Legitimacy, leadership, and longing for realignment: The party basis of the Bush presidency

John J. Coleman, Kevin S. Price

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


What started rocky, ended rocky. Elected under cont roversia l circumstances, George W. Bush entered office with a legitimacy crisis on his hands. A significant proportion of the American public viewed Bush as a dubious president, in part because he was out polled in popular votes by the losing candidate and in part because his road to the White House took several legal detours through the Florida courts and fnally through a contentious Supreme Court decision. His legitimacy crisis may have ebbed when 9/11 recast his presidency, but it did not disappear. About 65 to 70 percent of Democrats questioned the legitimacy of Bush's election throughout his first term, according to CBS News/Gallup polls. The broader leadership question encased in the legitimacy problem remained: how can this president lead? Most observers thought his second-place popular vote finish made any claim to a mandate irrele vant. Accordingly, when Bush entered office, many expected the new president to have tremendous difficulty enacting his legislative agenda and leading the government.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmbition and Division
Subtitle of host publicationLegacies of the George W. Bush Presidency
PublisherUniversity of Pittsburgh Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)0822960494, 9780822960492
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009


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