George H W Bush

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George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) was the 41st President of the United States (19891993). Previously, he had served as U.S. congressman from Texas (19671971), ambassador to the United Nations (19711973), Republican National Committee chairman (19731974), Director of Central Intelligence (19761977), and the 43rd Vice President of the United States under President Ronald Reagan (19811989). He is the father of the 43rd and current president, George Walker Bush. As of 2005 he is the only President to have had two middle names.

Youth, education

George Herbert Walker Bush was born to Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker. His father served as a U.S. Senator from Connecticut and was a partner in the prominent investment banking firm Brown Brothers Harriman.

George Bush began his formal education at the Greenwich Country Day School in Greenwich, Connecticut. Bush attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts from 1936 to 1942, where he demonstrated early leadership, captaining the baseball team, and was a member of an exclusive fraternity called the A.U.V, or "Auctoritas, Unitas, Veritas" – Latin for "Authority, Unity, Truth". His roommate at the boarding school was a young man named Edward G. Hooker. It was at Phillips Academy that Bush learned of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

World War II: decorated naval aviator

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George H. W. Bush met Babe Ruth as a student at Yale.

After graduating from Phillips Academy in June, 1942, he joined the U.S. Navy on his 18th birthday to become an aviator. After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on June 9 1943, several days before his 19th birthday, which made him the youngest naval aviator to that date.

After finishing flight training he was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) as photographic officer in September 1943. As part of Air Group 51, his squadron was based on U.S.S. San Jacinto in the spring of 1944. San Jacinto was part of Task Force 58 that participated in operations against Marcus and Wake Islands in May, and then in the Marianas during June. On June 19 the task force triumphed in one of the largest air battles of the war. On his return from the mission Bush's aircraft made a forced water landing. A submarine rescued the young pilot, although the plane was lost as well as the life of his navigator. On July 25 Bush and another pilot received credit for sinking a small cargo ship off Palau.

After Bush's promotion to Lieutenant Junior Grade on August 1, San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. On September 2, 1944, Bush piloted one of four aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chichi Jima. For this mission his crew included Radioman Second Class John Delaney and Lieutenant Junior Grade William White, who substituted for Bush's regular gunner. During their attack four TBM Avengers from VT-51 encountered intense antiaircraft fire. While starting the attack, Bush's aircraft was hit and his engine caught on fire. He completed his attack and released the bombs over his target, scoring several damaging hits. With his engine on fire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft. However, the other man's parachute did not open, and he fell to his death. It was never determined which man bailed out with Bush. Both Delaney and White were killed in action. While Bush waited four hours in his inflated raft, several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine U.S.S. Finback. For this action Bush received the Distinguished Flying Cross. During the month he remained on Finback Bush participated in the rescue of other pilots.

Bush subsequently returned to San Jacinto in November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines. When San Jacinto returned to Guam, the squadron, which had suffered 50 percent casualties of its pilots, was replaced and sent to the United States. Through 1944 he had flown 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded aboard the San Jacinto.

Because of his valuable combat experience, Bush was reassigned to Norfolk Navy Base and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. He was later assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, VT-153. With the surrender of Japan, he was honorably discharged in September 1945 and then entered Yale University.

Postwar: Yale, family, oil business

While at Yale, he joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and was elected President. He also captained the Yale baseball team. A left-handed first baseman, Bush played in the first College World Series. As a Senior he was, like his son George W. Bush (1968) and his father Prescott S. Bush (1917), inducted into the Skull and Bones secret society in 1948, helping him to build friendships and political support. Joining the Skull and Bones a year after him at Bush's request was William Sloane Coffin, a fellow classmate from the Phillips Academy. Throughout their lives, they have remained friends despite political disagreement, as Coffin became a notable anti-war activist of the political left.

He married Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945. Their marriage produced six children: George W., Pauline Robinson ("Robin") (1949–1953, died of leukemia), John (Jeb), Neil, Marvin, and Dorothy Walker. The family has built on Bush's political successes, effectiveness as Rockefeller tributaries for four generations of Walkers and Bushes, and those of his father Sen. Prescott Bush, with his son George W. Bush's Governorship of Texas and subsequent election as president, and his son Jeb Bush's election as Governor of Florida. The Bush political "dynasty" has been compared to that of John Adams and the Kennedy family. Bush's maternal grandfather was George Herbert Walker Sr., the founder of G.H. Walker & Co. and namesake of golf's Walker Cup. Bush's uncle George Herbert Walker, Jr. is the current head of the company. Bush's first cousin George Herbert Walker III is the U.S. ambassador to Hungary.

Bush ventured into the highly speculative Texas oil exploration business after World War II with considerable success. He secured a position with Dresser Industries. His son, Neil Mallon Bush, is named after his employer at Dresser, Neil Mallon, who became a close family friend. Dresser Industries, decades later, merged with Halliburton, whose former CEOs include Dick Cheney, George H. W. Bush's Secretary of Defense and, as of 2005, Vice President of the United States.

Rise in politics

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Vice President Bush in a meeting with President Reagan in 1984.

In 1964, Bush ventured into conventional politics by running against Texas' Democratic Senator Ralph Yarborough, making an issue of Yarborough's support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the time many Southern politicians (including the Republican Sen. John Tower of Texas) opposed the legislation. Bush called Yarborough an "extremist" and a "left wing demagogue" while Yarborough said Bush was a "carpetbagger" trying to buy a Senate seat "just as they would buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange". Bush lost in the 1964 Democratic landslide.

He was later elected in 1966 and 1968 to the House of Representatives from the 7th District of Texas. He later lost his second attempt at a Senate seat in 1970 to Democrat Lloyd Bentsen who defeated the incumbent Yarborough in the Democratic primary. Bentsen later became the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in the 1988 presidential election, and in 1993, Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration.

Throughout the 1970s, under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, Bush briefly served in a number of positions, including Chairman of the Republican National Committee, United States Ambassador to the United Nations (1971-1973), US Envoy to Communist China, Director of Central Intelligence, and board member of the Committee on the Present Danger. Bush has since commented that he did not particularly enjoy this string of jobs, saying he never wanted to be a "career bureaucrat." However, had Bush not received this succession of appointments after his Senate defeat in 1970, it is unlikely he would have risen to a level of national prominence in politics.

Vice President

Order: 43rd Vice President
Term of Office: January 20, 1981

January 20, 1989

Preceded by: Walter Mondale
Succeeded by: Dan Quayle
President: Ronald W. Reagan
Political Party: Republican

In 1980, Bush ran for President, losing the Republican Party nomination to Ronald Reagan, the former Governor of California. After some preliminary discussion of choosing former President Gerald Ford as his running mate, Reagan selected Bush as his Vice President, placing him on the winning Republican Presidential ticket of 1980. Bush had declared he would never be Reagan's VP. Bush was many things Reagan had not been - a life-long Republican, a combat veteran, and an internationalist with UN, CIA, and China experience. Bush was also more moderate in his economic positions and political philosophy than Reagan. In the nomination fight against Reagan, Bush had referred to Reagan's supply side-influenced plans for massive tax cuts as "voodoo economics."

The Reagan/Bush ticket won again in 1984, against the Democrats' Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro ticket. During his second term as Vice President, Bush had the distinction of becoming the first Vice President to become Acting President when, on July 13, 1985, President Reagan underwent surgery to remove polyps from his colon. Bush served as Acting President for approximately eight hours, most of which he passed playing tennis.

Presidential Campaign

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Chief Justice William Rehnquist administering the oath of office to President George H. W. Bush during Inaugural ceremonies at the United States Capitol. January 20, 1989.

In 1988, after 8 years as Vice President, Bush ran for President. Though considered the early frontrunner for the nomination, Bush came in third in Iowa, beaten by winner U.S. Senator Bob Dole and runner-up televangelist Pat Robertson. However, Bush went on to win New Hampshire and the nomination. Leading up to the 1988 Republican National Convention, there was much speculation as to Bush's choice of running mate. In a move anticipated by few and later criticized by many, Bush chose little-known U.S. Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana. On the eve of the convention, Bush trailed Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis, then Massachusetts governor, by double digits in most polls. Bush, often criticized for his lack of eloquence compared to Reagan, surprised many by giving possibly the best speech of his public career, widely known as the "Thousand points of light" speech[1] for his use of that phrase to describe his vision of American community. Bush's acceptance speech and a generally well-managed Convention catapulted him ahead of Dukakis in the polls, and he held the lead for the rest of the race.

The campaign was noted as particularly bitter compared to recent ones and became famous for its highly negative advertisements. One advertisement run by the Bush campaign showed Dukakis awkwardly riding in a U.S. Army tank. Another, produced and placed by an independent group supporting Bush, referred to murderer Willie Horton who committed a rape and assault while on a furlough from a life sentence being served in Massachusetts. The Horton case, and Dukakis's unconditional opposition to the reinstatement of capital punishment in the United States, played a role in creating the impression that Dukakis was "soft on crime." These images helped enhance Bush's stature as a possible Commander-in-Chief compared to the Massachusetts governor.

Victory

The Bush-Quayle ticket beat Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen soundly in the Electoral College, by 426 to 111 (Lloyd Bentsen received one vote).

Bush performed very strongly among suburban voters, perhaps owing to his campaign themes of law and order, puncutated by his criticisms of the Massaschuetts furlough program. This was a boon in several swing states. In Illinois, Bush won 69% in DuPage County and 63% out of Lake County, suburban areas which adjoin Chicago's Cook County. In Pennsylvania, Bush swept the group of suburban counties that surround Philadelphia, including Bucks, Delaware, Chester and Montgomery. Bush also won most of the counties in Maryland, perhaps fallout from the fact that Willie Horton committed his infamous criminal acts there. New Jersey, known at the time for its many suburban voters and its moderate Republicanism, went easily for Bush.

Contrary to the suburbs was the decrease among rural counties, easily falling below the support they gave Reagan in 1980 and 1984. In Illinois, Bush lost a number of downstate counties that previously went for Reagan. He lost the state of Iowa by a surprisingly wide margin, losing counties all across the state even in Republican areas. The rural state of West Virginia remained handily in the Democratic column. Bush also performed weaker in the northern counties of Missouri, making the state a close win. Three typically solid Republican states, Kansas, South Dakota, and Montana, came much closer than usual.

Bush's greatest area of strength was in the south, winning most states by wide margins. He also performed very well in the northeast, winning Maine (where he has a residence), New Hampshire (at the time a Republican stronghold), Vermont (a bastion of moderate Republicanism that has since waned), and Connecticut (where his father was a senator). He lost New York, but by a fairly slim margin. He also won Delaware, at the time a swing state. He lost the Pacific northwestern states but kept California in the Republican column for the sixth straight time.

Although his victory was a landslide, Bush in 1988 was the last Republican to carry certain states which have since gained the reputation as "blue states" that favor the Democratic Party in presidential elections. These states are California, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Maine, and Michigan. New Mexico and Iowa used to be in this category, but George W. Bush won both states in 2004, making him the first Republican to carry them since 1988.

Presidency

Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency from its first days. In his January 20, 1989 Inaugural Address upon taking the Presidency, Bush said:

"I come before you and assume the Presidency at a moment rich with promise. We live in a peaceful, prosperous time, but we can make it better. For a new breeze is blowing, and a world refreshed by freedom seems reborn; for in man's heart, if not in fact, the day of the dictator is over. The totalitarian era is passing, its old ideas blown away like leaves from an ancient, lifeless tree. A new breeze is blowing, and a nation refreshed by freedom stands ready to push on. There is new ground to be broken, and new action to be taken."

Tiananmen Square

Main article: Tiananmen Square protests of 1989

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Fall of the Berlin Wall

Main article: Fall of the Berlin Wall

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Invasion of Panama

Main article: Operation Just Cause

Operation Just Cause was the U.S. military invasion of Panama that deposed Manuel Noriega in December 1989.


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Gulf War

File:Bush troops.jpg
President Bush visited American troops in Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day, 1990

As President, Bush is perhaps best known for leading the United Nations coalition in the 1990–1991 Gulf War despite his strong support for Saddam Hussein's regime against Congress over the latter's response to the Halabja affair, when he was Vice President and in his early days as President. In 1990, led by Saddam Hussein, Iraq invaded its oil-rich neighbor to the south, Kuwait. The broad coalition sought to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait and ensure that Iraq did not invade Saudi Arabia. Bush's position was summed up succinctly when he said, "This aggression will not stand," and "this is not a war for oil. This is war against aggression."

In a foreign policy move that would later be questioned, President Bush achieved his stated objectives of liberating Kuwait and forcing Iraqi withdrawal, then ordered a cessation of combat operations —allowing Saddam Hussein to stay in power. His Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney noted that invading the country would get the United States "bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq." [2] Bush later explained that he did not give the order to overthrow the Iraqi government because it would have "incurred incalculable human and political costs... We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq". [3][4] In explaining to Gulf War veterans why he chose not to pursue the war further, he said, "whose life would be on my hands as the commander-in-chief because I, unilaterally, went beyond the international law, went beyond the stated mission, and said we're going to show our macho? We're going into Baghdad. We're going to be an occupying power — America in an Arab land — with no allies at our side. It would have been disastrous." fas.org

President Bush's popularity rating in America soared during and immediately after the apparent success of the military operations, but later fell due to an economic recession.

Fall of the Soviet Union, "New World Order"

As the Soviet Union was unraveling, President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev declared a U.S.-Soviet strategic partnership at the summit of July 1991, decisively marking the end of the Cold War. President Bush declared that U.S.-Soviet cooperation during the Persian Gulf War in 1990-1991 had laid the groundwork for a partnership in resolving bilateral and world problems.


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NAFTA

File:Nafta.jpg
NAFTA Initialing Ceremony, October 1992. From left to right: (standing) President Salinas, President Bush, Prime Minister Mulroney; (seated) Jaime Serra Puche, Carla Hills, Michael Wilson.

Bush's government, along with the conservative Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, spearheaded the negotiatons of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Bill Clinton signed in 1993.


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Failed re-election

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President Bush posing with four previous Presidents during his term

The tail end of the late 1980s recession, that had dogged most of Bush's term in office, was a contributing factor to his defeat in the 1992 Presidential election. Several other factors were key in his defeat, including siding with Congressional Democrats in 1990 to raise taxes despite his famous "Read my lips: No new taxes" pledge not to institute any new taxes. In doing so, Bush alienated many members of his conservative base, losing their support for his re-election. Another major factor, which may have helped Bill Clinton defeat Bush in the 1992 election was the candidacy of Ross Perot. Perot won 19% of the popular vote, and Clinton, still a largely unknown quantity in American politics, won the election.

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The official White House portrait of President George H.W. Bush

Bush's last controversial act in office was his pardon of six former government employees implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal on December 24, 1992, most prominently former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Weinberger had been scheduled to stand trial on January 5, 1993 for allegedly lying to Congress regarding his knowledge of arms sales to Iran and concealing 1700 pages of his personal diary detailing discussions with other officials about the arms sales. As Weinberger's private notes contained references to Bush's endorsement of the secret shipments to Iran, some believe that Bush's pardon was an effort to prevent an order for Bush to appear before a grand jury or possibly to avoid an indictment. Weinberger's indictment stated that Weinberger's notes contradicted Bush's assertions that he had only peripheral knowledge of the arms for hostages deal. Lawrence Walsh, the Independent Counsel assigned to the case, charged that "the Iran-contra cover-up, which has continued for more than six years, has now been completed." Walsh likened the pardons to President Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre. Bush responded that the Walsh probe constituted an attempt to criminalize a policy dispute between the legislative and executive branches. In addition to Weinberger, Bush pardoned Duane R. Clarridge, Clair E. George, Robert C. McFarlane, Elliott Abrams, and Alan G. Fiers Jr., all of whom had been indicted and/or convicted of charges by the Independent Counsel.

Despite his defeat, George H.W. Bush left office in 1993 with a 56 percent job approval rating. [6]


Cabinet

OFFICE NAME TERM
President George H. W. Bush 1989–1993
Vice President J. Danforth Quayle 1989–1993
State James A. Baker III 1989–1992
  Lawrence Eagleburger 1992–1993
Treasury Nicholas F. Brady 1989–1993
Defense Richard B. Cheney 1989–1993
Justice Richard L. Thornburgh 1989–1991
  William P. Barr 1991–1993
Interior Manuel Lujan, Jr. 1989–1993
Commerce Robert A. Mosbacher 1989–1992
  Barbara Hackman Franklin 1992–1993
Labor Elizabeth Hanford Dole 1989–1991
  Lynn Martin 1991–1993
Agriculture Clayton K. Yeutter 1989–1991
  Edward Madigan 1991–1993
HHS Louis W. Sullivan 1989–1993
Education Lauro Cavazos 1989–1990
  Lamar Alexander 1991–1993
HUD Jack F. Kemp 1989–1993
Transportation Samuel K. Skinner 1989–1992
  Andrew H. Card 1992–1993
Energy James D. Watkins 1989–1993
Veterans Affairs Edward J. Derwinski 1989–1993


Supreme Court appointments

Bush appointed the following Justices to the Supreme Court of the United States:

  • David Souter – 1990
  • Clarence Thomas – 1991, making Bush the first Republican president to appoint an African American supreme court justice.

Post-presidency

File:Bushclinton2.jpg
Former presidents Bush and Bill Clinton at Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.

Since his final election campaign, Bush has largely retired from public life and still hates broccoli, an old joke from his days in the Oval Office. The Bushes live in Houston and their summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He holds his own fishing tournament in Islamorada, an island in the Florida Keys.

In April 1993, the Iraqi Intelligence Service attempted to assassinate former President Bush during a visit to Kuwait. However, Kuwaiti security foiled the car bomb plot. On June 26, 1993, the U.S. launched a missile attack targeting Baghdad intelligence headquarters in retaliation for the attack against Bush.

Bush has never written a memoir of his political life, and says he does not plan to. He has, however, published a book containing a series of collected letters (All The Best, George Bush, 1999), and co-authored a book on recent foreign policy issues with his former National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft (A World Transformed, 1998). He has given a number of paid speeches and participated in business ventures with the Carlyle Group.

The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located on the Southwest corner of the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas was renamed after the former president in 1997. The tenth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier will be named USS George H. W. Bush when it is launched in 2009.

In 2001, he became the first president since John Adams to be father of another president when his son George W. Bush, previously Governor of Texas, took office as President of the United States. During his term of office, George H. W. Bush was simply known as President George Bush, since his son had never held elective office and was not especially well-known to the public. He is now referred to by various nicknames and titles, including "Former President Bush," "Bush the Elder," "the first President Bush," "Bush 41," "Papa Bush," and simply "41", in order to avoid confusion between his presidency and that of his son. Although the names of the two men are similar, they are not identical—George W. Bush lacks his father's middle name Herbert—so they are not known as "senior" and "junior."

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Bush, along with his son President George W. Bush, his daughter-in-law, Laura, and another former president, Bill Clinton, pay their respects to Pope John Paul II before the pope's funeral.

Humanitarian efforts

On January 3, 2005, President George W. Bush named him and Bill Clinton to lead a nationwide campaign to help the victims of Asian tsunamis. They both appeared on the Super Bowl XXXIX pregame show on Fox in support of their effort to raise money for relief of the 2004 tsunami in southeast Asia through the USA Freedom Corps, an action which Bush described as "transcending politics." Thirteen days later, they both traveled to the affected areas to see how the relief efforts were going. Despite their history as political opponents in the 1992 United States Presidential Election, the two former presidents have become friends. In June 2005 Bush had Clinton over as a guest, and the two even spent a weekend together in Maine boating. [7] This new friendship has drawn much media attention and many pundits and journalists have commended them for putting partisanship behind them.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it wrought over the Gulf coast, Bush and Clinton have again teamed up to respond to this disaster.

Trivia

Bush was nearly 6 feet, 3 inches tall in his prime, making him one of the tallest U.S. presidents to date.

He was the first President to have two middle names, and the first President to be born in June.

On January 8, 1992, Bush vomited on the Prime Minister of Japan, Kiichi Miyazawa, during a state dinner. He then fainted. The incident, which Bush claimed was nothing more than the flu, was caught on camera and raised questions about his health, in addition to being a major source of embarrassment. (The Japanese named a verb for this incident: "bushuru," meaning "to commit an instance of embarrassing public vomiting.") [8]

Bush is one of three former presidents to be given the honorary title Knight Grand Cross (GCB) by Queen Elizabeth II.

Further reading

  • Tarpley, Webster G. and Chaitkin, Anton. 2004. George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography. Tree of life publications.
  • Barilleaux, Ryan J. and Mary E. Stuckey, eds. Leadership and the Bush Presidency: Prudence or Drift in an Era of Change. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1992.
  • Stephen J. Ducat. 2004. The Wimp Factor. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Bush, George H. W., 1999. All the Best: George Bush: My Life and Other Writings. New York: Scribner.
  • Duffy, Michail & Dan Goodgame 1992. Marching in Place: The Status Quo Presidency of George Bush. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Green, John Robert. 2000. The Presidency of George Bush. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas.
  • Hyams, Joe. 1991. Flight of the Avenger: George Bush at War. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovic Publishers.
  • Podhoretz, John. 1993. Hell of a Ride: Backstage at the White House Follies, 1989-1993. New York: Simon and Schuster.

See also

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External links

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