Bush on the Home Front: Domestic Policy Triumphs and Setbacks

By John D. Graham | Go to book overview

11
Meltdown and Bailouts

The last year of a president’s second term is supposed to be a dud because Congress has no incentive to negotiate or cooperate with a lame duck. Bush’s persistently low public approval ratings in his second term (they sagged below 30 percent in many polls) certainly removed any fear of him among Democrats. Indeed, Bush became so unpopular that neither Democrats nor moderate Republicans—at least those up for re-election in 2008—were eager to publicly collaborate with him.

Interestingly, the disturbing economic developments of 2008 forced a degree of bipartisan collaboration in Washington that was unprecedented during Bush’s eight years in office. As a result, the housing and financial legislation of 2008 may have more long-term impact on the United States than even the flurry of bipartisan legislation that was passed in the months after 9/11, including the Patriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. As we shall see, Bush’s final year was one of activist legislation that underscores the

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Bush on the Home Front: Domestic Policy Triumphs and Setbacks
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface and Acknowledgments vii
  • 1 - Ambiguous Mandate, Polarized Congress 1
  • 2 - Lower Taxes, More Spending 27
  • 3 - The Social Security Debacle 54
  • 4 - Making Sure Kids Learn 63
  • 5 - Drug Coverage for Seniors 93
  • 6 - Producing More Energy 115
  • 7 - Consuming Less Energy 163
  • 8 - Cleaner Air, Warmer Climate 194
  • 9 - Illegal Immigration- Punishment or Amnesty? 221
  • 10 - Tort and Regulatory Reform 251
  • 11 - Meltdown and Bailouts 272
  • 12 - Taking Stock, with Lessons for Future Presidents 292
  • Notes 333
  • Index 403
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