The former United States (US) President George H. W. Bush Senior has been hospitalised in Houston. It has been reported by The Telegraph that Bush, 92, is in a stable condition and is "doing fine". But this news gives us the chance to look back over his presidency and address the good and the bad of his four years in office.


Republican George Bush Senior was elected in 1988 and served one term until 1992 as the 41st President of the United States. Having served as Vice-President under his predecessor Ronald Raegan for two terms, Bush was elected the Republican nominee and defeated the Democrat Michael Dukakis in the election.

But the question to ask is, how did Bush Senior do as President?

The good

There were many things that he did well. The Miller Center website stated that Bush came into the presidency as one of the "most qualified candidates to assume the office". It is clear that Bush's greatest successes came in foreign policy. In 1990 after Saddam Hussein annexed Kuwait, Bush put together a coalition that drove Hussein out of Kuwait in less than a month of combat and will minimal loss of American lives. In addition, Bush Senior also "presided with deceptive ease" according to the Middlebury website, over the end of the Cold War. During this period of uncertainty, Bush was seen to exercise a "steady, if understated, diplomatic hand".

In addition, it was stated that Bush realised that leadership sometimes means "doing less, not more". It could also be claimed that Bush Senior made some accomplishments domestically. In 1990 he signed the 'Americans with Disabilities Act', which "forbade discrimination" based on disability in employment, public accommodations and transportation, as the Miller Center website stated.

In addition, there was also the 'Clean Air Act' which made the public "more receptive to the need for environmental protection".

And the bad

However, despite such positives, there were also many disappointments. Bush Senior's "political downfall" came in domestic affairs, most notably the economy, which as the Middlebury website noted, "slid into a recession on his watch".

What really sealed his political fate was the decision to renege on his campaign pledge, "read my lips, no new taxes". This decision to break his promise as he increased several existing taxes in 1990 alienated the more conservative wing of the Republican Party. They felt that he "betrayed the Reagan Revolution". It was as a result of this that largely contributed to the election defeat to the Democrat Bill Clinton in the 1992 presidential election.


So how did Bush Senior do overall? The Middlebury website did ask the question as to whether Bush Senior was the best President not to win reelection. One cannot deny that Bush did a lot of good, but the problem is that those accomplishments were largely overshadowed by his failings, most notably on the domestic front. Unfortunately he could not get away from his campaign pledge regarding the economy and taxation, and that sadly is how he will be remembered.