not be funding organisations that are attached or connected to the Churches.

To detain and extract information from suspected terrorists, prisons were erected in the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Vice President Cheney advocated a suspension of compliance with the Geneva Conventions this resulted in torture of many in those prisons. The war mongering in the highest office was reaching a crescendo and even without a shred of evidence linking Iraq to Al Qaeda or WMD (weapons of mass destruction), the Vice President was instrumental in convincing Bush that the United States and its Allies have to invade Iraq to send a ‘larger message’ to the terrorists. The evidence shown was not convincing and despite Colin Powell assuring the UN Security Council, very few NATO Allies and those in the Middle East were convinced. Thus the coalition that struck Iraq was mostly American and British troops.

Although President Bush was inclined to the United States being Non-Interventionist at the beginning of his term, he changed dramatically after 9/11 to come with what is known as ‘Bush Doctrine’ and he coined the phrase “Axis of Evil’ which comprised Iraq, North Korea and Iran. In order to bring in Democracy world wide President Bush stated in 2005 ‘The survival of Liberty in our Land depends on the success of Liberty in other Lands’. Thus war mongering became a permanent feature of the Bush Administration. Thus the Defence expenditure rose from 304 billion USD in 2001 to 616 billion USD in fiscal year 2008.

On the home front the fiscal deficit was increasing and the debt rose to about 50% of the GDP by 2008. The financial deregulation and acceleration for years under the Bush Administration led to banks lending more and more to home buyers. The onset of the Economic Recession in 2008 and the falling Home prices led to the fear of the ‘housing bubble’ collapsing at any time. Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers all were on the verge of collapse The Bush Administration came up with the Economic Stabilization Plan 2008 which created the700 billion dollars TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Programme). The House and Senate passed the bill in October 2008. TARP almost certainly helped end the financial crisis but could not prevent the onset of the Great Recession.

By the end of the second term, President Bush was clearly unpopular. Did the Vice President exceed his brief on several matters, more importantly on matters relating to the war on Terror. At times it appeared that he was completing the unfinished tasks of the father of George W Bush. The war on Iraq without proper evidence stands out like a sore thumb. At times it was difficult to see who was calling the shots.

Ultimately, The few positive achievements that can be credited to the Bush Administration were entirely swamped by the mess created by the War on Terror, the bleak Economic outlook, and poor handling of the situation post-Katrina. George W Bush led the Nation into War, and enabled Human Rights Violations which left the Republican Party intensely unpopular with the Voters. The US continued to remain in Iraq and Afghanistan despite the unpopular war and the crisis harmed the Nation’s growth substantially. President Bush’s rating scaled an all time high post 9/11 and fell to an abysmal low towards the end of his term. His Presidency has been rated below average by many. The Bush Presidency has revealed the problematic parts of American Politics, which are still present today and need to be addressed.

Works Cited

  1. “Presidential Campaign Slogans.”,
  2. Bush, George W. “Address on Signing the USA Patriot Act of 2001.
  3. Gregg, Gary L. II. “George W. Bush: Impact and Legacy.” Miller Center,
  4. TARP: The Definition, Costs, Who it Helped.
  5. Historical Tables / The White House
  6. United States Senate.
  7. “President Bush’s Speech on the Use of Force.” The New York Times, 8 Oct. 2002,
  8. “Presidential Election Results Between Al Gore and George Bush Too Close to Call.” History, 7 Nov. 2000,
  9. “President Delivers State of the Union Address.” The White House, 29 Jan. 2002,
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George W Bush Accomplishments. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
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