Leadership of George Bush
An Insider's View of the Forty-first President
Publication Year: 2009
Published by: Texas A&M University Press
Preface and Acknowledgments
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George Bush sat straight up, his back rigid but his chest heaving slightly as he sought to hold back the tears. Barbara Bush sat quietly, unmovable, a glint of satisfaction and pride sparkling in her eyes. George Bush’s eyes welled and his face tightened as he continued to stare at the television screen. ...
One: The making of a Leader
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Inauguration day, January 1989, was unseasonably warm. The temperature hit a high of fifty-one degrees. It was mild, but breezy, with mostly cloudy skies. Inauguration day is a remarkable symbol of one of humanity’s greatest achievements: the peaceful transfer of power based on democratic principles. ...
Two: Bush's Principles of Leadership
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Dr. Allen Weinstein, who founded and headed the Center for Democracy, and one of its board members, Senator Richard Lugar (R- Indiana), came to visit President Bush in the Oval Office in December 1989. The center was preparing to monitor the Nicaraguan elections to be held in February 1990, and Weinstein, who had just returned from a visit to that country, came to brief Bush on the progress of the election process. ...
Three: The Vision Thing
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The president’s ability to convey a message to the public is an important element of official leadership and can determine the overall success of the administration. FDR’s New Deal and Kennedy’s New Frontier rhetoric and philosophy, for example, instilled hope, optimism, and a sense of exhilaration in the American electorate, thus strengthening their respective hands as leaders. ...
Four: Organizing the Leadership Structure
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As air Force One started its descent, Souda Bay stretched out below, the blue color of this inlet of the Mediterranean shimmering under the sun. Two ships, the USS De Wert and the Greek naval vessel Limnos, proudly sat stern to stern, reaffirming the cooperation of the two countries in the recent Gulf War. Bush was coming to the island of Crete in July 1991 to thank Greece for its support of the war. ...
Five: Behind the Scenes
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When he was national security adviser to President Reagan, Frank Carlucci held the view that by 6:00 p.m. the work day should be finished and one should set off for home. It was an appealing notion, and Carlucci was often able to meet his own deadline. Unfortunately, for a White House staffer there is no magic end to the work day and the sacrifices that a staffer must make. ...
Six: Delivering the Message
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Communication is probably the most powerful tool in the president’s leadership arsenal. At a moment’s notice, the president can garner national and international media attention, and those executive pronouncements can have an immediate impact. How the president communicates can be just as important as what the president communicates. ...
Seven: Bush and the World of Diplomacy
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Bush openly admitted to his keen interest in foreign policy and was often accused—unfairly in his view—of favoring foreign over domestic policy. His enjoyment of foreign policy is clearly seen in his memoirs, written after he left office. A World Transformed, jointly authored with Scowcroft, deals exclusively with the international issues his administration faced. No similar memoir on domestic policy has appeared. ...
Eight: Dealing with Congress
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The success of any president’s domestic agenda depends on the support of Congress and the initiative a president demonstrates in presenting legislation. The relationship with Capitol Hill underscores a president’s negotiating skills and ability to form consensus and reach compromise—essential elements for the success of a legislative agenda. ...
Nine: Managing the Economy and the Campaign of 1992
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In addition to the difficulty of dealing with Congress, Bush faced a number of other challenges that tested his personal and managerial skills. The most pressing of these were the economy and the reelection campaign. ...
Postscript: Studying the Presidency
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Since world War II, there have been various surveys and polls that seek to rank the presidents. In these rankings there are a perennial few who continue to lounge in the lower half of appreciation, while others have consistently high ratings. Leading the list of those considered the greatest presidents are Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Harry Truman. ...
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Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 14 b&w photos.
Publication Year: 2009