Taking the Measure: The Presidency of George W. Bush

By Donald R. Kelley; Todd G. Shields | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Conclusion
Power and Political Capital
in the George w. bush Presidency

Steven E. Schier

The George W. Bush presidency had big impacts in both its broader regime construction efforts and everyday governing style. At the systemic level, George W. Bush energetically used his formal and informal powers in an attempt to entrench a durable, conservative GOP regime, a stable partisan hegemony that would persist for years to come. His ambitions were blunted through the limits imposed by the partisan polarization that his regime construction efforts spawned. As difficulties mounted in his second term, additional limits to Bush’s ambitions appeared. Declining public approval of the president increased internal divisions within his governing party, greatly damaging the stability and durability of his governing coalition. The Democratic takeover of Congress in 2006, combined with Bush’s persistently low job approval during his second term, ultimately frustrated Bush’s regime ambitions. The preceding chapters illuminate various aspects of Bush’s presidency. My concluding chapter incorporates many points from their analyses in its argument.


Regime Ambitions and Leadership Style

How can we define Bush’s “regime ambitions”? As mentioned above, his central project was the promotion of a conservative Republican political regime. This

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