The story of George H. W. Bush is, to date, a story of his administration, and the Bush circle. It is a story of how he did not really fit in to the increasing muscular conservatism of the sagebrush suburbs and the mythical range. The story of George W. Bush, by contrast, has no such inherent constraints. It is the story of how he built on his father's legacy and connections, even as he distanced himself from the moderate leanings. For all their biographical similarities, the problems faced by Bush the elder and Bush the younger are fundamentally different. It is those differences, some of which are even paradoxical, that comprise the subject of this book.
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John Karaagac, author of Between Promise and Policy: Ronald Reagan and Conservative Reformism and John McCain: An Essay in Military and Political History, is currently teaching at Indiana University, Bloomington.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Paradoxically, the current Bush administration may not have a direct stake in the historical rehabilitation of the father in policy terms, for the simple reason that the entourage of the younger Bush has staked its historical reputation on not making the mistakes of the father. The game plan of the current administration is a very extrapolation, and internal correction, of what they view those mistakes to be. But of course, one may be mistaken in a view of the mistakes. A double negative does not necessarily make for a positive in political life. The elder Bush may have been challenged in the act of presenting his policies, but those policies may have been astute and operationally sound. In other words, the policies may have been initially on the right track; the presentation and advocacy may have left much to be desired. Already, we venture into the field of revisionism. For its part, the current Bush team is rather rigid in its reading of history, which carried profound policy consequences after 2001.
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