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4 Examples of George H.W. Bush’s Policy Legacy

What do you think of these aspects of the 41st president's legacy?

by Countable | Updated on 12.4.18

With the nation set to bid farewell to former President George H.W. Bush during today's funeral at the Washington National Cathedral, it’s a good time to reflect on the policy legacy of America’s 41st president.

From time to time we profile historically significant bills on their anniversaries to reflect on the impact they’ve had on American politics from their formulation to the present day. Here’s a look at three major bills and one treaty that were signed by President George H.W. Bush (in chronological order):

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Signed into law on July 26, 1990, the ADA extended civil rights protections to people with disabilities and looked to prevent discrimination against the disabled in the workplace and in public places. The ADA covers both mental and physical disabilities, and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees.

Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution

Signed into law on January 14, 1991, this resolution permitted the use of the U.S. military to liberate Kuwait from occupation by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Operation Desert Storm began three days later after the deadline for Iraqi withdrawal set by UN Security Council resolutions expired. After the U.S. and coalition partners liberated Kuwait and inflicted a heavy defeat on the Iraqi military, a ceasefire was declared on February 28, 1991.

Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START)

Signed on July 31, 1991 along with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, START was the largest nuclear arms control treaty in history. It imposed restrictions on the number of ICBMs, SLBMs, heavy bombers, and the “throw weight” (ie explosive power) of deployed nuclear warheads and created a verification regime to ensure both parties abided by it over its 15 year lifespan. Successor deals were reached by President George W. Bush in 2003 and President Barack Obama in 2010.

High Performance Computing Act (Gore Bill)

Signed into law on December 9, 1991, the Gore Bill created the “Information Superhighway” and provided $600 million in funding for high performance computing initiatives. In 1993, an initiative at the University of Illinois known as the National Center for Supercomputing applications that was funded in part by the Gore Bill created the Mosaic web browser. Mosaic popularized the World Wide Web and served as the launching point for the Internet boom of the 1990s. Among the programmers on the Mosaic development team was Marc Andreessen, who founded Netscape and launched the first commercial web browser.


— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Library of Congress / Public Domain)

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(48)
  • Mark
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    I may not have agreed with everything #41 did as POTUS but he was a TRUE PATRIOT, like Senator John McCain. Both Naval men, both loved OUR COUNTRY and both are the LAST of the GREATEST GENERATIONS political leaders. God Bless America and DEMOCRACY.

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  • BadWxDude
    Voted Sad
    12/05/2018
    ···

    How many people died of AIDS during his tenure? What about the recession he caused? How about “ Read My Lips No New Taxes?” That’s what I remember about GWB. And that’s what we should remember. No sugarcoating even after death.

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  • Robert
    12/05/2018
    ···

    At best, a mixed bag...some good. Some not so good in perspective. He did the best he could...at that time, w/ the info he had. Only one term...& we are ready to canonize him

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  • Jim
    Voted Apathetic
    12/06/2018
    ···

    It was a mixed bag IMO. His administration did some good but I think he was too quick to use military force.

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  • Robert
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    I didn’t agree with everything he did but what he did that I did agree with he did very well. It’s sad to remember back to when we had presidents who could speak in completed sentences and use facts to illustrate a plan.

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  • LiberalMama
    Voted Sad
    12/05/2018
    ···

    The only GOOD thing I can think of is the Disabilities Act. That’s it. He was a conservative Republican & a 1-term President. Not much historical value to the U.S.A.

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  • Johnny
    12/05/2018
    ···

    Democracy Now is doing a great job of covering the truth about GWB’s legacy this week. 3,000 Panamanians dead in an unauthorized attack on Panama which set the stage for many more such wars and the mess we’re in now. A war-monger, and no champion for peace or justice, a founder of “The New World Order”. Good Riddance!

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  • Raymond
    Voted Apathetic
    12/06/2018
    ···

    He was a difficult man to get a handle on. However I give him great credit for two things. He did not push on to Baghdad after Iraq was driven from Kuwait. Even though the media and the republicans really wanted him to he restrained from making the terrible mistake his son did. Secondly when the Berlin Wall fell there were many who wanted him to go to Germany and strut and show up the Russians, but years of long service as a diplomat and in intelligence taught him that Russians are proud and to do so may lead to war in what was already a terribly unstable time. I know his record on HIV and really anything domestic leaves much to be desired, but these two decisions, which cost him personally and politically and cost him the support of money men in his party, are worth remembering because they were humble and forward thinking. That deserves to be said, no matter what else he did or failed to do.

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  • Caren
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    Reviewing former President George H.W. Bush’s accomplishments; I would say it most definitely reflects very positively for our country. Unfortunate, he was not re-elected to a second term. I have appreciated hearing how his family and many are reflecting so positively on who he was and how he loved and cherished his family. I would say this reflects a beautiful human being. May the Lord bless the Bush family and give them strength and His perfect peace in their time of sorrow.

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  • Brandon
    Voted Sad
    12/05/2018
    ···

    On AIDS: About 180,000 people died during the AIDS crisis. At best he was indifferent. He opposed needle exchanges. When he did speak, it wasn’t to call on Congress to aggressively legislate and fund legislation to stem the tide. Instead he scolded people saying “change your behavior.” On “war on drugs”: that time he held up a bag of cocaine on television - FABRICATED. He orchestrated and staged a drug deal near the White House to create the moral pretext to ramp up the war on drugs. Millions of people were incarcerated with the policy disproportionately affecting black and brown people. Communities were eviscerated. Many still are. In many ways, he accelerated the US into this new Jim Crow era. On Dishonesty and War: Bush told the American people Iraq invaded Kuwait without warning or provocation. He didn’t tell the American people that the US ambassador to Iraq at the time told Saddam Hussein the US had no opinion on Arab-Arab conflict. Then he said there was intelligence indicating massive amounts of Iraqi troops on the border- commercial satellite images showed no such thing. The intelligence had been fabricated. On obstruction of justice: Bush didn’t cooperate with the special counsel for the Iran-Contra affair. He even pardoned the former defense secretary BEFORE his perjury/obstruction trial.

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  • Kathryn
    Voted Sad
    12/05/2018
    ···

    No hero of mine. Glad to see the Bush dynasty end.

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  • Mark
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    One of the great presidents of my time. Who will forever be under-appreciated for his accomplishments.

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  • Robert j.
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    Miss you GHWB.

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  • Lexpost
    Voted Sad
    12/05/2018
    ···

    Bush’s legacy was a direct cause of some of the intractable problems that we are currently wrestling with. From the refugees seeking asylum on our southern border, fleeing the murderous chaos that is the outgrowth of the Contra’s death squads of the eighties, the trading of arms for hostages with our avowed enemy, Iran, (and failing to secure the freedom of the hostages), to setting the stage for the first Gulf War (by Ambassador Gillespie telling Saddam Hussein that the US had no position on his border dispute with Kuwait) and his use of the pardon to obstruct justice in the investigation of the Iran-Contra affair and head off the trial of Casper Weinberger ( at which he likely would have been called as a witness), the parallels to current events are striking. He accomplished some good (his support of the passage of the ADA and the fall of communism), but, on balance, I don’t believe his good outweighs the bad.

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  • Jaysn
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    TY for the ADA Sir. R.I.P.

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  • Andrew
    Voted Sad
    12/05/2018
    ···

    He was a deeply flawed man who had tied to globalism and pushed for a world agenda over American agenda and that is why he lost his reelection

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  • Sherry
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    George Bush Sr. was an amazing president. His dignity, honesty and caring stands in start contrast to the current president

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  • Pam
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    What is a good man, love God love America.did a lot of good and I am thankful for him. For all you perfect people out there that keep throwing your bashing stones; get off your mouth and go do a better job !

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  • Bruno
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    You served the country well! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

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  • Åndrës
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    He is a believer in God, he had a daughter that died of leukemia at age 3 (he suffered in his heart), he was respectful to all regardless of party(dems/repubs), he was respectful to Hispanics/latinos, he was a man that had vision... “ I have one last flight to take, one last departure , the perfect flight, the perfect take off, the path is clear to heaven for take off” *tears up* these are his thoughts and his words.. please see his church service: super epic

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  • Lynnie
    12/05/2018
    ···

    On the most part, he was a good man and a good leader. Did he make some mistakes? Yes. He, like many others of his era ignored the growing menace of AIDS. But, this was not out of malice. I wish we could have achieved the "kinder gentler America" he envisioned

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  • Awilda
    Voted Happy
    12/05/2018
    ···

    He was a patriot and respected the office of President. Unlike what we have now.

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