HST210 – US History 1877 to Present
Lecture #18 – George W Bush
Bush vs Gore
- Bush and Gore run on centrist platforms, but no one could figure out who won Florida
(voting machines had malfunctioned).
o polls showed a very tight race
o florida has a lot of electoral votes so they really mattered
o voting machines malfunctioned in heavily democratic areas (that had super old
- Bush was ever so slightly ahead.
- But the Supreme Court refused the Gore teams’ request for a hand recount and declared
Bush the winner (judges voted along partisan lines).
o became a constitutional issue
o supreme court says NOPE, election is over, Bush won
o supreme court decided the election instead of the public
it wasn't constitutional to recount some regions but not other regions
o constitutional law scholars were pissed by judges voting
o if they didn't call the election, Bush wouldn't have legitimacy
- Wealthy Texas oil family
- Attended Yale and Harvard
- Returned to Texas and went into the oil business
- Becomes a born again Christian around the time he enters politics
- Governor of Texas
- won by portraying himself as a down-to-earth ordinary guy
- LOL chose Jesus has his favourite philosopher
o gets the religious vote
- gets the business vote
o promises to reduce taxes
Bush's Economic Policies
- Massive tax cuts, especially for the wealthy
o (supply-side economics)
- Bush-Cheney continue deregulation of business and financial sectors.
o Clinton did the same thing
- Undercut long-standing environmental regulations.
American Power: The Military
- US military spending and firepower dwarfs that of any other nation.
o US is the lone superpower o in 2010, a little over half of the world's military spending is in the US
- Economic growth within the US depends in part on high levels of military spending
o predicted by Eisenhower
o potentially dangerous relationship between the military branch of government
and US industry
- Legislators compete for defense projects for their constituencies.
o the process of allocating defense spending is hugely political
American Power: Economic
- US remains the world’s economic powerhouse (U.S. GDP in 2012 was 15.6 trillion).
o china second largest with GDP of 7.3 trillion
o US national debt: 16 trillion dollars (exceeding GDP)
- Has influence over other economies through trade, investment, and its power within
international financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank.
o US gets lots of say
9/11 and the War on Terror
- 2 commercial jets hijacked by terrorist, crash into world trade centre in new york
- 3000 people died
- third plane crashed into the pentagon
- fourth plane, headed to white house was diverted and crashed into the ground by the
- they underscore the global reach on terrorism and america's vulnerability of secret
- high outpouring of patriotism
- United international community
o support for the US
Bush and 9/11
- Bush is compelled to make US foreign policy the centrepiece of his presidency.
o Bush wasn't a foreign policy guy, but everything changed after 9/11
- Congress passes a Joint Resolution giving the president sweeping powers to use all
necessary force against nations or persons involved in the terrorist attacks of 9/11 (Sept.
Hijackings are the work of Osama Bin Laden and his Terrorist Organization Al-Qaeda
- since 98, bin laden had been calling for a holy war to expel the US from the Middle East
- US had a permanent military residence to the Middle East (Saudi Arabia)
Bin Laden's Al-Qaeda had been training in Afghanistan, under the protection of the Islamic
extremist regime, the Taliban
Operation Enduring Freedom Afghanistan, October 2001 - US offers ultimatum
o hand over Bin Laden and close terrorist camps or we will attack
- American-led military campaign aimed at capturing Osama bin Laden and overthrowing
the Taliban regime
o Britain, Canada, other countries are alongside the US
- By December, the Taliban regime had collapsed, but bin Laden eluded the Americans
- A new republic was established under the leadership of President Hamid Karzai (little
power outside of Kabul)
- Taliban has re-emerged and warlords control large parts of the countryside.
- Opium trade is flourishing.
- NATO International Security Assistance Force and the US-led Operation Freedom is
trying to bring stability to Afghanistan
o trying to bring stability to afghanistan
Axis of Evil
- Bush expands vision of a global war on terrorism
- Bush announces that America now faces a grave and unprecedented danger from