Military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq consumed so much attention during his presidency that few people appreciated that George W. Bush was also an activist on the home front. Despite limited public support, and while confronting a deeply divided Congress, Bush engineered and implemented reforms of public policy on a wide range of issues: taxes, education, health care, energy, environment, and regulatory reform. In Bush on the Home Front, former Bush White House official and academic John D. Graham analyzes Bush's successes in these areas and setbacks in other areas such as Social Security and immigration reform. Graham provides valuable insights into how future presidents can shape U.S. domestic policy while facing continuing partisan polarization.
Preface and Acknowledgments
1. Ambiguous Mandate, Polarized Congress
2. Lower Taxes, More Spending
3. The Social Security Debacle
4. Making Sure Kids Learn
5. Drug Coverage for Seniors
6. Producing More Energy
7. Consuming Less Energy
8. Cleaner Air, Warmer Climate
9. Illegal Immigration: Punishment or Amnesty?
10. Tort and Regulatory Reform
11. Meltdown and Bailouts
12. Taking Stock, with Lessons for Future Presidents
A former administrator in George W. Bush's Office of Management and Budget and the current dean of the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Graham was a Bush policy insider and knows a great deal about the administration's domestic policy successes and failures. He discusses a variety of domestic initiatives, arguing that Bush was a more effective president in domestic policy than is believed. He claims his book 'has supplied a wealth of evidence that Bush was also a bold and activist president on traditional domestic issues. In light of the partisan divide in the Congress and Bush's limited political standing throughout most of his presidency, it is remarkable how ambitious he was and how much of his domestic agenda was enacted and implemented, whether by legislative or executive actions, and yet these accomplishments, by and large, have not been recognized.' This view may be a bit overstated, yet Graham makes a compelling case that Bush was more active and more successful in the domestic arena than most people believe. Thorough, well documented . . . this book is a valuable contribution to understanding a controversial, consequential president. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. — Choice~M. A. Genovese
[A] worthwhile project written in an accessible style ... readers ... will come away from this work with a better knowledge of the realities of policymaking in twenty-first-century Washington.Spring, 2011~Political Science Quarterly
An important contribution to scholarship on the Bush administration and on presidential policy-making strategies more generally.~Gary Jacobson, University of California, San Diego
In this magnificent book, John D. Graham shows that George W. Bush was a domestic policy activist from start to finish—pertinacious, astute, and surprisingly successful. With a thin electoral mandate, faced with great political polarization and a consuming foreign crisis, Bush 43 nonetheless advanced his domestic agenda to an impressive degree. Bush on the Home Front scores the wins, losses, and muddles—and lays out a penetrating analysis of legislative and administrative strategies that every future president will want to study. John Graham has admirably combined insider insight and scholarly detachment; right out of the box, he has set a very high standard for histories of a complex and contentious period in American politics.~Christopher DeMuth, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
For anyone interested in the legislative process and how presidential action can overcome or exacerbate partisanship, this book is a must-read.~Lee H. Hamilton, Former U.S. Representative (D-IN), 1965-1999
Chronicles a number of important policy issues addressed during the Bush presidency.~Veronica V. Stidvent, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin
Informative, thoroughly researched, clear both in structure and presentation, and provocative. . . . Will likely serve as a source document for other views of the Bush presidency. . . . A significant addition to the public policy literature on the Bush presidency.~Donald R. Arbuckle, University of Texas at Dallas
Watch a video of author John Graham explaining the idea of a cross-partisan solution from his book.