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Assessing the George W. Bush PresidencyA Tale of Two Terms$
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Andrew Wroe and Jon Herbert

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748627400

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748627400.001.0001

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George W. Bush and the US Congress

George W. Bush and the US Congress

(p.13) Chapter 2 George W. Bush and the US Congress
Assessing the George W. Bush Presidency

Robert Singh

Edinburgh University Press

During the 2000 presidential election campaign, George W. Bush had promised to be a ‘uniter, not a divider’. With a bare majority of Republicans in Congress, Bush was widely expected to deliver on his promise and reach out across the aisle to forge bipartisan consensus. By the end of his two terms in office, however, it was self-evident that Bush had been ‘a divider, not a uniter’. Having successfully made the 2006 mid-term elections a referendum on Bush's faltering leadership, congressional Democrats viewed the president with a mixture of contempt, derision and disgust — although they subsequently proved unable to reverse his policies on Iraq despite their majorities in the 110th Congress. The combination of a polarising and ideological presidency with tactical pragmatism and realpolitik was vividly manifest in the financial crisis of autumn 2008. To his sternest critics, Bush's polarising and disdainful treatment of Congress and his extraordinary claims to executive authority together ‘undermined two of the fundamental principles upon which the United States was established: the rule of law and the Constitution’.

Keywords:   George W. Bush, United States, Congress, Republicans, Democrats, pragmatism, realpolitik, elections, financial crisis, rule of law

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