November 5, 2017
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
G. H. W. and George Bush Attack President Trump: The Fearful GOP Elite in Assault Mode
No doubt you have heard about the new, semi-biographical book about the two presidents Bush? It’s by author Mark Updegrove, and the title is: The Last Republicans. Apparently, Updegrove had full access to and the full and active cooperation of both G. H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. And both father and son let loose with a vengeance on President Trump. In words laced with both animus and resentment—and most likely, sheer jealousy—they call the president a “blowhard” (George the Elder) and “unfit” (George the Younger). Neither voted for President Trump, with the senior Bush declaring that he voted for Hillary Clinton, and the younger, after some soul-searching and probably thinking he would do the same thing, ending up leaving the top of the ticket blank on his ballot.
And, as I recall it, these are the same two GOP presidents, with the same establishment GOP party apparatus at their backs, who have always demanded that the conservative grass roots simply had to vote Republican come whatever, that we could not break ranks, that the fear of electing a Democrat was simply too awful to contemplate. How many times over the years have we heard that refrain, as many of us having seen truly conservative candidates sandbagged by the GOP elites were instructed that we “had no place to go, but vote the Republican ticket?”
It’s not like we didn’t know, down deep, how these two presidents think. Just recently in New York George the Younger gave a fervently pro-globalist, pro-open borders speech—a speech that the Mainstream Media and many Democrats vigorously applauded—a speech that Bill Clinton or Lyndon Johnson could have readily made. All of a sudden, or so it seemed, George the Younger had become a noble hero to the far Left…. And, despite the best attempts of political guru and former close advisor and apologist Karl Rove to defend Bush’s comments, the media and national punditry saw exactly what was happening. George—let us call him “Shrub,” the name that his old Texas Democrat adversary Ann “Ma” Richards once called him, as it fits—was publicly attacking Donald Trump and his policies to make America great again.
For eight years during the Obama administration “Shrub” had eschewed any criticism of Obama—it was his policy, he often stated, for a former president not to criticize his successor in office. It was unpresidential. But obviously that “policy” does not apply to President Trump, whom both Shrub and his dad despise more than all the Democrats infectiously festering along the Potomac, since it was the upstart billionaire from New York who was taking “their party” away from them.
Back on October 21 and 25 this year, and earlier, I offered comments on the Bushes, and during the course of the 2016 Republican primary season, in the CONSERVATIVE CRACK-UP series, I took aim specifically at Jeb Bush, as the latest incarnation of Establishment GOP politics. Jeb was the fair-headed heir apparent to Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole, and the elder Bush—that whole line of anointed Republican establishment candidates who served as shadow-boxers for the steadily advancing Leftist agenda to transform America, an agenda they helped canonize. He was the “intended one” who spent millions and millions of big donor dollars, and ended up “paying” thousands for each one of the very few votes he received. Not only that, he demonstrated for all to see—including his brother and his father— as he went down in flaming defeat—that grass roots voters were, very simply, fed up with the GOP establishment, they were tired of the unkept promises, the lies, the subterfuge, the cozy alliances with leftist Democrats, the abject fear Republicans demonstrated when confronted by a hostile media, and the willingness to support and sanctify the worst policies and programs of the Deep State managers.
The Bushes and their buddies should have taken careful note of the defeat of Eric Cantor in Virginia; but, that defeat they explained away as an anomaly, an exception. All it would take, they believed, would be the accustomed millions from wealthy special interests, flooding the airwaves with skillful ads, and warning GOP primary voters that Donald Trump would be a loser in the general election.
And that he was a…“blowhard.”
But it didn’t work. And just like the fake and manipulated polls that nearly always underrepresented the strength of support for candidate Trump and the palpable anger of grass roots “Middle Americans” (and which continue to underrepresent the support for the president and his policies), the Bushes, father, son, and anointed one—with their self-satisfied, unctuous assurances of dominance and their continuing practical, “we-know-better” condescension towards the American voter—miscalculated badly. And now, as they see their once-private preserve, their own domination threatened as never before by the Upstart, they strike out like the Deep State copperheads they really are, without warning, but finally unmasked as plutocrats for all to see.
Today, then, I pass on links to two accounts of the “leaked” contents of Updegrove’s book at: [https://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/republicans-george-h-w-bush-blowhard-trump/2017/11/04/id/824099/] and [https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/04/white-house-questions-bush-legacies-as-feud-with-trump-intensifies.html]
It is titled The Last Republicans for a specific reason, for that is the clearly announced fear that George the Elder and Shrub and brother Jeb have—that their party may be slipping away from them. Although I dearly hope that they are correct, I am not as fearful as they seem to be. The Establishment is still quite powerful and has demonstrated in the past—as its taming of Ronald Reagan demonstrated thirty years ago—that it will do practically anything to continue in power.
Lastly, I copy a piece I published about the Bush family several years ago. Much of it, certainly the historical information, continues to be, I think, valuable and adds perspective to our present situation:
Bush family liberalism: The ghost of Prescott Bush haunts us still
By Boyd Cathey, Communities Digital News JULY 2, 2014
WASHINGTON, July 2, 2014 — A history of the Bush family, beginning with Yankee patriarch and Wall Street banker, Prescott Bush, is one of calculated pretense to being and sounding like whatever best advances the political and financial fortunes of the family. But down deep the Bushes, arguably, have never been conservatives. In recent years, the Bushes have, it is true, sometimes sounded “conservative,” but in the darker recesses of their thinking, they reject basic principles that give essential life to conservatism.
Let’s go back and take a look at Prescott Bush. He was the archetypal patrician New England “progressive” Republican. Just read a few lines from the Wikipedia about him:
“Prescott Bush was politically active on social issues. He was involved with the American Birth Control League as early as 1942, and served as the treasurer of the first national capital campaign of Planned Parenthood in 1947 [....] “From 1947 to 1950, he served as Connecticut Republican finance chairman, and was the Republican candidate for the United States Senate in 1950. A columnist in Boston said that Bush “is coming on to be known as President Truman’s Harry Hopkins. Nobody knows Mr. Bush and he hasn’t a Chinaman’s chance.” (Harry Hopkins [a Communist fellow traveler] had been one of FDR‘s closest advisors.) Bush’s ties with Planned Parenthood also hurt him in heavily Catholic Connecticut, and were the basis of a last-minute campaign in churches by Bush’s opponents; the family vigorously denied the connection, but Bush lost to [William] Benton by only 1,000 votes.”
Prescott became US Senator from Connecticut through appointment in late 1952, and he served until 1963. Continuing on from the Wiki:
“On December 2, 1954, Prescott Bush was part of the large (67–22) majority to censure Wisconsin Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy after McCarthy had taken on the U.S. Army and the Eisenhower administration. During the debate leading to the censure, Bush said that McCarthy had ‘caused dangerous divisions among the American people because of his attitude and the attitude he has encouraged among his followers: that there can be no honest differences of opinion with him. Either you must follow Senator McCarthy blindly, not daring to express any doubts or disagreements about any of his actions, or, in his eyes, you must be a Communist, a Communist sympathizer, or a fool who has been duped by the Communist line’
“In terms of issues, Bush often agreed with New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller. According to Theodore H. White’s book about the 1964 election, Bush and Rockefeller were longtime friends. Bush favored a Nixon-Rockefeller ticket for 1960.”
This is the kind of silk-stocking, Rockefeller Wall Street Republicanism that George H. W. and succeeding members of the family inherited. And since 1992 the examples that confirm the persistence of this same heritage among the Bushes continue to surface, almost weekly.
Last September, for example, the latest Bush “papabile,” Jeb, made cozy with Hillary Clinton. Here’s a brief paragraph from The Washington Times (September 13, 2013):
“HOUSTON, September 13, 2013 - On Tuesday September 10, Jeb Bush, chairman of the board for the National Constitution Center and former governor of Florida, presented former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with the group’s annual Liberty Medal. [!!!] It is widely speculated that both Bush and Clinton will run for their party’s nomination for the presidency in 2016.”
What this incident actually indicates is something profound about the Bush “establishment” ethos. Indeed, Jeb Bush has a whole bag of occasions where the ghost of Prescott has seeped out for–perhaps unwanted–public view. It’s not just his strong support for Common Core and what amounts to amnesty for illegal immigrants. A quick review of the Internet offers numerous examples of the survival of the spirit of Prescott in this latest representative of the clan.
George Bush the Younger doesn’t escape conservative scrutiny, either. Once again, there are various articles and stories in print and on the Web detailing the emergence of the real “Bush soul,” which is most definitely not conservative. A 2011 article in The Washington Monthly highlighted some of the issues that separated him from conservatives: “Bush was wrong about everything from education (NCLB) to health care (Medicare Part D), immigration (comprehensive reform) to international aid (PEPFAR), national service (AmeriCorps, USA Freedom Corp) to foreign policy (growing Republican skepticism about Afghanistan).”
Liberal columnist Richard Cohen also noticed what he termed Bush’s “neo-liberalism,” especially in education and the role of the Federal government:
“Bush has extended the [Education] department’s reach in a manner that Democrats could not have envisaged. I am referring, of course, to the 2001 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind. I will spare you the act’s details, but it pretty much tells the states to shape up or face a loss of federal funds. It is precisely the sort of law that conservatives predicted Washington would someday seek — and it did.”
Professor Jack Kerwick, in a fascinating article in the journal, Modern Age ["The Neoconservative Conundrum," Modern Age, Winter/Spring 2013, vo. 55, nos. 1 & 2, pp. 5-12], wrote recently of a philosophical outlook that he identifies as partaking of the revolutionary “rationalist mind,” using the measures and research of the late English conservative political theorist Michael Oakeshott. Kerwick identifies this as essentially an ideologically a priori approach to statecraft, which rejects long-standing custom and the organicism of tradition, in favor of an imposed, “progressivist” universal standard based on supposedly self-evident “principles” born out of human reason. It was such a rationalist mindset that guided Bush II through much of his presidency, and it was one of the several reasons that made strong conservatives very uncomfortable with and suspicious of him.
Events have come full circle. Back in 1992 I argued strenuously with some of my Republican friends that voting for Pat Buchanan was the right thing to do. While admitting the deficiencies of George the First, their main argument was that voting for Buchanan would only assist Bill Clinton, and that a Bill Clinton presidency would give the man who couldn’t keep his pants up the opportunity to name Supreme Court justices. When I pointed out the Justices David Souter, Harry Blackmun, Earl Warren, William Brennan, Sandra Day O’Connor, and other Leftists were appointed by Republican presidents, responses were muted. They continued to insist that a primary contest with Buchanan would weaken Bush in the 1992 general election. But every poll, including immediate polls right after Buchanan’s famous “culture war” speech at the GOP national convention, gave the lie to such spurious charges. George H. W. lost because of what he did and what he said, and because the American electorate listened to the insidiously seductive and polished oratory and promises of “Slick Willie.”
Since George the First, the national GOP has given us the following presidential candidates: Bob Dole, George the Younger, John McCain, and the hapless Mitt Romney–not a real, philosophical conservative among the lot of them. In fact, conservatives, who arguably make up a majority of the Republican base, haven’t controlled the party apparatus since Reagan. And even back then, based on the testimony of the few conservatives who worked in the Reagan White House, Reagan permitted George H. W. to control and fill most appointments from the get go. You can imagine what types of folks were approved for service.
The specter of Prescott still casts a spell over the Bush family. If a few more pusillanimous conservatives had not run for “the tall grass” back in 1992, just perhaps we might have stopped the contagion twenty-two years ago. Pat Buchanan was right in 1992, as he is today. Begrudgingly, some of my friends who supported the Bushes then, recognize this now.
All along, despite some pleasant words, the Bushes have been enablers. As congressional Republicans continue to sell out America on everything from immigration to the debt ceiling, conservatives need to be told, once again, that the Republican “establishment” is not on their side. Prescott Bush’s ghost lives and prospers at the RNC and in the halls of the US Congress. Until it is fully exorcized (and the Karl Roves and John McCains finally interred for good), this nation will have no real opposition to the ongoing, steep decline into neo-Marxist multicultural totalitarianism.
Boyd D. Cathey holds a doctorate in European history from the Catholic University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain, where he was a Richard Weaver Fellow, and an MA in intellectual history from the University of Virginia (as a Jefferson Fellow). He was assistant to conservative author and philosopher the late Russell Kirk. In more recent years he served as State Registrar of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History. He has published in French, Spanish, and English, on historical subjects as well as classical music and opera. He is active in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and various historical, archival, and genealogical organizations.