Portraits: George W Bush   Leave a comment

The White House selected Robert Anderson, a Connecticut portraitist and a Yale classmate of the President, to create this painting for the National Portrait Gallery.

The White House selected Robert Anderson, a Connecticut portraitist and a Yale classmate of the President, to create this painting for the National Portrait Gallery.

George Walker Bush (1946 – )

The 43rd President of the United States, 2001 – 2009

AKA: Dubya, W, Bush 43

From: Texas

College: Yale University, Harvard Business School

Married to: Laura Welch

Children: Barbara, Jenna

Party: Republican

Previous Jobs: Lieutenant in the Texas Air National Guard, Oil industry entrepreneur, Owner of the Texas Rangers – a Major League Baseball team, Governor of Texas

In His Words: “The protection of America itself will assume a high priority in a new century. Once a strategic afterthought, homeland defense has become an urgent duty. For most of our history, America felt safe behind two great oceans. But with the spread of technology, distance no longer means security.”

“America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens.”

Bush, George W, photo by Eric Draper

White House photo by Eric Draper

“My administration has a job to do and we’re going to do it. We will rid the world of the evil-doers.”

“If the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation and anger and violence for export. And as we saw in the ruins of two towers, no distance on the map will protect our lives and way of life. If the greater Middle East joins the democratic revolution that has reached much of the world, the lives of millions in that region will be bettered, and a trend of conflict and fear will be ended at its source.”

“Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

“Returning to the moon is an important step for our space program. Establishing an extended human presence on the moon could vastly reduce the costs of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions. Lifting heavy spacecraft and fuel out of the Earth’s gravity is expensive. Spacecraft assembled and provisioned on the moon could escape its far lower gravity using far less energy, and thus, far less cost. Also, the moon is home to abundant resources. Its soil contains raw materials that might be harvested and processed into rocket fuel or breathable air. We can use our time on the moon to develop and test new approaches and technologies and systems that will allow us to function in other, more challenging environments. The moon is a logical step toward further progress and achievement.”

“A year ago my approval rating was in the 30s, my nominee for the Supreme Court had just withdrawn, and my vice president had shot someone. Ah, those were the good ol’ days.”

“We got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel. So I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

“I suspected there would be a good-size crowd once the word got out about my hanging.” – a statement made at the unveiling of his Official White House Portrait

Not true: There was wide-spread reporting during the Bush administration that he was not intelligent. Mix in a little Texas accent, some verbal miscues and a healthy dose of parody from late night comedians, and that image remains common. Here’s an alternative view from Keith Hennessey, former Bush economic advisor and current Stanford business and law professor. Read it, here.

True: Bush was the first President to have an MBA.

Bush won the 2000 Presidential election by winning 29 states, including Florida. The closeness of the Florida election resulted in  an enduring controversy that ended up in the Supreme Court. They ruled that the use of different standards among Florida’s counties violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. This ruling resulted in the machine recount being certified as official, which showed Bush won Florida by 537 votes out of 6 million votes cast. Bush lost the popular vote nationwide, but won the election 271 electoral votes to Gore’s 266.

The 9/11 attacks transformed Bush into a wartime President. George H W Bush, his father and the 41st President, said that his son “faced the greatest challenge of any president since Abraham Lincoln.”

Bush formed a new cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security.

His most controversial act was the invasion of Iraq, on the belief – supported by his advisors – that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and posed a grave threat to the United States. Hussein was deposed, but the weapons of mass destruction were not found, which became an enduring crisis.

The war against terrorism focused on the Taliban and its leader, Osama bin Laden. The Taliban was disrupted, but Bush was blamed for not capturing bin Laden.

With America drawn into an extended war against terror, the domestic economy entered the largest recession in the post-WWII economy. This was exacerbated by the housing crisis, fueled by subprime mortgages and the meltdown of the housing industry. The combination of the war and the economic crisis has lead many historians to rank Bush as one of the worst Presidents.

Bush was one of the most popular, and unpopular, Presidents in history. He received the highest recorded Presidential approval ratings in the wake of the 9/11 attack, and one of the lowest approval ratings during the financial crisis in 2008.

The Official Portrait: John Howard Sanden painted the White House Portrait of Bush, which was unveiled in 2012. There’s an excellent article on Artnet.com, link below, that describes the process and interviews both Sanden and Robert Anderson (who painted Bush’s portrait for the National Portrait Gallery).

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George W Bush Signature

More

Artnet.com: Painting The President

Unveiling The Bush Portrait

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