Bush’s first months in office

Moore assess Bush’s entrance into the presidency as follows:

“No President had ever witnessed such a thing on his inauguration day. And for the next eight months it didn’t get any better for George W. Bush.”

He proceeds to make the following charges:

“He couldn’t get his judges appointed;”

False.  When Jim Jeffords left the Republican party, switching control of the senate, the Democrat controlled Senate stalled the confirmation (not “appointment”) of some of the judges whom Bush had nominated for the federal courts.

Despite the obstruction of some of Bush’s judicial nominees, Bush did indeed get a number of judges appointed and confirmed by Congress. This DOJ page shows the judicial confirmations that took place during the 107th Congress.  Every one of these was a Bush appointee.

“He had trouble getting his legislation passed;”

Partially True. Under this narration, Moore shows a clip of an unfurling Greenpeace banner protesting drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve.  However, what Moore fails to mention is that during this time period Bush got a massive tax cut passed, the Economic Growth and Tax Reform Reconciliation Act of 2001.  Even if this was the only thing Bush accomplished during this time period (it wasn’t) it would show Moore’s assertion to be patently untrue.

“And he lost Republican control of the Senate;”

True, though misleading. The footage shows Senator Jim Jeffords, who defected from the GOP to become an independent who agreed to caucus with the Democrats.

Yes, Bush lost control of the senate, but Moore’s larger argument of alleged Bush failure is invalid here, considering that in the first election cycle after the defection, American voters returned control of the Senate to Republican hands, and saw Jim Jeffords making overtures to his former party to keep his committee chairmanship.

“His approval ratings in the polls began to sink;”

Misleading. Moore shows a screen displaying Bush with 53% job approval on May 3, and 45% on September 5. The screen shot includes no source for this alleged poll.

University of Minnesota History Professor Steven Ruggles has compiled a chart showing Bush’s approval ratings in 13 major polls throughout his Presidency. According the chart, never during 2001 did Bush’s approval rating fall as low as 45% in any of the polls.

As David Koppel notes: Nor did Bush’s approval ratings really “sink” after inauguration day. Bush’s popularity ratings rose significantly in April (when his tax cut was the main issue in Congress), and then returned to more normal levels in June. From Bush’s inaugural until September 10, almost all of his approval ratings were in the 50-60% range, with only a few results from an occasional poll either higher or lower.

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