The founding of the American nation was largely dependent on the opinions of two groups of people based on their views and opinions regarding the constitution at the time. It was age whereby the citizens of America had just begun to recover from the effect of civil war and the constitution was a largely debated area as each group of people had interests in it. The two groups of people now referred to as federalists and anti-federalists wanted each of their concerns to be noted and certain parts of the constitution, which in their opinion was not fair, amended. Thus the two groups formed the basis of the two major political parties in the United States, The Republicans and The Democrats. This paper therefore shall compare the presidencies of two presidents, President elect Barrack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush. It shall analyze their actions while in office, both economic and domestic, their effects and try to make comparisons with the views of the founding federalists and anti-federalists. Furthermore, it shall try to conclude which president fits into which mold; whether they are anti-federalists or federalists.
George W. Bush ran for presidency in the year 2000 and termed himself a passionate conservative. With reference to foreign policy he heavily criticized the actions of Al Gore in sending U.S troops for peace-keeping missions that he deemed were not vital to national interest. However, at the same time he was pushing for more funding for the Pentagon and was seen calling for more action and tougher posture against ï¿½rogueï¿½ countries such as Iraq and North Korea.
One of the goals in the bush presidency was to accelerate progress on deregulating industry and implementing tax reductions in an attempt to weaken the federal government thus strengthening the conservative agenda. The administration relied on executive authority to relax the workplace as well as the environmental regulations. Bush sought to weaken the fiscal, standing of the Treasury and to roll back those areas of the government that were most vulnerable politically. The effect of this was powerful as the tax cuts distributed government benefits to Americans, rich and wealthy, which constituted a core part of the Republican coalition. Bush reflected in his practices the policies used by former republican presidents, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. The policies involved placing politically motivated administrators with vested interests in important positions. These administrators were unsympathetic to the programs they managed and thus were ruthless when doing their work. An effect of this was a range of new advisory bodies developed around the presidency, many of which complemented the main cabinet departments, with the cabinet declining in influence. The National Security Council and the Office of Management and Budget are prime examples.
The attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11 2001 offered Bush an opportunity to establish his political credibility, to reassert presidential leadership and to defend the interests of the United States. Through the event of the United States bombing in 9/11, Bush pushed aggressively for the use of executive-centered national security programs. Such programs involved the expansion of interrogation techniques including torture, which broke the national precedent and ignored international laws on detainee treatment. After the 9/11 event Bush announced an all-out war on terrorism and ordered the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.
As the United States entered recession in 2007, the bush administration through the enactment of several economic programs took a more direct control of the United States economy in an attempt to preserve the countryï¿½s financial system. These policies included among others implementing a 170 billion economic stimulus package which aimed at sending tax rebate checks to Americans and providing tax breaks for struggling businesses. However, the policies were ill-equipped to deal with the looming financial crisis in what is termed to be the longest recession after World War 2 in history.
The Presidency of Barrack Obama
Obama, within his first 100 days set up to gather up support for his economic stimulus package otherwise known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. He further put through Congress the expanded State Health Insurance program. Furthermore, his administration was able to put into law the Ledbetter law which requires equal pay for women in all sectors.
The obama administration is also credited with legislating health care reforms. This was done through winning the approval of the congress on a budget resolution regarding the matter.
In his campaign and since Obama has heavily criticized the bush administration for ignoring the situation there and focusing too much on Iraq. At the onset of his campaign, Obama promised to withdraw all United States troops from Iraq, within 16 months, though he has laxed on this view, his actions seem to be more anti-war and catious. Analysts have commented that Obamaï¿½s view on United States emphasis being on Afghanistan as a politically correct stand on the issue.
Moreover, the Obama administration broke supported the United Nations declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity and relaxed the enforcement on marijuana laws. It also lifted the ban on embryonic stem research put in place since the Bush administration.
Obama also ordered the closure of the Guatanamo bay detention camp in Cuba which was notorious for the infringement of human and detainee rights.
Comparison of the two presidents with the federalists and anti-federalists views
When comparing the presidencies of the Bush and Obama administrations against the federalists and anti-federalist views it is important to consider what these people based their views on.
The Anti-federalists were of the opinion, at the time of founding, that Congress and the executive b ranch of the government wielded too much power. They were also of the opinion that vthe constitution gave too much national power at the expense of the state governments. Additionally they were displeased by the lack of a bill of human rights within the constitution. The federalists, on the other hand responded that the separation of powers into three independent branches protected the rights of the people. Each branch was in fact representing a different aspect of the people and as all three were equal, there was fair say among all the branches and thus equity among the people.
With this perspective in mind, we can now compare the two presidents. Former president Bush was largely conservative and this was evident through the socio-economic problems that his administrationï¿½s actions caused. Thus it can be seen that he would largely fit in with the anti-federalist group. Furthermore, his actions to weaken the federal government so as to strengthen the conservative side of the government wing show that he is more anti-federalist than a federalist.
President Obama, however, would more fit in with the federalist group. His actions largely bordering on developing policies that benefit all Americans equally show a federalist nature. His call to strengthen the federal government and his actions of abandoning the Bush administration policies further reinforce this fact. Though it can be seen that through his action, President Obama is setting into the mold of a federalist it is still too young in his presidential term to conclude on the issue.
Though neither president exactly fits into the mould of either federalists or anti-federalists, it can be summarized that through their actions during their term of presidency, George. W. Bush was more of an anti-federalist and President elect Barrack Obama more of a federalist.