The Chameleon President: The Curious Case of George W. Bush

The Chameleon President: The Curious Case of George W. Bush

The Chameleon President: The Curious Case of George W. Bush

The Chameleon President: The Curious Case of George W. Bush

Synopsis

George W. Bush's presidency was marred by some of the worst events in modern U.S. history: the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, the events of September 11, 2001; the quagmire of the war in Iraq; widespread fear of terrorism; Hurricane Katrina and the government's delayed, inefficient response; and the Patriot Act, which greatly increased the government's ability to access citizens' private information. Which of Bush's characteristics, influences, or internal motivations were most responsible for this polarizing President's attitudes and decisions?

This book presents 11 competing views of President George W. Bush. The Chameleon President: The Curious Case of George W. Bush does not endorse a particular view of Bush; it is up to the reader to decide which portrayal best explains the 43rd president's surprisingly complex character as well as his political legacy. The author synthesizes popular claims from various sources to provide possible explanations for Bush's seemingly contradictory characteristics. Examples of the influences considered include his intelligence, immaturity, and religious beliefs; his upbringing in West Texas; his misfortune to have been in charge during a terrorist attack and a rare natural disaster; his vice president; and his unstated agendas-political, business, and family-driven.

Excerpt

Imagine we took some of the worst events in American history and crammed them into a span of eight years: the Great Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Vietnam War, the Red Scare, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and the Alien and Sedition Acts (passed in 1798 by President John Adams and used to quash the constitutional rights of his political enemies). For many Americans, that’s what eight years of George W. Bush’s administration felt like: We had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, the 9/11 attacks, a quagmire in an unnecessary war in Iraq, widespread fear of terrorism (bolstered and used for political purposes by Bush), Hurricane Katrina and the government’s pathetic response, and the Patriot Act, which also allowed the government to run roughshod over citizens’ rights. The only thing missing is the Civil War (unless the partisan warfare waged by the not-so-compassionate Bush, Tom Delay, and Trent Lott can be counted).

With Bush gone, we may now say, in the words of President Gerald Ford, “our long national nightmare is over.” Well, not “over” exactly, but the man who piloted (or perhaps “sunk”) our Ship of State is sitting on his porch in Crawford, Texas (or inside his gated community in Dallas) without a care in the world. (He always seemed too damnably chipper, even as he was steering us toward the icebergs—what few were left after he did nothing about global warming.)

This book is a postmortem on the ugly body of work known as George W. Bush’s presidency. It seeks to consider the role of Bush himself in this debacle and to discover what kind of man yields this kind of presidency. It draws upon the record itself and many interpretations of that record that . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.