George W. Bush in Political Time: The Janus Presidency
Law and Social Inquiry, May 2009
43 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2008 Last revised: 15 Feb 2012
Date Written: July 5, 2008
This Essay explores the possibility that George W. Bush's political failure was the result of structural tensions created by the September 11, 2001 attacks that no president could have overcome. Drawing on the recent work of Stephen Skowronek and Keith Whittington, the paper observes that the Bush Administration was hopelessly split between its desire to maintain continuity with existing ideological commitments and the destabilizing thrust of its policies in the areas of foreign policy and domestic security. As a result, the transformative energy that propelled the invasion of Iraq and the reorganization of practices regarding the detention of enemy combatants and their interrogation probably spilled over into areas where the President had less freedom of action, most notably with his Social Security and comprehensive immigration reform proposals that ended up dividing his party.
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