Introduction: A Tale of Two Terms

Andrew Wroe and Jon Herbert

in Assessing the George W. Bush Presidency

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780748627400
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671946 | DOI:
Introduction: A Tale of Two Terms

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George W. Bush left office as president of the United States on January 20, 2009. Americans, in a multitude of different polls, consistently rated him as one of the country's worst post-war presidents — and not without reason. Bush started, and failed to end, wars and civil wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, at great human, financial and geopolitical cost. Tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars were expended as part of his war on terror. Bush is also pilloried for economic failures, none more so than the global financial crisis. The economic crisis of Bush's last year in office was preceded by a series of failed attempts to reform public policy, most notably in the areas of social security and immigration. The failures and problems of Bush's second term contrast sharply against his first term successes, such as two of the three largest tax cuts in American history, the most important education reform in thirty-five years, and the largest expansion of health care and most wide-ranging reorganisation of the federal bureaucracy in a generation.

Keywords: George W. Bush; United States; war on terror; economic crisis; social security; immigration; tax cuts; education reform; health care; bureaucracy

Chapter.  3645 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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