George H. W. Bush's Presidency

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Was George H. W. Bush a good president?

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Good is such a relative term, so examining some key aspects of George H. W. Bush's presidency might prove more effective, as anyone can find strengths and discontent in any president's service.

Foreign Policy: George H. W. Bush served as a torpedo bomber pilot on aircraft carriers in the Pacific during WWII, and he took this experience with him to office. Deeply interested in foreign policy, Bush made some key moves in several countries' affairs during his term. He worked with Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union to sign a nonaggression pact, effectively ending the long-running Cold War. They also worked together to reduce the number of weapons that the two countries had in reserves after years of hostilities. Bush's presidency also coincided with the fall of communism in Europe and the Soviet Union. Bush led an initiative against Iraq following its invasion of Kuwait; this led to the Persian Gulf War that began in 1991 and restored Kuwait's independence. Bush proved competent in foreign policy, and his approval rating was around 90% immediately following this victory.

Economic Influence: George H. W. Bush ran for office with a recurring quote: "Read my lips: No new taxes!" Unfortunately, the federal government incurred huge deficits during this time, and Bush ended up raising taxes in an effort to meet the needs of the budget. This caused some distrust among the conservatives who elected him.

Overall Capabilities: Bush brought a great resume to the table. He had served in the military, earning recognition there, and then attended Yale. While at Yale, he was captain of the baseball team and a member of an elite secret society. He graduated and entered the oil industry, eventually becoming president of an offshore drilling company. He served in the US House of Representatives and had been a US Ambassador for the United Nations. He served as Chairman of the Republican Party and Director of the CIA. And, of course, he was Ronald Reagan's Vice President. It's hard to imagine anyone building a more well-rounded experience before assuming the Presidency of the United States.

Important Legislation: Bush is credited with both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Clean Air Act Amendments. These were instrumental in reshaping areas of policies that needed a new focus.

Bush only served one term, losing his bid for re-election to Bill Clinton, who was then a governor. Interestingly, Ross Perot, a third-party candidate, earned almost 20% of the popular vote, signifying that Americans were discontent and ready for change. This was likely due to Bush's struggling domestic and economic policies.

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