Born in New Haven, Connecticut on July 6, 1946 to George Bush sr. and Barbara Bush, GWB was the oldest of six. He grew up in Midland, Texas and attended Philips Andover Academy in Massachusetts, and later Yale. He graduated from Yale in 1968 with a B.A. in History then joined the Texas Air National Guard and became a lieutenant.

In 1972 he entered Harvard Business School, and received his M.B.A. in 1975.

In 1977 he formed an oil business (Arbusto Corp., later renamed Bush Exploration) and that same year he married Laura Welch. After declining oil prices hurt the company GWB accepted a merger with Spectrum 7 and became chairman of the company.

In 1978 he unsuccessfully ran for Congress. After failing he distanced himself from his father more, politically.

In 1986 oil prices dropped dramatically and GWB managed to sell Spectrum to Harken Energy and later sold his stock shares for a nice profit.

In 1986 GWB joined the Methodist faith (like his wife), stopped drinking, and when his father decided to run for President two years later GWB moved to Washington DC and helped with the election campaign. Shortly after the 1988 election GWB moved back to Texas (Dallas this time) where he organized a group of investors, which purchased the Texas Rangers (pro baseball team) and got quite famous throughout Texas as the team's managing partner.

In 1994 GWB ran for Governor of Texas and won by ~350,000 votes. In 1998 he was re-elected for another term (and sold the baseball team for a cool $15mill profit, too).

In June 1999 GWB announced his intention to run for President in 2000. He's said that if elected he'll lower taxes, fix Social Security, uphold the death penalty, build the SDI, and so on. He's a Republican, calling himself the "compassionate conservative".

Now he's President of the United States of America.

Sources: biography.com and issues2000.org

George W. Bush was elected 43rd President of the United States of America by a margin of 1% of the Electoral College vote on November 7th, 2000 CE, serving the 2000-2004 term. However, a vote recount ensued when results of voting in several Florida counties were disputed, and Bush did not officially become President-Elect until December 13, after a lengthy legal battle. He won by a margin of less than 150 votes, in one of the closest American elections in history. It should be noted that while he won the Electoral College vote, he lost the popular vote.

A member of the Republican Party, Bush was among other things the first President to have a criminal record (a DUI conviction in 1978) and also the first to preside over a government where both the House of Representatives and the Presidential seat were held by the Republican Party since Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-57). He is the son of former President George Bush, who also served as vice-president under Ronald Reagan.

As of noon on January 20, 2001, George Walker Bush is President of the United States. His term expires on January 20, 2005, and presumably he will run for reëlection on November 2, 2004, assuming he survives untouched by Tecumseh's Curse.

George W. Bush is a President surrounded by a plethora of historical factoids. GWB is the second President to be the son of a previous President, one of very few presidents to be elected while losing the popular vote. His inauguration ceremonies were tainted by mass protests, given the dispute regarding the Florida election results, which have garnered him the derisive, occasionally used monikers "His Fraudulency" and "King George II". He gave an inaugural address of average length, but the inauguration lacked the traditional Inaugural Poem.

My fellow Americans, many of you are wondering why we invaded Iraq today.

In 1972, I deserted the Texas Air National Guard 18 months before my service time was done. So now the Pentagon can ruin me at any time by simply releasing my Vietnam era file showing I deserve a Court Martial. So now, I have to do whatever they tell me. (1)

Look at the bright side, America. My father's corporation, The Carlyle Group, is a bunch of cold war spooks in the business of buying down & out military contractors who mysteriously land big money Pentagon contracts after being acquired by Carlyle.(2) So at least I will personally profit from this unprovoked, unnecessary, expensive invasion. That is why it is important to get rid of the Death Tax. So that I can inherit Dad's war profiteer boodle.

But this is not the only benefit this war has to my family. Under Ronald Reagan, the United States secretly gave military assistance to Iraq even though we had fore-knowledge(3) that our ally Saddam Hussain would use Chemical Weapons, which he did. During my father's administration, we continued to arm, fund, and advise our ally Saddam Hussein, right up until the Kuwait invasion. So it is important that we drop many bombs on whatever buildings or bunkers contain documents that incriminate my father.

Some of you may ask, what good is it to destroy Iraqi records that incriminate President Reagan and my father, when US Government records are available in our free society, that prove the same thing?

Friends, I have already taken care of that. My Executive Order #13233 halted the orderly release of Presidential Papers to historians after the usual 12 years. Instead, my father's records will now be sealed from public scrutiny, forever. As will my records, twelve years from now.(4)

As you can see America, there are perfectly simple, clear reason why I have invaded Iraq despite massive public criticism from both Republicans and Democrats everywhere. Now please take a step back so that I can tee off and try out this keen new driver.

Fore!



(1) http://awolbush.com

(2) http://www.hereinreality.com/carlyle.html

(3)http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20020818/ts_nm/iraq_usa_report _dc_3

(4)http://www.archivists.org/news/actnow.asp

A newspaper column in the much-appraised Grauniad sums up the European view of doubya nicely: "George Bush is a dim-witted cowboy who cheated his way into the white house". This view is supported every time you hear a sound byte or see him on TV - invariably saying something that makes it seem as if he has little or no command of the English language.

So why on earth did he get elected?

Personally - both as a journalist, and privately - I have read several dozens of Bush' speeches. Transcribed. None of which have made him seem a lot more intelligent. But somehow he did manage to get himself into the most influential chair in the world; The throne of the Oval Office.

I have to admit that this has surprised, shocked, and amazed me on many occasions. I have caught myself thinking stuff like "damn – if HE won the election, I am not sure if I want to know about the rest of the lot".

So, today, before going to a lecture at my university, I headed to the university's department of America studies. (yes, there is such a thing), and I have watched a few of doubya's speeches in full. Yes, he can't string a sentence together. He has a speech impediment (or five), and he does look like a monkey every now and then. But none of these points disqualify him as a good president.

Eating my prejudice

Nothing you see on television is coincidental. Nothing you read in the newspapers hasn't been read by several instances. And most of the impressions you see offer a distorted version of the truth: I saw the way a presidential meeting is organised once. Everything – and I do mean everything – is planned to the last inch. That includes the seemingly spontaneous greetings, the sudden stops to admire something or another, etc. The backdrops to television shoots are carefully planned. Or – to again quote the guardian – "[the planner] is seen ushering a black woman towards a spot right behind the podium. She will be over the speaker's shoulder. Television viewers will see her, not the overwhelmingly white, male crowd that fills the stage."

All of which sets the mood for a warm reception of the President of the USA. None of which anyone will ever see anything of. But – despite being dirty tricks trying ( - successfully - ) to influence public opinion – all of this is unimportant. Everything is about the man's words.

The speaker

After having seen hours of footage of him, I feel I know him a little. And he is a lousy actor. Which makes his speeches all the stronger. On several of his appeals, his speeches were delivered with surgical precision. The emotions that shone through, via gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, and several passages of the speeches that were obviously non-scripted. Not obvious because they were worse, but because he seemed to relax more, speaking from the heart, speaking faster than he was thinking. You know what I mean – when you are speaking about something that just somehow makes sense, and when one word just brings the next. And the next. And the next.

Then it struck me. He might – indeed – not seem to be the wisest person in the world, but what he lacks in the way intelligence is commonly expressed – good manners, common sense and linguistic abilities – he most certainly makes up in charisma and passion - both for his country and for his people.

I recall a phrase one of my teachers when I lived in the US kept repeating; "There are many people in Washington who are significantly more powerful than the president". Nobody ever got out of her what she meant, but one possible answer could be the presidential advisors. Which brings us one step closer to the point of this writeup: In the middle of this insane media circus that is the US president, you have a man that is captured 'in the middle'. He seems to have infinite power, and is the one person who gets blamed when something is placed in a plane heading for the side of a mountain. More seriously, though – he knows it. And – however much you debate it – Bush tackles the pressure he is certainly feeling surprisingly well, with a flair that not many could copy. Which has to be thoroughly admired.

Which is not to say that I subscribe to any of his views.
George W. Bush was appointed by the Supreme Court as the 43rd president of the United States of America. He was born on July 6, 1946 to George Bush, who would also serve as president, and Barbara Bush, in New Haven, Connecticut. Shortly thereafter the family moved to Midland, Texas where George Sr. was in the oil business. As the oldest of six children born to a New England Brahmin family, George W. could count on some advantages throughout life. He attended the elite Philips Andover Preparatory Academy boarding school in Massachusetts, and later returned to New Haven for Yale University, where he received a BA in history in 1968.

Slacker and businessman:

Maintaining a C average, Bush's major interests in college were partying with his fraternity brothers and being one of the few males on the cheerleading squad. Although as president he would later rail against social promotion, a practice where students are allowed to graduate despite poor records, his whole life seems to be the result of 'social promotion.' His admission to Yale, appointment to a cushy position in the Texas Air National Guard instead of the Vietnam draft, later admission to Harvard Business School, and securing of investors in his business ventures would have all been impossible without the clout, contacts, and money of his father.

While most of the young men of his generation were either facing death in Vietnam or opposing the war, Bush's father obtained for him a position with the Texas Air National Guard. The position was so cushy that Bush went AWOL for eighteen months with no consequences1. Those 18 months were likely filled with hard partying, as this was Bush's sole interest in the period. He was a very heavy drinker, and many former friends describe drug use ranging from marijuana to cocaine, which is ironic in light of Bush's later political zero tolerance stance on these drugs. In 1976, he was convicted of drunk driving while on vacation at the family's compound at Kennebunkport, Maine.

In 1973 Bush entered the Harvard Business School, graduating with an MBA in 1975, although his life had not yet picked up any direction beyond partying. During a drunken episode, George W. was confronted by his father and told that the elder Bush was 'very disappointed' in him. The younger Bush actually physically threatened the elder one before leaving, although the incident supposedly had a profound effect, and the story goes that at this point George W. resolved to make something of his life. He met and married his wife, Laura, in 1977.

Bush ran for Congress from Midland, Texas in 1977, and upon losing, went into the oil business. When one of Bush's failing companies, Spectrum 7, was purchased by a firm owned by a friend of his father's, Bush somehow wound up with $300,000 in company stock and a seat on the board. In 1986, he contributed some $600,000 of $86 million that a group of investors put up to buy the Texas Rangers baseball team. For his contribution of less than 1%, Bush was named the managing partner. This is because his father was the Vice President of the country at the time, of course.

Although George W. would later claim that "Government does not generate wealth, people generate wealth," he shamelessly amassed a fortune at the public expense in the early 1990s by getting the city of Arlington, Texas, to invest $200 million of taxpayer money into a privately owned stadium for the Rangers, a type of giant giveaway to business owners that was common in the period.

Into Politics:

Bush made it be known that he was interested in becoming the commissioner of major league baseball but it was not to be. Instead, he ran for governor of Texas in 1994 and won with 53 percent of the vote, being re-elected in 1998. As governor, Bush presided over 143 executions, more than any other governor in American history. Bush was not concerned in the slightest with the flaws of the Texas death penalty, which are well documented. Defense lawyers have slept through trials and evidence proving innocence has been shown to have been suppressed in several cases. However, Bush was not moved to do anything about the system, instead choosing to mock condemned prisoners appealing for clemency. It is very likely that Bush executed one or several innocent people.

Bush was largely unknown nationally when he announced he was running for the presidency. In a short time he accumulated the largest campaign war-chest through contributions in American history, some 100 million dollars. Bush was funded by corporations and pro-business political action committees, especially from the oil, energy exploitation, health insurance, and financial services sectors, and although hefty, their considerable 'investment' in George W.'s campaign would pay for itself many times over in government giveaways and decreased regulation.

In the Republican primaries, Bush faced a host of opponents, but Arizona Senator John McCain rose to the forefront, winning the New Hampshire primary. McCain ran on a platform of campaign finance reform and moderation on social issues, while Bush did exactly the opposite. His platform included radically conservative positions such as a trillion dollar tax cut, a plan to partially privatize Social Security, and a plan to contract some government functions to religious institutions. In order to win the South Carolina primary, he aligned himself with the Christian conservative movement, even to the point of attending an event at Bob Jones University, which teaches white supremacist and anti-Catholic rhetoric. McCain refused to do so, and he was no match for Bush's millions, and in the end Bush secured the Republican nomination, selecting as his running mate Dick Cheney, a former secretary of defense in his father's administration who had moved in an out of the public and private sectors.

In the general election, Bush's Democratic opponent was the vice president, Al Gore. For many weeks, pundits declared the race 'too close to call.' In covering the race, the media showed outright bias unprecedented in recent American history, a trend that would continue into his administration. Bush's suspect past and dangerous lack of foreign policy knowledge were not even touched on, while Gore was consistently portrayed as a 'liar' or worse, and the candidacy of Ralph Nader of the Green Party was wholly ignored until the end. However, it was Bush himself who was an outright, bold face liar, by vastly downplaying the damage that his proposed trillion dollar tax cut would do to the federal treasury. Still, he accused Gore of practicing 'fuzzy math.'

When the votes were counted, Gore received over a million more votes than Bush. In fact, Gore garnered the second most votes of any presidential candidate in the nation's history. With the totals of Gore and Nader summed, the candidates of the Left and Center received an outright majority of some two million. However, Bush and Gore were much closer in the Electoral vote totals. The electoral college outcome of the race depended on Florida, where there was not a clear winner. This was immediately glossed over by the pro-Bush media, who declared Bush the winner in Florida with Gore 'challenging' the results. Gore would have won the state easily were it not for myriad ballot errors. The Florida Supreme Court ruled for a recount, at which point the United States Supreme Court stepped in and, with a 5-4 decision, halted the recount, handing the presidency to Bush. Interestingly, the five justices who voted to stop the recount were previously advocates of 'states' rights.'

Presidency:

Bush's inauguration was met with the largest protests since the Vietnam era, which were wholly ignored by the media. Although Bush had won the presidency after the closest election in the nation's history, one in which he in fact had overwhelmingly lost the popular vote, he claimed a mandate and set about pushing his legislative agenda through congress with no accommodation to the closeness of the election or the bitter division following it. He also appointed rabid ideologues to positions in his cabinet, including controversial attorney general John Ashcroft. In a testament to how pro-corporate his administration would be, many if not most Bush appointees to regulatory agencies had previously argued for the elimination of those same agencies, or made careers out of fighting their authority in court. Indeed, the Bush administration has been astonishingly pro-corporate. Every policy position is vetted before business organizations.

Bush's tax cut plan was passed, as was an education bill emphasizing constant standardized testing, although the Social Security privatization, and "Faith-Based" funding initiatives failed after the Democrats regained a Senate majority following the party switch of Senator Jim Jeffords. Other notable policies included a complete rejection of the Kyoto Protocol treaty to address global warming, and in fact a complete denial in the face of all evidence that global warming was even occurring, and a $200 million gift to the Taleban regime in Afghanistan in March of 2001.

During the presidential election, although his proposed tax cuts made them inevitable, Bush had promised not to return to federal deficits except in the case of 'war, recession, or national emergency.' On September 11, 2001, as three thousand New Yorkers lay buried in the ruins of the World Trade Center, Bush exclaimed "I hit the trifecta!" meaning that the nation now had all three. This stunningly inappropriate comment was not heavily reported in the media.

Instead, many people in a nation searching for a reassuring presence astonishingly turned to president Bush, whose first public comment to the nation on September 11 was "I have spoken with the Vice President and he is alright." According to the media, Bush enjoyed very high 'approval ratings' following the September 11 attacks. September 11 was used as an excuse to propose an agenda that conservatives in his cabinet had wanted for many years, including a significant curtailing of civil liberties, programs of domestic spying, and a more aggressive and unilateral foreign policy. Bush's apparent popularity helped the Republicans pick up two Senate seats and several House seats in the 2002 midterm elections, assuring a Republican majority in the congress.


1 "I am angry that so many of the sons of the powerful and well-placed... managed to wangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units...Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and owe equal allegiance to their country."
-Colin Powell, in his autobiography, My American Journey, p. 148

George W. Bush: A brief summary of career and policy

After winning the governorship of Texas in 1998, George W. Bush held his position through playing to conservative constituents with strong anti-crime, anti-drug, and capital punishment policies. Texas during Bush's administration saw more executions than any other state.

In 2000, Bush ran for President of the United States against then-current Vice President Al Gore. The campaign was lackluster, marked by an extremely low voter turnout and very little difference between candidates. After a controversial deciding electoral college vote, cast by Florida (governed by Bush's brother Jeb), George W. Bush began his term as President of the United States.

His first term as of 2003 was marked by mixed environmental policy, opening the oil reserves in Alaska for drilling while taking a positive stand towards alternative fuels, and of course by a defining foreign policy after the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11th, 2001.

He is characteristically pro-religion, pro-security and anti-abortion. Criticized early in his presidency and earlier in his governorship as a poor public speaker prone to inventing words, his speaking demonstrated marked improvement through three years in office, although he no longer takes questions after speaking. His policy is aggressively supportive of American military involvement overseas and pays little heed to outside influence such as the United Nations.

It has been some time since this node was updated with a writeup, and so I feel compelled to write a few updates on George W. Bush, his later career and retirement. I also feel that there is some perspective on the career of George W. Bush that is only becoming clear once he has left the political stage.

George W. Bush won reelection in 2004 by a narrow margin: 2.5% percent of the popular vote, and 35 electoral votes over John Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts. The electoral map that was formed the day or two after the election would form a meme that would help redefine Bush's presidency. This was the idea of red state/blue state, the idea that the United States was divided into the coastal areas, full of multicultural, secular urbanites and rural, inland areas full of religious fundamentalist, poorly educated conservatives. While this image would be partially deconstructed over the coming years (especially after the 2008 Presidential Election), it would form an important cultural meme that would define both Bush as a person and a politician. In 2000, Bush had run as a "uniter, not a divider", but after the 2004 election, he was identified more and more with his core constituency: rural, southern, religiously fundamentalist white conservatives.

Bush's second term started out rocky and got worse. Although history might change the focus, Bush will probably be remembered most for the Iraq War, which dragged out into an increasingly gory and incomprehensible multi-sided civil war, with casualties, atrocities and displacements being front page news every day. While many people had opposed the idea of the war from the start, many who had not opposed it begin to be more and more disappointed at Bush's execution of the war, especially his defense of Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense. Another huge setback for Bush was Hurricane Katrina, and his administration's response to it. At the end of 2008, a financial crisis occurred, greatly weakening the US Economy. By the time Bush left office, only his true core supporters still viewed him favorably: he had approval ratings in the low 30s. The Republican nominee for President, John McCain, was an old political and personal rival of Bush's, and tried to distance himself from Bush personally and politically. After Bush left office, he retired quietly and has had very little to say about the politics or policies of his successor, Barack Obama.

That being said, the eight years of Bush's presidency are probably currently remembered as being very much about Geroge W. Bush and his personal style of leadership. It is interesting that while Bush was a greatly polarizing figure, both his supporters and detractors agree on some things about him. Bush is usually described as a religious, straightforward Texan that uses his instincts more than intellectual discussion to make decisions. To those on the left, this is a sign that he is a stupid, simple-minded redneck with a streak of self-righteousness. Those on the right view Bush as a strong leader not prone to flip-flopping, wishy-washing and dilly-dallying.

What is most interesting about the conventional portrait of Bush is that it is contradiction to several basic, checkable facts about his life. George W Bush is not a Texan. George W. Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He attended Phillips Academy, perhaps New England's most elite boarding school. He also attended both Yale and Harvard. His father was born and raised in Connecticut, and his grandfather was a senator from that state. Patrician New England being what it is, George W Bush had relatives and contacts in every corner of the "coastal establishment" that he was later taken to being the antithesis of. This is not to deny that Bush did have deep Texas roots, and that he didn't, for personal and political reasons, court rural and western voters. It is just to point out the obvious fact that he was also deeply embedded in the mainstream of American politics and business.

This personal resume, full of New England connections, is deeply tied to his administration, as well. While Bush's ties to the religious right would be controversial for some, and such things as his visit to Bob Jones University would cause a furor, Bush's cabinet was not picked from Bob Jones, or Oral Roberts, or Liberty University. Bush's cabinet, as well as his top advisors, were the product of the same Ivy League and other top tier mainstream universities as Bush was, and as the cabinets of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama would be. While I am not saying that Bush's religious feelings weren't real, and weren't an important part of his administration, they didn't eclipse the mainstream academic pedigree of much of his administration.

I have a feeling that in the future, Bush the man will take a smaller and smaller role in historian's understanding of his administration. Future historians will not argue that the Iraq War was caused by Bush's personal qualities, good or bad, but was simply the result of a slightly more aggressive take on what was the mainstream of US policy towards Iraq throughout the previous Bush and Clinton administrations. Likewise, policy towards Israel was probably not formed by religious sentiment that Israel had a role to play in the Millenium, but rather by the same policy and political considerations that had given Israel a favored status for the past several decades.

In general, historians have treated very few historical events as the results of a president's personal traits. While Herbert Hoover's conservative outlook, and Lyndon Johnson's stubbornness are sometimes treated in dealing with the Great Depression or Vietnam War, I don't think many historians see those as the causative factors. I believe that even if George W. Bush was the caricatured Texan (which again, he is not) that he has been portrayed to be, future historians will not view that as importantly in analyzing his administration as it had been while that administration was in progress. Of course, history has only begin the process of analyzing, so it will be a while before we know the verdict.

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