Bush Legacy

Quote of the Day

“The fact that there was any doubt in anyone’s mind about who the president was blows my mind.”

— Former President George W. Bush, quoted by Politico, adding that Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld “didn’t make one fucking decision.”

Bush Alums Rise In Trump White House

Associated Press: “The Bush influence has only grown stronger recently, as Trump nominated Alex Azar to lead the Health and Human Services Department, where he served under the Bush administration, and tapped Jerome ‘Jay’ Powell to be chairman of the Federal Reserve. Powell served in the Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush.”

“The Bush alums in the administration include Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who served as Bush’s labor secretary, and Dina Powell, a deputy national security adviser who oversaw White House personnel and later served in Bush’s State Department under Condoleezza Rice. Even the president’s schedule and day-to-day operations are overseen by a former member of Bush’s inner circle: Joe Hagin, who served as deputy White House chief of staff.”

Woman Says Bush Groped Her When She was 16

“Roslyn Corrigan was sixteen years old when she got a chance to meet George H.W. Bush, excited to be introduced to a former president having grown up dreaming of going into politics,” Time reports.

“But Corrigan was crushed by her encounter: Bush, then 79 years old, groped her buttocks at a November 2003 event in The Woodlands, Texas, office of the Central Intelligence Agency where Corrigan’s father gathered with fellow intelligence officers and family members to meet Bush, Corrigan said. Corrigan is the sixth woman since Oct. 24 to accuse Bush publicly of grabbing her buttocks without consent.”

Bannon Delivers Blistering Attack on Bush

Stephen Bannon said there “has not been a more destructive presidency than George Bush’s,” while arguing that Bush “embarrassed himself” with a “high falutin” speech which criticized President Trump, CNN reports.

He added that Bush “has no earthly idea of whether he’s coming or going… just like it was when he was president.”

Misremembering George W. Bush

Brian Beutler: “Trump is a uniquely dangerous and unfit president in many ways, but he tempts liberals to paint the Republican leaders who preceded him in an afterglow of decency and high-mindedness that is hard to detect if you go searching for it in the recent past.”

“Through a process of both forgetting and cohort replacement, the unremitting awfulness of the George W. Bush presidency—particularly its early years—has been rewritten in a faction of the liberal imagination as a kind of golden age when political debate was more honest and fact-driven. Things are in some ways worse now, but if that era ever existed, it predated George W. Bush by many years.”

Trump Learns to Love Bush Alums

Politico: “Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly declared that ‘the last thing we need is another Bush,’ as he vowed to take on two political dynasties — the Bushes and the Clintons. But as president, Trump has been increasingly dipping into the talent pool from the George W. Bush administration that he regularly vilified during the campaign to now fill critical administration posts.”

“Trump promised to drain the swamp and instead rely on Washington outsiders, but nearly 100 days into his term, the staffing and political realities have set in, and his team has been turning to some of the top old hands of the Bush administration. Just this past week, the White House sent out a press release announcing the nomination of four confirmation-level hires, with three out of the four being former Bush administration staffers.”

Trump Is Just George W. Bush But Racist

Jonathan Chait: “The Bush presidency was the most comprehensive governing failure of any administration since at least Herbert Hoover, and it ought to have poisoned the party’s national brand as deeply as it did Hoover’s GOP (which did not win another presidential election for twenty years). But the Republican Party managed to largely skirt the reputational fallout from the Bush catastrophe. It did so, in part, through the tea party: Conservatives hailed right-wing protests against Barack Obama as a call for ideological purity, cleansing the supposed big-government, cronyist tendencies of the Bush administration. The Republican Party of the Obama era insisted it had learned the lessons of the Bush years, when its agenda had devolved into little more than shoveling cash to K Street. The post-Bush GOP was allegedly sadder and wiser and filled with righteous abhorrence for the temptations of lobbyists and deficit spending.”

“Those lessons have all been forgotten. The Republican government, under Trump, has retraced the steps it took under Bush — from the obsession with tax cuts for the rich, to the vanishing line between the party’s paid lobbyists and its public servants. The reality is that, contrary to the willful misreading of conservatives elites, the tea-party revolution was not fundamentally a reaction against deficits or crony capitalism: It was a heavily racialized backlash against social change. And that spirit — the true animating spirit of the grassroots right — has lived on in Trump’s presidency.”

Did the Iraq War Lead to Trump?

John Cassidy: “While the connection between the war to depose Saddam and the election of 2016 is indirect, it is etched in history. Without the invasion of Iraq, and the disillusionment with the U.S. political establishment that its terrible aftermath created, it is hard to see how a demagogue like Trump could ever have gained traction in national politics.”

“Yes, many factors played into his rise to power: deindustrialization, stagnant wages, racial resentments, class resentments, sexism, a craven broadcast media that gave him huge amounts of free airtime, strategic blunders by his opponent and her campaign, and the last-minute intervention of James Comey, the director of the F.B.I. Indeed, the problem with trying to explain Hillary Clinton’s defeat is that it was overdetermined: all sorts of arguments can seem persuasive. But the popular perception of a world gone haywire, a perception that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan helped to create, was also an important factor.”

Scowcroft Endorsed Hillary Clinton

Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser under Republican presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, Politico reports.

Said Scowcroft: “Secretary Clinton shares my belief that America must remain the world’s indispensable leader. She understands that our leadership and engagement beyond our borders makes the world, and therefore the United States, more secure and prosperous. She appreciates that it is essential to maintain our strong military advantage, but that force must only be used as a last resort.”

Bush

Coming this summer: Bush by Jean Edward Smith.

“Smith demonstrates that it was not Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, or Condoleezza Rice, but President Bush himself who took personal control of foreign policy. Bush drew on his deep religious conviction that important foreign-policy decisions were simply a matter of good versus evil. Domestically, he overreacted to 9/11 and endangered Americans’ civil liberties.”

Will Bush Family Sitting Out Hurt Trump?

First Read: “On the one hand, this news is not too surprising after Jeb Bush’s loss, and the Bush family influence was extremely limited during the ’16 primary season. On the other hand, it’s going to be difficult for Trump to unify the full Republican Party without the Bush family and Mitt Romney locking hands with their 2016 nominee in Cleveland. And you know what they say about divided houses, right?”

“Also get this: NBC’s Sarah Blackwill discovered that a Bush (either Jeb, Laura, W., Bush 41) has had a speaking role at every Republican convention going back to 1980. Does that streak come to an end this year?”