George W. Bush was, at the time of his presidency one of the least respected world leaders. This, despite that fact that he was in charge of what was then and still is now, one of the most powerful countries in the world. Although time has allowed him to fade from the public consciousness somewhat, this essay seeks to explore what led to his two term presidency being so easily mocked.
The first clue might come from his pedigree. His father, George H. W. Bush had been president before him. Like the children of celebrities who must work harder than others to prove their own worth, George W. Bush would have needed to be exceptional to escape from his father’s shadow. He managed to carve a niche for himself in politics but perhaps not for the right reasons.
His grades at school were never anything to inspire awe and he is rumored to have been a straight C student throughout college. In either case, one of his defining features became his use of what would be termed by the press as ‘Bush-isms’. His mispronunciation of the word ‘nuclear’ was one of them as was his butchering of the names of many foreign leaders. Whatever he may have been capable of, he never came across to the public as a very smart man which made some of his most powerful decisions that much harder to bear.
The September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and other parts of the country took place during his first term. With the country clamoring for action he was swift but sadly inaccurate. After stating that the attacks were masterminded by the Al Qaeda network, he went on to bomb Afghanistan, one of the world’s poorest countries. The fight soon moved to Iraq with little sign of the network’s leader, Osama bin Ladin among the civilian casualties.
The country was frightened and had a history of reelecting the presidents that led them into war so he was given a second term. In this space of time more American soldiers died, more ‘collateral damage’ piled up in the Middle East and the seeds of further distrust were sown for many generations to come.
Some may say that with a closer inspection of the Florida ballots, Al Gore would have been president and the world would be running on solar energy. Unfortunately this is a reality we will never see.