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George H.W. Bush

Faith, Presidency, and Public Theology

Kjell Lejon

This book is the first to explore the religious dimension of President George H. W. Bush. Also, the author re-conceptualizes the common use of civil religion in order to understand more fully the religious dimension of Bush’s presidency, and thus argues for the need to highlight the religious rhetoric of President George H.W. Bush as a public theology, or more specifically, a presidential public theology.
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Chapter 7: Presidential Election of 1992: On a High But Still Losing the Election

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Chapter 7 Presidential Election of 1992: On a High But Still Losing the Election

Operation Desert Storm was a foreign policy success for Bush, and in March 1991 the popular support rate of the President, at 89 percent, was the highest figure ever reached since these kinds of polls started in 1938. Bush was on a high and it was almost taken for granted that he would win the presidential election the following year. However, and ironically, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Bush could not win as many votes by pointing to his long experience in foreign affairs as in the election of 1988. By then, Dukakis was hurt by his foreign policy inexperience. This time Clinton’s inexperience on the same arena was not that important. The great enemy was in disarray and no longer a threat.798 Thus, the success on the foreign policy scene did not in the long run help him on the domestic scene. Clearly, he thought that his foreign policy record would matter more in the voting than Ross Perot and Bill Clinton did.799

George F. Will’s critique of Bush, leveled after one year of his term, came to mind again when the election campaign of 1992 began: “In foreign policy, he is perhaps the perfect president for America the bystander. Domestically, not since the 1920s have Americans looked less to the national government for leadership, or believed less that what it does matters to their lives...

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