December 2, 2018
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
George H. W. Bush, RIP - but What Is His Legacy?
I realize that it is both impolitic and a bit irreverent to speak ill of the dead. Morally, we are obliged to pray for the repose of the souls of the departed. As the words of the Introit of the ancient Requiem liturgy declare: “Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis” – “Eternal rest give to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.” And, certainly, in the case of former President George Herbert Walker Bush this injunction should apply. America’s youngest naval aviator at age 18 in World War II (and holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross and Presidential Unit Citation for his valorous actions), a dedicated family man, husband, and father, and a public servant for much of his life, we owe appropriate respect to our nation’s 41st president.
But that said, there is a much more equanimous and critical judgment that must be rendered, and, in the future the role and life of George H. W. Bush must be placed into proper context. For despite the personal qualities that have been rightly attributed to him, he also was patriarch of one of the “Eastern Establishment’s” premiere and most influential families, the man who as President Reagan’s vice-president entered the Gipper’s administration with near-absolute control over personnel appointments, and who, in spite of his public embrace of “Reaganism,” did as much an anyone to undermine and weaken its promises and initial impetus. In other words, he was the agent of the old GOP elite who managed to reign in much of the earlier expectations that many staunch conservatives—those Reaganauts, so-called—had.
And his succession to the presidency in 1989 only confirmed that, affirming that the Republican power brokers had not lost their authority, had not lost their grip on power.
Certainly, the 41st president did not bear full responsibility for all that happened. President Reagan, himself, in many ways misjudged the resilience of the Establishment whose objectives and overall advancement only suffered a minor setback with his election in 1980. Just as with Donald Trump, Reagan the outsider faced the immense task of filling thousands of government positions and fell back on standard GOP professionals and the “counsel” of “worthies” inside the Washington Beltway or gathered in the smoke-filled rooms on Wall Street. And their loyalty was not necessarily to the Reagan agenda.
Does it not remind us of how certain intransigent Never Trumpers prior to the 2016 election—e.g. Nikki Haley, John Bolton—could then take their “Roads to Canossa” after the election and end up dominating, at the least, the foreign policy of the Trump administration (contrary to the America First agenda enunciated during the 2016 campaign)? And does it not explain a certain naivete’ that characterized both Reagan and President Trump? How, otherwise, to explain Trump interviewing zealous anti-Trumpers Mitt Romney and Elliott Abrams for high positions, or Reagan bowing largely to Bush Republicans not to abolish the US Department of Education?
The Trumpian revolution is, arguably, more substantial and wide-reaching—and far more desperate—than the Reagan revolution. The times and circumstances are far more dire and critical: the very future of our sharply divided nation hangs in the balance. The niceties and mostly polite exchanges that characterized political debate in 1980 or 1988 have been swept aside, today only vague memories to be evoked by fossilized “Bush men” who have filled Fox News over the past couple of days, oozing their continuous praise for George the Elder with a torrent of verbal and visual obsequious beatification (I confess that after about an hour of that I switched over to Sirius XM Symphony Hall…always a refuge for anyone weary of the dross of contemporary American politics!).
But these days in thinking about President Bush the senior, I remembered I had published two essays on the Bush family, the Bush dynasty, back in 2014 and then in 2015. [cf. “Bush family liberalism: The ghost of Prescott Bush haunts us still,” CDN, July 2, 2014, at: http://www.commdiginews.com/politics-2/bush-family-liberalism-the-ghost-of-prescott-bush-haunts-us-still-20737/ and, “These Bushes Are Poisonous,” The Unz Review, March 3, 2015, at: http://www.unz.com/article/these-bushes-are-poisonous/]
In re-reading what I had written then, what came through is that I would change nothing were I to write these essays today. Admittedly, my tone is very critical, even at times harsh, and I am aware of the earlier injunction I cite above about not speaking ill of the dead. Nevertheless, I believe that a fuller accounting of the role of the Bush family, and, indeed, of the deleterious effects it has had in more recent American history, need to be kept in mind, even as we offer our respects.
[To be totally transparent: I chaired the Buchanan for President campaign in North Carolina during 1991-1992 and worked to unseat President Bush in the GOP primaries, and I would do it again, if called on.]
Here is the March 2015 essay:
The latest news that Jeb Bush has named two very public and outspoken homosexuals to prominent positions in his campaign confirms fully the worst fears that many grass roots traditional conservatives have regarding his role in Republican politics leading up to the 2016 elections. According to columnist Steve Deace in a February 28 piece, titled, “Jeb Bush Comes Out of the Closet,” Bush has tapped David Kochel, who proudly calls himself a “Rainbow Jihadist,” to be a senior advisor, and Tim Miller, “one of D.C.’s 30 most influential homosexuals,” to be his communications chief.
About Miller, Deace copies some of his social media postings that are bound to arouse the ire of traditional conservatives.
One posting that captures attention depicts a picture of a child hugging someone dressed as the Easter bunny with the caption, “On 1 yr. anniversary of Iowa gay marriage ruling, (Iowa Family Policy Council’s) worst fears are realized: Rabbit/Child love-making.”
Miller also comments on Sesame Street: “If Bert was gay, why didn’t he wax his eyebrows? A symposium on grooming and heteronormativity.”
On his Facebook page Miller brags of his participation in events like: “DC Protest Against CA Proposition 8;” “SUGARTIT: A dirty Polaroid style New Year’s Eve;” “BYGays AllCity Happy Hour feat;” and “Homo/Sonic: Natty Boom Birthday Explosion!”
As Deace rightly comments, “…that’s straight out of the Republican Party platform, right? Just like Bush’s support for amnesty and Common Core. Bottom line: The GOP establishment’s poster boy just hired a flak that enjoys lampooning the very base of the party he claims to serve. The very base of the party that supported both his father and brother in competitive primaries, and played key roles in them not only winning the nomination but the presidency.”
But none of this should come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the history of the Bush family. Beginning with Yankee patriarch and Wall Street banker, Prescott Bush, that history is one of calculated pretense to sounding like whatever best advances the political and financial fortunes of the family. But down deep the Bushes, arguably, have been conservatives. In recent years, the Bushes have sometimes “conservative,” but in the darker recesses of their thinking, they reject basic principles that give essential life and form to conservatism.
Take a cursory 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 as early as 1942, and served as the treasurer of the first national capital campaign of in 1947 [....]
“From 1947 to 1950, he served as Connecticut finance chairman, and was the Republican candidate for the in 1950. A columnist in said that Bush ‘is coming on to be known as . Nobody knows Mr. Bush and he hasn’t a .’ (Harry Hopkins [a Communist fellow traveler] had been one of ‘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 United States 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 Republican Senator after McCarthy had taken on the and the . 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 . 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 legacy of Rockefeller Wall Street Republicanism that George H. W. and succeeding members of the family inherited. Long since before George Sr.’s election in 1988 the examples abound that confirm the persistence of this heritage among the Bushes.
More recently, George Sr. and Barbara participated in a “lesbian wedding” in Maine, serving as official witnesses for the ceremony. As commented (September 25, 2013): “Other members of the Bush circle — including granddaughter Barbara, daughter-in-law and former first lady Laura, and Dick Cheney — have expressed varying levels of support for gay marriage, which became legal in Maine in December.”
And on September 13, 2013, current contender Jeb made cozy with Hillary Clinton. According to , Bush, as chairman of the National Constitution Center, awarded Clinton the 2013 Liberty Medal, remarking one year after the Benghazi attack:
“I want to say thank you to both Secretary and to President ….Thank for your service to our country. We’re united by love of country and public service.”
What that event actually denoted is something profound about the Bush “establishment” ethos, how it actually transcends political parties, and how it broadly embraces and forms an integral part of a financial and political oligarchy, or managerial elite, who believe that they are destined not only to govern this nation, but to run it as their satrapy. It’s not rocket science to understand that Bush’s strong support for Common Core and what amounts to amnesty for illegal immigrants reveal to us that the ghost of Prescott has seeped out for public view once more through this latest representative of the clan.
George Bush the Younger doesn’t escape conservative scrutiny, either. There are various articles and stories in print and on the Web detailing that the Bush presidency was most definitely not a conservative one. A 2011 article in 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 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.”
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 exercised much control over 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.
Until the Bush/Establishment grip 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.
The Jeb Bush appointments are just one more confirmation that the Bushes–the Bush family, and indeed, the Republican Establishment—are about as poisonous to traditional conservatism as the arsenic that figured in those classic films from the 1940s. hen the so-called “conservative” party in American politics undercuts and sabotages just about conservative principle they are supposed (and were purportedly elected) to defend, you’ve got to wonder what’s going on.
The simple answer is that in the US today we have revolutionary Leftist parties on the national level: one that wants to advance the Revolution quickly, and the other—led by folks like Jeb Bush—that insidiously pushes more or less the same agenda, but does it quietly, even surreptitiously, while–with a straight face—protesting that it that radical agenda.
For the past thirty plus years grass roots traditional conservatives have been taken for one immense and intense “ride”: fooled, bamboozled, and tricked by unkept—in fact never intended to be kept—promises by the “loyal opposition.”
The Neoconservatives, those intellectual descendants of Leon Trotsky and his ideas of global revolution and “equality,” now dominate the leadership echelons of the GOP and control FOX News, , , the . Increasingly they demand that we acknowledge that same sex marriage and open borders are here to stay and now must be fully baptized as conservative. On such issues they intersect with and provide the fodder for a Jeb Bush and those like him.
The only problem is that this (Neo)conservative “alternative” is based philosophically on the very same postulates as espoused by the Neocons’ supposed enemies on the hard Left. And, if forces in our political milieu have the same basic philosophical template, the eventual result won’t be hard to figure out—let’s see, full Obamacare (thanks to the “conservative” John Roberts and a pusillanimous, cowardly GOP Congress), same sex marriage (recall the elder Bushes joyfully participating in a “lesbian wedding” in Maine), open borders (Jeb, the Chamber of Commerce, and the GOP establishment are for it), and perpetual wars in foreign countries many of us have never heard of (quick–parachute John McCain into Lower Slobovia, so he can save those folks!) to “impose liberal democracy and egalitarianism” (to quote Allan Bloom) on poor souls barely out of the Middle Ages, or maybe to die for Wall Street or for the secular State of Israel.
And our poor, befuddled conservative base is told by the Establishment: “You have no place to go; it’s either us, or–shudder!–Hillary!” Ouch! And too many tele-evangelists join in, implicitly, with the same message, and, ironically, rally round men and women who are taking us down the same road to perdition as those over on the hard Left. Talk about the brain collapse of Christianity! One thing I learned in four years studying Moral Theology in Switzerland is that the “lesser evil” option doesn’t work when (1) both choices are formally evil, and (2) there is a third choice. And in such a case, staying home or voting for a third party candidate would be legitimate, even required, moral choices.
The specter of Prescott Bush still casts a spell over the Bush family and the Republican establishment, now with the collaboration of many (neo)conservatives. All along, despite some occasionally pleasant words, the Bushes have been enablers. As congressional Republicans continue to sell out America on everything from illegal immigration to Obamacare, traditional conservatives need to be told, once again, that the GOP “establishment” is not on their side. Prescott Bush’s ghost lives and prospers at the RNC and in the halls of the US Congress.
A Jeb vs. Hillary contest in 2016 probably means the icing on the cake of the end of America, for what that’s worth. Alas, when your country is dying an ugly, spasmodically foul death, you don’t call in assassins to finish it off.
The Bushes are poisonous, more so than poison ivy, which will go away after treatment. They are like a terminal cancer, and eventually they will do you in….