Is Bush a Conservative?
By the end of 2003, after months of falling popularity and an unceasing barrage of criticism from Democratic presidential aspirants, George W. Bush suddenly seemed to be leading a charmed life. His surprise visit to U.S. troops in Baghdad over the Thanksgiving holiday introduced a note of high confidence and inspiration. Two weeks later, the world was treated to footage of a helpless and disheveled Saddam Hussein in American custody. Although attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq continued, their ferocity diminished amid promising signs that the battle to rebuild Iraq and fight terrorism elsewhere was on course. Within days of Saddam Hussein’s capture came the announcement that Muammar Qaddafi had agreed to open his program for amassing nuclear weapons to international inspection. That same week, France, Germany, and Russia, persistent opponents of the Iraq war, acceded to American requests to forgive a portion of Iraqi debts. By mid-December, a CBS poll showed 59 percent of Americans approving of the way the President was handling Iraq—the highest level since early July.
At home, there was still more good news for the White House. In late November, the Commerce Department reported that the economy had grown at a startling 8.2 percent in the third quarter—the highest level in nearly two decades and a figure that exceeded even the most optimistic projections. There followed a cascade of other positive economic announcements. Inflation and interest rates were at their lowest point in decades. Productivity was historically high. Housing starts were soaring. Manufacturing, only recently thought to be disappearing from the America landscape, hit its highest level in twenty years.
About the Author
Daniel Casse is a senior director of the White House Writers Group, a Washington, D.C. communications firm.