wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
search bar left
search bar right

George W. Bush Leadership


George W. Bush LeadershipGeorge W. Bush (1946- )


American president (2001-9).

Bush (pictured right) invaded Iraq in response to 9/11, the attack by al-Qaeda on New York .


For more detail see... 

9/11 in the History Highlights section.


How can we describe his leadership?


1. Clear aims

He wanted “to end tyranny on earth” and defeat terrorism.

His aim when he became president in 2000 was to be conservative (believing in Christian values and low taxes), but kind to the poor and needy (“compassionate conservatism”).

Instead he helped the rich at the expense of the poor, reflected in the bad treatment of African Americans in the New Orleans floods in 2005.


2. Christian principlesgeorge w bush leadership

Bush (pictured right with his father, ex-president, George Bush) is a Christian fundamentalist (literally believing the Bible) and intolerant of other religions.

The British journalist, Jonathan Freedland , believes that he won his second presidential election, because of

  • guns (military strength to fight terrorism).
  • gays (he’s against them marrying). 
  • God (most of the other 40 million Christian fundamentalists voted for him).


3. Decisive but dogmatic

He took decisions very quickly, based on intuition and instinct, but it was very difficult to change his mind (like over the invasion of Iraq).

This inflexibility is reinforced by his strongly dogmatic Christian views (see point 2).

Sometimes he should have given more attention to alternative policies and other people’s views.

But right or wrong, his decision to invade Iraq was a brave one, but he didn’t have a clear strategy for a post-invasion Iraq and American withdrawal.

 george w bush leadership

4. Good communicator

Like the former president, Ronald Reagan (pictured right), he’s not an intellectual, but he communicated well with ordinary people .


5. Tough guy

He told Pakistan after 9/11 - help to beat al-Qaeda or else. This threat worked, but threats aren’t good for long-term relationships. Persuasion was not one of his strengths.


6. RelaxedGeorge W Bush Leadership

He was a good delegator, so he had time for his daily routine of two hours exercise and sport watching.

Unless there was a crisis, he was always in bed by 9 pm (for 7 am meetings the next morning) and spent a lot of time on his Texan ranch with his wife Laura (pictured right).

But this relaxed approach sometimes showed a lack of urgency (like over the New Orleans floods).


Key quote on 9/11 

These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve 


Key quotes on terrorism

Sometimes we must fight terrorism with tyranny.

We do not create terrorism by fighting the terrorists. We invite terrorism by ignoring them.


Key quote on leadership

The job of the president is to think strategically so that you can achieve big objectives.


Funny quotes (‘Bushisms’)

Some of the great things about books is, sometimes there are some fantastic pictures.

If you say you’re going to do something and don’t do it, that’s trustworthiness.

I think we all agree the past is over.

The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.

Free Newsletter
Enter your name and e-mail address to receive our free newsletter with analysis of business issues and new business books