Politics have been the family business for more than one family in the United States. The familiar family of several generations is the Kennedy family who remains in the political spotlight for fifty-three years and running. As Elizabeth Dole attempts to gain the Republican nomination for the 2000 presidential race she hopes to continue the forty-nine year Dole family streak. Coming close to twenty-five years in politics Bill Clinton prepares to turn the scepter over to Hillary Clinton as she prepares for a possible seat in the United States Senate.
Perhaps the most interesting dynasties are those carried on by father-son teams. Both John Adams and John Quincy Adams were United States Presidents. It also appears as though former President George Bush will be able to watch one of his two Governor sons take the presidential oath in the near future. His namesake child, the current governor of Texas, won in a close and hotly debated election. However, the Texas governor was not always in the limelight and known. According to the June 21, 1999 issue of Newsweek 65% of voters they polled still knew nothing or little of George W. Bush.
When looking at a possible future President of the United Sates of America it is not uncommon to start with there past and works forward to see their progress and failures. George W. Bush attended a preparatory school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. At Andover Bush was an average student with high interest in sports. He successfully finished and the following year attended Yale. During George’s time at Yale he barely seemed to notice his father had been elected to Congress (1966). George, “W” as many refer to him, was not interested in any of the political organizations at the University.
George W. Bush seemed to be more concerned with social matters than political matters. He knew stories about most people that would pass him by on the campus and was a fan of his school’s sports teams. In the late 1960’s he joined a fraternity of Delta Kappa Epsilon, a fraternity for sportsmen and those who loved to watch them. During his stay at Yale Bush had two encounters with the law including drunkenness and misdemeanor theft. After graduating Yale George moved to Houston to live at the ritzy Chateaux Dijon, a popular place for late baby bloomers to live in the 1970’s.
Not only was he changing girlfriends rapidly he was also changing jobs frequently. When he joined the Air National Guard in Texas many criticized him for overriding the long waiting list. The young man denied receiving any special favors from the Guard because of his father’s status. George worked in for an agriculture company at this time and then left calling the work dull and boring. He then worked for a group that mentored young minority athletes but also left that job not being fulfilled. After applying for University of Texas Law School and being denied he applied to Harvard School of Business.
George W. Bush graduated from Harvard with his Masters in Business in 1975. After Harvard George returned to Midland, Texas where he grew up. There he thought that he would try his hand at the oil business. He had no experience in this field yet he insisted on jumping into to it without working his way up the ranks. At the same time he started the oil firm he married a young lady by the mane of Laura Welch, a quiet librarian. In Midland, George thought that he might run for Congress and in the 1977 race he went up against Kent Hance. He won much support in the Midland area but Hance took a huge lead in Lubbock and won the 1977 election.
That wasn’t the only misfortune he experienced during that period in his life. The gas prices were plummeting causing the price of oil to be forced down. Many people in the Midland area were losing jobs and very few oil companies could survive on their own. In 1982 George W. Bush sold 10% of his oil firm to a Panamanian investor. As prices began to fall further Bush began drinking heavier and more steadily. In 1984 he merged the rest of his company with Spectrum 7. Even after Bush took 25% pay cut the oil prices continued on a downward spiral.
Now Spectrum’s best offer was to be bought by an energy company by the name of Harken. In return Bush received $320,000 in stock and was retained as a consultant at a salary of $80,000 a year, $5,000 more than what he was previously earning. He also convinced Harken to employ most of his former employees and he found jobs for the employees that were not taken on by Harken. Other changes were also taking place in his life. After a joint 40th birthday party in Colorado Bush woke up with a hangover severe enough to cause him to quite drinking cold turkey. He also had twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, to take care of.
Now that he had money and no day job he was free to think on an offer that had been made to him several months before the Harken deal. In 1985 Lee Atwater spoke to George Bush about helping run his father’s (the Vice President of the United States) presidential campaign. In 1987 Bush packed up his family in Midland and moved to Washington, D. C. to help his father. The younger George spent countless hours defending his father from harsh journalist, unfaithful staff, and critics. He acted as a surrogate speaker on behalf of his father around the country.
All of his hard work on the campaign not only helped his father win the 1988 presidential election; it also brought him in to the political spotlight as a serious man for the first time. After the elections Bush and his family returned to Dallas, Texas. After being in Dallas for a few years he received a hot tip that the Texas Rangers Baseball team was for sale. Quickly Bush rounded up a group of investors and purchased a portion of the team and was made a manager. The money he used to buy the team he borrowed from a Midland bank where he was a director using his Harken stock as collateral.
His initial $500,000 investment grew to $606,000 and his final return was over $15 million. He was finally in the spotlight as a politician, a businessman, a sportsman, a family man, and as a down home man. He and his partners renovated The Ballpark in Arlington with bond money. His public relations were rising but things in Dallas were not going as smooth as in Arlington. When Bush sold all 212,140 of his Harken stocks in June of 1990 he received $848,569, more the 2 the original value. Less than two months later Harken made the quarterly report and they stated that the company lost more than $23 million dollars.
Bush says he did not know that Harken was going to announce the loss yet he was still criticized by many who said that as a director he should have know. He compounded the problem by not filing a SEC form. After a SEC investigation he was cleared of all charges. One month later Bush resigned from Harken and declared his bid for Governor. Bush took a leave of absence from the Rangers to spend time campaigning for Governor. He traveled the state as a well-known man separate from his father, at least in personality. George’s social circle drew him crowds of the elite oil and businessmen to the down home baseball fans throughout Texas.
George also gained a tart sense of humor when his sister died in 1953 of leukemia. His mother said that since more was expected from George, the oldest son, he diverted their attention by wisecracks and nicknames, a trait that he carries with him to this day. According to the June 1999 issue of Texas Monthly that may also of helped people relax and relate to him as a man and not just a politician while on his campaign trail. After George won the Governor election against Ann Hutchinson he put all of his Rangers assets in to a blind trust and did not sell the team until 1998.
In 1998 he received over $14. 9 million dollars for his share of the team. As a second term Governor of Texas George W. Bush has had a well-kept record. Although the governor of Texas has very little power he and legislation passed the largest tax cut in the states history. He has won praises from teachers by allowing for large teacher pay raises. Crime rate is down and although he did not back a hate-crimes bill the President Clinton urged him to sign his inclusive rhetoric and multicultural appointments have please the Hispanic and African American communities.
His pulling together of political factions saying it is better to work together than to work alone has impressed many leaders of both major parties. Bush is quoted in Time magazine saying, “I’m proud to be a compassionate conservative. I welcome this label, and on this ground, will make my stand. ” According to the Washington Post’s Governors Guide strong families, local control, individual responsibility, and limited responsibility are principles guiding Governor Bush’s major initiatives. He continually states the importance of family and education in society. He says that education is his number one priority.
He believes for our society to become compassionate and responsible we must first teach children to read and comprehend. According to this page he says, “Government is necessary, but not necessarily government. ” His staff knows that any proposal brought before him must encourage personal responsibility, local control, and fiscal responsibility. He has encouraged a voluntary clean up program for companies and individuals to participate in that has brought back $170 million dollars in property and has created 3,000 jobs. Since his first term 115 older companies have reduced emissions by 100,000 each year.
To make Texas a safer place he has aided in passing anti-stalking laws and no sex offender is allowed to live in Texas without registering first with local authorities. He has declared a zero tolerance for violent crimes on school grounds. If any youth is found in violation of a violent of sexually orientated law he or she must be reported to the teachers of that school and he or she pose a threat they may be placed in alternative education programs. He supports the legal drinking age of 21 and has implemented one of the nations toughest anti-youth-smoking laws.
He believes in the death penalty for those who have committed “horrible” crimes. He also believes that Texas prisons are a place of work and punishment. All prisoners in Texas work either building houses for the needy, farming for food banks, making road signs, Braille books, government furniture, or laundry detergent. He also supports welfare reform, creating jobs and not dependency for those in need, yet his 1997 legislation passed a bill not allowing government to interfere with private charity help for these people. Now Governor Bush was ready to make his stand on a national level.
On June 12, 1999 Governor Bush announced he would run for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. He already has the backing of 15 Republican Governors. Even Kent Hance who beat him in the 1977 congressional elections has contributed money. At the beginning no one took Governor Bush’s bid too seriously but as time went by Bush gained steam and support. He was already miles ahead of the other Republicans and Democrats (Vice President Al Gore and former Senator Bill Brady) hoping to earn the nomination for his or her party.
In the Republican race for presidential nomination he faced Elizabeth Dole, Dan Quayle, Steven Forbes, and John McCain. In a Time/CNN poll 55% of those polled would vote for Bush, and 42% for Al Gore, however George Bush had the Republican nominee vote 40% ahead of the runner-up, Elizabeth Dole, who had 14% of the vote according to the Time/CNN poll. George W. Bush had matured a lot form his past and has impressed enough people in high places to earn the most money in the shortest amount of time ever in an United States presidential campaign according to June 30,1999 edition of the Corpus Christi Caller Times.
According to the Caller Times Bush had earned $20 million in just four months leading up to his GOP nomination. Fortunate for Bush he had made a connection with many Americans and not including those who know nothing about him most like him. For Bush supporters it is not the “name brand” that they believe that won him the Presidency, it is the values and policies he stands for. As Bush came out of the bitter fight for the Presidency he is ready to unite the nation and take his role as leader.
President-elect Bush knows that his Presidency has been tainted with the Florida and Supreme Court battles and he must make concessions to be an effective leader. Bush’s top priorities as President are education, health care and health care reform, Social Security, and the budget and tax cuts. The President-elect plans for decentralizing government spills over to privatizing Social Security and parts of national health care. Bush keeps pushing to use the budget surplus for tax cuts and will most likely try to push a tax cut at the beginning of his term.
The rough economic times that have befallen on America will serve as a proving ground for George Bush. The new President will have to forge an economic plan that will better the economy and provide Americans with a sense of safety that was always their with President Clinton. The Cabinet positions that Bush has appointed so far have been labeled savvy and politically sensitive. Following the playbook of Clinton, Bush has selected an ethnic and gender array of people for Cabinet positions. The appointments for Bush’s Cabinet include: Bush has chosen Andrew Card, a longtime Bush family aide.
Card is a former U. S. transportation secretary and was a vice president for government relations for General Motors. Retired Gen. Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a key figure in the Gulf War, is the president-elect’s choice to lead American foreign policy. Bush has nominated Paul O’Neill, 65, the chairman of Alcoa Inc. since 1987 and deputy budget director under President Gerald Ford. Bush has selected Daniel Rumsfeld, a five-time defense secretary under Republican presidents. Rumsfeld plans to continue trying to build a Missile Defense System that he started under Reagan.
Bush has nominated Republican Sen. John Ashcroft of Missouri who lost his bid for re-election. Candidates include John C. “Jack” Lawn, Reagan-Bush Drug Enforcement Agency chief. Possible candidates include Rep. Porter Goss, R-Florida Condoleezza Rice, Russia expert and former provost of Stanford University. Possible nominees include Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson; Gail R. Wilensky, former administrator of the federal Health Care Financing Administration; Kay James, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and past executive of the Family Research Council.
Possible nominees include Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge; Sandy Kress, Bush’s education adviser and former Dallas Democratic Party chairman; former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean; Houston school superintendent Roderick Paige; Arizona education superintendent Lisa Graham Keegan; Pennsylvania Education Secretary Eugene W. Hickock. Bush has named his friend and campaign chairman Don Evans, a Texas oil tycoon. Bush has nominated Ann Veneman, California’s former agriculture director, to become agriculture secretary.