Did you know that George W. Bush was really the 42nd and not the 43rd president of the United States? This is because Grover Cleveland was both the 22nd and 24th president of the US. George W. Bush, with the W standing for Walker, was the 43rd president, serving from 2001-2009, was president during 9/11, and the invasion of both Iran and Iraq. He was also president during the hurricane Katrina disaster, and during the 9/11 attacks it was said that he was facing the  “greatest challenge of any President since Abraham Lincoln.” Bush managed to push through all of these disasters and still managed to stabilize the economy. Bush was also the second Bush in the family to become president as his father was president two terms before him. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and his dad was George H. W. Bush, naming his son George W. Bush, (he wasn’t very creative). They moved to midland Texas and bought a small home at 405 East Maple3, nicknamed Easter Egg  Row4. Bush Sr. got into the oil industry and in 1951 the Bushes bought a bigger house to for their growing family. The house was actually built in 1939, but by the time that they got around to buying it, two additional buildings and a detached garage had been added making the total square footage of the house a meager 1547 square feet. Bush was the oldest of 6 children, and went to highschool in Houston and then completed it at a boarding school, Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. He then received his Bachelor degree at Yale University in 1968 and then served as a Fighter Pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. After serving, he went to to Harvard Business School and received a Master of Business Administration in 1975. After that, Bush moved back to Midland to pursue a career in the oil industry. He married Laura Welch in 1977, a native of Midland and a teacher and librarian. Together they had twin daughters, Jenna Welch Bush and Barbara Pierce Bush born in 1981. He helped his father with his 1988 presidential campaign and then organized and along with a group of partners purchased the Texas Ranger baseball franchise in 1989. He was also the general managing partner until he became the governor of Texas on November 8th, 1994. He became the first governor to be elected four consecutive years and then ran for president in 1999 and the voting election was held in November 7th, 2000. He was declared the winner 6 days later and was inaugurated as the 43rd president of the United States of America on January 20, 2001. It was these preceding years of his life in position of power that prepared him for the role of presidency and the great issues that would face our nation at this time. He was known for his love of the sport golf and for having been the CEO and stake owner of the Texas Rangers before selling the team. He was also one of the most popular presidents among his troops and was supported tremendously because of his war policy and his determination to protect America and what she stood for. At first, Bush was unsure of whether or not to run for president. But then, one sunday morning in Church, the message about Moses leading his people of Egypt convinced him that this was his calling, just as leading the people of Egypt was Moses’. He told his campaign manager to begin preparing for a presidential campaign, and had much success thanks to his family name, connections, and the ability for fundraising. He had some rough spots during the Iowa caucuses but when he was asked what historical philosopher he admired the most he answered “Christ, because He changed my heart.” This won over many evangelical Christians in Iowa, and because of this he was able to place first in the Iowa caucuses. Despite his success in Iowa because of this statement, it raised some alarm in the national press. He went on to win 9 of the 13 primary states on Super Tuesday. Next, he needed a running partner, so he called Dick Cheney to see if he would be up to the task of Vice President. Although many opposed bring Cheney into office instead of someone else because he brought little to the table politically, Bush decided to do it anyways. The only country that Cheney brought to the table was his own state of wyoming, which normally voted Republican anyways. However, Bush knew that having an experienced politician and a “veteran Washington insider” would more than pay off.  Bush released that he needed “someone with whom I was comfortable, someone willing to serve as part of a team, someone with the Washington experience that I lacked, and most important, someone prepared to serve as President at any moment.” Within nine months of taking office the september 9/11 attacks happened. More than three thousand people died and the world trade center was destroyed and the pentagon damaged. Because of this, the wars on terror and airport security checks ensued. “Bush responded by instituting a U.S.-led “war on terror”. He pushed for broader governmental surveillance powers, including those enabled in the PATRIOT Act, and also for expanded powers of extrajudicial detention.” On February 7th, 2002, he released a statement saying that  “I determined…. that members of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces are unlawful enemy combatants who are not entitled to the protections that the Third Geneva Convention provides to prisoners of war.” He went on to say that Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Saddam Hussein were behind these terrorist attacks. It was later found out that although Saddam Hussein was not involved in these attacks, Al Qaeda and the Taliban were. Bush was also president during the Hurricane Katrina disaster, however, as tragedy after tragedy struck the US, Bush still managed to persevere. During the disaster, his wife, Laura Bush held a fundraiser to keep a local school open, and in 2015 President Bush went back to that school for the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and took pictures with the local students.  “In a speech at the school, the former president said he will never forget the images of “misery and ruin” from Katrina. He said New Orleans was a city where “the levies gave out but … the people never gave up.”” However, the federal government was slow to respond to Hurricane Katrina, and Bush’s legacy was marred because of it. He is quoted as saying that “in a national catastrophe the easiest person to blame is the president,” he goes on to say that  “Katrina presented a political opportunity that some critics exploited for years.” His troops loved him because he knew what it was like to serve in the military, and that he understood what they wanted and what it was like to be in their shoes. Bush was willing to do anything for his country, he even quit his favorite hobby, golfing, because it was considered “disrespectful” to the fallen. Bush left office with an approval rate of 33% and a disappointing 60 percent of Americans thinking that he would be forgotten in the records of history. However, when he was asked about this, he replied with “I was also the most popular president,” referring to the 9/11 attacks and his popularity with the troops of America. Bush also lost major popularity during the Hurricane Katrina natural disaster and that “the problem was not that I made the wrong decisions; it was that I took too long to decide.” Bush’s policy never recovered and he lost popularity with the American people. All the conspiracy theories that Bush did 9/11 and that we went to the Middle East for oil didn’t help either. Despite this, it has been said that Bush “has an inner confidence…that what he did was right.” Most politicians hunger for power and money, but Bush wasn’t a normal politician. He seemed to enjoy resigning from presidency and the time away from power and politics in his home Prairie Chapel Church in Crawford, Texas. George and Laura Bush also bought a home in a Dallas neighborhood near a Southern Methodist Church in Texas. He almost immediately became a huge part of the community hosting local barbecues and attending local events. He is also very involved in the George W. Bush foundation that he founded at SMU. Because of his mentor, Winston Churchill, he took up painting as an additional hobby. He also enjoys golfing, biking, reading American history, and watching Texas Ranger baseball games. He supplements his pay by giving paid speeches and from the pension of being a former president. All around, I learned that although Bush was extremely unpopular at the end of his terms, he was a great president as the economy was stable, and he did whatever he could for his country including the invasion of the middle east to stop the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Al Qaeda. I believe that he was a great president and had the countries best interests at heart.


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