There is no shortage of opinions on the legacy that George W. Bush will leave as 43rd President of the United States. Recognizing that Bush the Younger has been variously described as dimwitted, opportunistic, innovative, and bold, it would be presumptuous to draw any hard and fast conclusions about how history will view him. Nevertheless, it is well within academia's ability to begin to make preliminary judgments by weighing the evidence we do have and testing assumptions.
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the initially successful military campaign in Afghanistan, Bush and his administration enjoyed nearly unprecedented popularity. But after failures in Iraq and in the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Bush's approval ratings plummeted. Guided by a new framework, Judging Bush boldly takes steps to evaluate the highs and lows of the Bush legacy according to four types of competence: strategic, political, tactical, and moral. It offers a first look at the man, his domestic and foreign policies, and the executive office's relationship to the legislative and judicial branches from a distinguished and ideologically diverse set of award-winning political scientists and White House veterans. Topics include Bush's decision-making style, the management of the executive branch, the role and influence of Dick Cheney, elections and party realignment, the Bush economy, Hurricane Katrina, No Child Left Behind, and competing treatments of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Contributors include Lara M. Brown, David B. Cohen, Jeffrey E. Cohen, Laura Conley, Jack Covarrubias, John J. DiIulio, Jr., William A. Galston, Frederick M. Hess, Karen M. Hult, Lori A. Johnson, Robert G. Kaufman, Anne M. Khademian, Lawrence J. Korb, Patrick McGuinn, Michael Moreland, Costas Panagopoulos, James P. Pfiffner, Richard E. Redding, Neil Reedy, Andrew Rudalevige, Charles E. Walcott, and Shirley Anne Warshaw.
About the authors
Robert Maranto is the 21st Century Chair in Leadership in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Tom Lansford is Academic Dean of the Gulf Coast campus and Associate Professor of Political Science, International Development & Affairs at the University of Southern Mississippi. Jeremy Johnson is a doctoral candidate in political science at Brown University.
"Working within a pragmatic and flexible framework, this volume's contributors demonstrate an admirable mixture of daring and restraint as they expertly analyze the uncommonly consequential presidency of George W. Bush. The result is a timely and evenhanded book that sets the standard for presidential retrospectives."
—Thomas S. Langston, Tulane University
"It surely is much too early to know whether George W. Bush will share company with the great, good, nearly forgotten, or generally reviled past presidencies. But these balanced essays do an admirable job of jump starting the conversation about the historical significance of a leader who held office when the terrorists struck home, the oceans demolished a great American city, two wars raged abroad, and, in the waning hours, our economy collapsed."
—William G. Howell, University of Chicago
"Covering every major dimension of Bush's performance in the White House, Judging Bush will be an indispensable source on this most consequential presidency for years to come."
—Paul J. Quirk, University of British Columbia
"More than 20 contributors, most academics, some with executive branch experience, evaluate Bush's competences as revealed by war, foreign policy, response to Hurricane Katrina, and other challenges.... Recommended."
—P. Lermack, Choice