George H. W. Bush's Presidency

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How did Reagan's presidency impact George H. W. Bush's administration?

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To some extent, President Bush remained in the shadow of his more charismatic predecessor. Although Bush inherited a number of foreign policy successes from Reagan, such as the de-escalation of the arms race with the Soviets, he also found himself having to deal with a general perception that the Reagan Administration had presided over an age of greed and rampant individualism which had turned the United States into a more selfish nation.

Bush seemed to acknowledge this fact when he referred, in his nomination speech, to his vision for a "kinder, gentler" America, yet in actuality, Bush pursued much the same kind of approach as Reagan in relation to economic policy—the very same policy he'd once derided as "voodoo economics." As the economy began to decline, with higher unemployment and ballooning deficits, an increasing number of voters began to blame Bush, even though he was simply continuing the policy left to him by Reagan.

Despite Bush's foreign policy successes—most notable the rapid Allied victory in the First Gulf War—he became associated in the minds of many Americans with economic decline, and it was this factor more than any other which led to his defeat in the presidential election of 1992.

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