clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


There's no mystery about President Bush. He's the broccoli-hating, dog-loving, war-winning president who wants to devote the same energy to America's problems that he's applied to crises overseas.

But wait, look again.He's the read-my-lips promise-breaker, tax-hiker, status-quo-defender and protector of the wealthy, a leader more interested in the economic distress of Russians than the misery of unemployed Americans.

One man, two distinctly different judgments. It depends, in part, on the political prism you use.

Here's a look at the president's record:


Bush has arguably the most impressive resume in Washington: Yale graduate, war hero, Texas oil man, congressman, ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican Party, envoy to China, chief of the CIA, vice president and president. Ready to lead from day one, he boasted.

In Bush's view, it comes down to a simple question: Who do you want sitting in the Oval Office? Who's got the temperament, the experience, to make a tough decision when the phone rings with a crisis in the middle of the night?

Who do you trust? Are Americans ready to turn the country over to someone whom most of them had never heard of a year ago?

When Saddam Hussein's troops stormed into Kuwait, a resolute Bush rallied world leaders into a remarkable coalition, sent 500,000 Americans into the face of battle and forced Iraq to withdraw.

When critics ask what he's done at home, Bush points to a sweeping Clean Air Act (although the administration has failed to complete dozens of regulations to put the law into effect), a landmark Civil Rights Act (which Bush signed a year after vetoing a similar measure), and a movement called America 2000 to spur fundamental changes in the nation's classrooms.


What does Bush stand for? What does he believe in? He's flip-flopped on everything from abortion to voodoo economics. In the 1960s he was against civil rights and open housing legislation and then voted for the 1968 Fair Housing Act. As president he promised no-net-loss of the nation's swamps, marshes and other wetlands but then endorsed a plan that would allow development on tens of millions of acres, including parts of the Florida Everglades.

Trust Bush? What about that broken no-new-tax pledge?

Unlike Ronald Reagan, Bush is not a skilled orator, able to convince voters that it's "Morning in America" while they're worrying about their jobs.

And if Bush is so good at foreign policy, why is Saddam still in power?

Ann Lewis, a Democratic political strategist, said, "The single biggest Bush weakness is non-performance in office. It is a lack of leadership and attention to the nation's well-being that has been so noted and absorbed by voters over the last 21/2 years that they are almost simmering with anger about it."

Americans are anxious about their future, particularly their economic well-being. The economy has done poorer under Bush than under any other president since World War II. Americans have seen Bush act presidential on the world stage and have concluded he could have done more at home if he wanted.