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Wednesday, 23 January, 2002, 14:43 GMT
Bush one year on: Your verdict?
One year one for US President George W Bush, and a year in which he has had to handle some of the most difficult challenges ever faced by world leaders.
His handling of the 11 September attacks and the ensuing war on terrorism increased his popularity, and even his most recent choking on a pretzel while watching a football game, has added to his high ratings.
The collapse of Enron - the biggest corporate failure in US history - has prompted questions about links to Bush's administration and will test his leadership further. Will there be any political fall-out from that financial crisis?
What do you think of George Bush's first year in office? Are his popularity ratings in the US a fair reflection of the job he's done so far?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
James Pittman, England
The man passed out after choking on a pretzel! How can anyone call him smart?
Bush has done one thing that I have not seen a US president do in a long time. He made a bunch of campaign promises while running for president and in the first year made good on them. This guy tells the truth! He may not be the most politically correct person in the world but I for one am sick of political correctness.
Mr Bush I thank you for doing EVERYTHING you promised you would do and more. Thanks for the education bill, thanks for the tax rebate I got, thanks for defending the US and the free world! THANK YOU!
Christina Lund, USA (Santa Barbara, CA)
The man is clearly not up to the job. For the first time in our history both the president and vice-president avoided military service, yet we have no choice but to depend on them to fight terrorism. Afraid to commit large numbers of troops in Afghanistan for political reasons, he's allowed Bin Laden and Omar to slip away, along with tens of thousands of al Qaeda and Taleban, the same sort of timidity that doomed the Carter and Bush 1 administrations.
While Bush is a mediocre President at best, we are all lucky he has such a superb Cabinet. People forget that our government is specifically designed so that it is not just one man making all the decisions. And the recent pretzel incident is just a reminder to us that the President is only human after all. Most people have chocked on food at one point in time, and speaking from experience, it┐s pretty frightening. And to faint while doing it is even worse. But Bush was able to joke about it. Any man who can go through a frightening experience and then joke about it deserves our respect.
Mike W, United States
Considering the events of months past, the Bush administration has handled things well.
The administration does, however, need to better address the Palestinian situation. It is
easy to put a bandage on the al-Qaeda problem, but the real challenge will be creating
a long term commitment to peace. Other domestic and environmental issues leave me
wondering, but consider the alternative-Al Gore? God bless the Reagan packed Supreme Court!
I realize the a lot of people in countries outside of the US don't understand President Bush's stand on a lot of issues, such as the ABM and Kyoto because they are looking at these issues through the biases and needs of their own countries. President Bush was elected as President of the USA and his first responsibility is to defend and represent the interests of our country and not of others. The stands he has taken on issues are those that do just that. It takes a man of courage and principle to do what he knows to be best, even in the face of criticism. Clinton was a smile and "hey, lets all get along" President, so, of course he was popular in other countries. I for one respect and admire President Bush. He is trying to improve schools by making them more accountable and giving parents choices, he wants more Americans to be able to achieve wealth by allowing them to invest part of their retirement in ways that will not only give them more money but will be part of their estate and can be past down to their family and not just reabsorbs by the government. Mainly, he wants the citizens of our country to prosper and he is making stands and working hard to achieve these goals despite a Democrat-controlled Senate. God Bless President Bush for his strength, courage and love of his country.
Mick Clarke, UK citizen living in USA
Great job! George W. is pragmatic and down to earth. I think, in general, working people are tired of the flowery speeches of the politicians. George W. does what he says and says what he does and that gets a lot of respect from me.
I find it ironic that Bush is praised for his action against terrorism while behaving in exactly the way that promoted the terrorist attacks in the first place. There is far worse to come I am sure. Far from stamping out terrorism he has merely fuelled the anger of those who will carry out future attacks.
His controversial stands on Kyoto Treaty and Missile Defence System earned him a bad name. But his war against terrorism has to be lauded. The second half of his one year term proved to be a better half. But it will be good if he doesn┐t remain in the shadow of Powell. The remaining years will only tell how he transforms himself from a Governor of a state to a President of a country.
J. Hill, USA
A man capable of destroying the World.
President Bush has done the most original thing of any world leader in recent history, he has placed extremely intelligent and capable people in Secretary and Cabinet positions that are not "yes men," or political patrons. His management ability of the most intricate and complex position in the world has been better than anyone could have expected. As for Kyoto, that was quite possibly the most flawed international treaty since the Treaty of Versailles. The rest of the world loves to site and point the finger at the US but only one other European nation ratified the Kyoto protocol. Bush is standing up for what everyone knows it right but just does not want to say it
George Bush has been a disaster for the United States and the World. His domestic policies, which are all intricately linked with the acquisition of money and/or oil, are wreaking havoc on the poor and destitute of his country, while he and his cronies are busy trashing the Constitution they swore to defend. At the same time, his foreign policy, if one could call it that, is being directed by a secretive group of associates which is made up almost entirely of people with close ties to the defence and/or oil industries, but which does not include even one diplomat among its members.
George Bush will go down as the worst president in the entire history of the United States.
My hat's off to this man who showed the "stuff he is made of" in spite of what all the negative predictions were.
For the past year, George Bush's performance in the World's political arena is indeed fantastic!. His prompt action in reply to Sept 11 is commendable and shall be the new author of the 21st Century. He speaks with conviction and he does not mince his words. When he was at ground zero, this is what he said, " I am sad... and angry." Indeed, the true character of a statesman of high office. The turbulent World has been subdued and peace is once again in the horizon. On that note, President, Sir, I salute you.
Marx Augustus von Schlect, Washington, DC, USA
Despite technically "losing" the election by receiving less votes, Bush has had a mixed year. Although he has rallied people by the war on terror, his performance at home has been poor. He is now in further trouble over the ENRON affair.
We just have to wait and see how he performs in 2002.
Our people have shown a level of unity and support for Bush, unprecedented by any other president in his first year in office. That is an historical fact. In what seems to me an outward display of our jubilation and reassurance given by who the marginal majority of us had voted for, we've quite unanimously now chosen to give Bush his excellent ratings, evidently to save only one thing: our pride. We have chosen to accept the world view that we are the most powerful nation. Yet, in our dogged determination to remain loyal to our president, we've also chosen to defy nations, reject world-concerted efforts, ignore international laws, and to become oblivious to anything that doesn┐t serve in our interests.
Mr Bush has shown incredible courage and has started us all on a path which will not accept minorities using force to get their way - no matter how just they believe their cause to be. He should now be the instigator of a world government who pass basic laws which all humans have to abide by. This new government would have the power to sort out all the minority views around the world and gradually we would accept that we are humans living together on this earth and not just the people of a particular country. Yes, Mr Bush has far exceeded my expectations but please don't stop here - the world's future depends on us governing the world as a whole and not just our own patch. Good luck to him.
Karl, Los Angeles, USA
To everybody in the UK who seems intent on destroying Bush and his reputation, how has Mr Blair done in the UK for you? Worst public transport/health system/education/crime rate in Europe! First take the plank out of your own eye...
Well I think this current president is quite the appropriate leader for the 21st century United State of America. He truly represents the state of the nation and the state of its people. And I mean that sincerely folks!
Bush has one real talent, as far as I can see. He is able to delegate responsibility effectively within his government. Therefore, Colin Powell does his bidding internationally, Rumsfeld runs the war and Cheney is president in all but name. I'm not a Bush supporter but right now it all seems to be working for the country. We are united as we never were before.
The best man that we have ever had in that office.
I have and always will be a great admirer of the USA. But Bush and previous presidents (except perhaps Reagan) since JFK have managed to take away that nearly unique American quality of achieving the impossible. What they and we need is some serious inspiration to revitalise that spirit and lift the rest of the world along with them.
Considering the circumstances surrounding the election, he's doing an OK job domestically but an outstanding job internationally. He's handling the war well and good riddance to Kyoto and the ABM Treaty. He's still learning but compared to the pirate that recently occupied the Oval Office my complaints are few.
I would just like to ask Ned from the USA how he can possibly think George Bush has done a good job on the international scene? He has been terrible, which is why looking at these comments from anyone else other than the US, they are extremely negative. George Bush has not even left the country since September 11, so how Ned can even say he has done a good job is beyond me. A prime minister like Tony Blair, for example, has excelled recently in foreigin issues, by being the statesman. George Bush is nothing but disappointing, and as soon as America wakes up to this, they can vote in a President who is remotely respectable, on a national and international front.
Chase Warford, USA
Despite all the frenzied attempts by the international press to convince us of the contrary, Bush has simply coasted around all his problems uttering loads of obvious banalities. The economic situation has not improved. His torrents of words and bombs over Afghanistan haven't even led to the capture of the main suspects for the September atrocities. His handling of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis has also been disastrous. The list goes on and on. That anyone could give a favourable vote to this third-rate politician's clumsy attempts at playing the role of world leader is really incredible. The only US political figure who has come out reasonably well out of this mess is Colin Powell. Pity that the world's richest and best armed nation has to be run this way!
Adam Stephens, UK
I think Bush has done a fantastic job over the last 12 months. His handling of the terrorism incidents has been focused, deliberate and shown substantial results to date. I shudder to think how Al Gore would have handled the same challenges. I also think people should stop criticising the war in Afghanistan and look at the thousands of jubilant faces now freed from lawlessness, tyranny and a petty criminal junta regime. As for Enron, this was so clearly a perfect episode of how government should work. It is good to see that Enron gave more to Bush than any other donor and yet failed to influence him into some type of intervention. Clinton would have been bending over backwards to circumvent the law. It is one thing for officials of a corporation to call and ask for intervention and quite another to propose a conspiracy by the government. People should read the news accounts more closely.
He has been disappointing to say the least. His biggest challenge when he moved into the White House was to improve the economy and welfare system. But he has done the exact opposite and still doesn't have a clue about the condition the economy is in. All he does care about is picking a fight. But then the Bush name is synonymous with starting conflicts.
Courageous, brilliant, totally appropriate, communicative, outstanding leadership! America deserves George Bush and we needed his expertise to lead us out of the nightmare the US has experienced under Clinton. Bravo President Bush! You are a true hero and a great leader. I stand behind my president 110%!
Let's see - there was the Kyoto agreement, the Genoa Summit, the constant blunders (most recently with regards to abbreviating 'Pakistani' on television to an offensive nick-name), isolationist policies that alienate the rest of the world and oh yes, war. It's scary that a man with no understanding of global policy (and who recently demonstrated a lack of ability to eat a snack food) is in charge of a nuclear nation. The fact that he hasn't left the US since 11 September and that in the first 60 days of office he took 31 days holiday shows a man who was not designed for the job but is merely a puppet for big business. Bush should make the US become part of an international community rather than just bullying it.
In terms of doing what a president is meant to do - impress the interests of his backers on a politically naive populace - he did great. Bush turned a war about Caspian oil into a war on terrorism; used the World Trade Centre attacks as a patriotic pointer to spark nationalism and racism and shovelled heavy-handed legislation through Congress. In world terms, not so good. He's helped de-stabilise the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent and US - Russian and Chinese relations, upset the EU over Kyoto and just about everyone you care to mention (including the Inuit, and they're pretty hard to annoy!)
He had two starting advantages: he followed Clinton, after whom the only path was up and he has had two major international crises to focus his leadership which he and his team handled effectively: the China spy flight and Afghanistan. He is calm, straightforward and listens to his advisors. Domestic affairs require more of his attention, but this will come. Even a president only has so many hours in the day. Speaking as one who could never see him as presidential, he has been a pleasant surprise and a refreshing change. I think he has earned his current rating.
He's done pretty well considering he's little more than a low IQ puppet of the military. Unfortunately he's given chimpanzees rather a bad name.
Best thing about Bush's first year in office? Easy: proving the pundits and liberal press wrong on all counts. Rather than a dim-witted isolationist controlled by handler, we have a president who has defined leadership at home and abroad. He may have choked on a pretzel, but the nay Sayers are choking on their words.
In a word: awful. The only reason he is popular in the US is because of 11 September and the admittedly sensible manner (until recently) with which he has dealt with this disaster. Looking at his record elsewhere, you realise how insular his politics are. Scrapping the Kyoto agreement was wrong for the planet, but hey, it's the American oil magnets that matter. Are Americans really happy with over 99% of his tax cuts benefiting the top percentile of earners? I'm shocked if so. I really believe from what I've read so far that Bush is going to be dragged into the Enron scandal and it would not shock me if he resigned in 12 months. I think Enrongate will rival Watergate and have the same effect on the President.
Chye Chua, Malaysia
It makes you despair for the US when, out of a population of nearly 286 million, the electorate could not find someone more articulate, statesmanlike and worthy of respect than George W. Bush.
A year ago I was sorely disappointed to see Al Gore lose the White House. But since then - especially for his superb handling of the war on terrorism and for setting a 'how-to-defend-your-country' example for the rest of the world - I salute Mr. Bush. What I do not agree with, however, is the double standard his dream team is pitching to the world. I find it bemusing that Mr. Powell preaches an "exercise restraint and solve differences through dialogue" discourse to India while the US drops daisy-cutters on Afghanistan.
I believe that Mr Bush has been one of the most troubling presidents this nation has had. He has been systematically repealing many civil rights, environmental laws, labour laws, energy conservation initiatives, and is promoting a missile defence programme that offends almost every nation outside of the US. Now our latest news item about Enron shows how deeply influenced the administration is influenced by big energy companies. I hope the investigations are not stopped before they reach their obvious concluding point...the Oval office.
Shaun, Teignmouth, UK
President Bush is without doubt the most dangerous and irresponsible man on the planet, bar none. His first year in office is a litany of corruption, racial bias, violence and greed.
He's proved his critics wrong. From his down to earth common sense approach to his handling of the war on terrorism, Dubya is heading towards being the best US president of modern times. The free world is in good hands.
Dubya choking on a pretzel whilst watching the TV proves right the theory that Mr Bush has not got the intellectual capacity to walk and chew gum at the same time.
The US, and to a lesser extent the world, has rightly united behind him in the current crisis. But don't be fooled, he is still a right-wing partisan intent on pandering to special interests and raping the environment. America be aware, multi-billion dollar retrospective tax cuts to large corporations do not help your war effort. Only three more years!
Martin George, UK
If the economy is anything to go by then I think he has done an appalling job. It may sound harsh but people look to putting the blame on 11 September for the slowdown and forget that it was already in dire straits. Bush regained confidence of the American people after the atrocities of 11 September but needs to now convince them he can pull the country out of a severe recession.
I think his overall performance is satisfactory but there is more that needs to be done in his administrations, especially after 11 September. His biggest challenges are ongoing disputes like peace in the Middle East and the issue of Kashmir. If these disputes could not be resolved through diplomatic ways then chances are that another such day might come. When the whole world has changed, the US can and should play a leading role to bring peace and harmony in all parts of the world and President Bush needs to make more efforts to bring peace between rival nations.
I bet George Bush wishes that Al Gore had won, considering the year he's had!
I don't think Dubya has put a foot wrong since being appointed as president...apart from choking on a pretzel of course!
George Bush has taken this whole Afghan situation very foolishly, attacking a rundown country to get to one man, I wonder how much of the US tax payers money is used to pay for high-tech military equipment to destroy an army of pea-shooters?
John Litwinski, USA
Even though many people have perceived Bush to be the Republican in the true sense, he has proved people wrong. This man has a strong head on his shoulders and he knows what he is doing. Post 11 September, he has proved and shown the world how a true leader should act and respond. A great personality and also a very humorous and family-oriented person.
The president's popularity ratings have little to do with George Jnr. They are simply a reflection of the nations need for a figurehead during a crisis. He has talked the world into a recession to allow his tax cuts. Made one gaff after another in speeches. The praise should go to his spin-doctors not him!
The most powerful man in the world needs his mother to remind him to chew his food before he swallows... doesn't this send a cold shiver down your spine?
The events of his first year haven't permitted Bush to pursue his isolationist policies as he would have wished, but having been forced to look to other Western countries for support early in his term we now see that he is beginning to lead the US into the 'who cares what anyone else says' position that he was expected to favour in the first place. Witness their treatment of prisoners of war, and determination to continue their war without the alliance they initially formed.
14 Jan 02 | Americas
Bush makes light of pretzel scare
02 Oct 01 | America attacked
George W Bush: Wartime president
14 Jan 02 | Business
Enron chief 'was warned of trouble'
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