11/11/15, George H.W. Bush biographer Jon Meachum interviewed on Leonard Lopate show, WNYC radio, New York City, Wed. Nov. 11
"George H.W. Bush and the Contradictions of Public Office"
:33 minute interview
Comment: From WNYC summary, Meachum says George H.W. Bush "was more liberal than people think." Many of us are acutely aware that Bush 41 was no friend of the United States (that's how I define "liberal" today), but many aren't. I wasn't interested in hearing about the new George HW Bush biography by Jon Meachum, but WNYC interviewer Leonard Lopate is usually worth listening to on any topic. I hope to find a written transcript of the interview in the next few days. Of interest, not in particular order:
1. The recently reported negative statements Bush made about Rumsfeld and Cheney were actually made seven years ago. Meachum had no intention of leaving them out of the book, but did go back to Bush and give him the option of hedging the statements, saying for example that on consideration, he didn't hold such strong views about them after all. But Bush said, no, that's what I said.
2. Democrat Lloyd Bentsen ran to the right of Republican George HW Bush when both ran for US Senate from Texas.
3. George W Bush #43 while president met with James Baker and Henry Kissinger much more frequently than is generally known.
4. George HW Bush's father was a US Senator who Meachum says wasn't even a moderate Republican, was a liberal Republican who supported Planned Parenthood.
5. George HW Bush loved his time as UN Ambassador. Meachum thinks Bush's global, multi-lateral orientation is generally what defines his legacy. The interview didn't mention that Bush's enthusiastic attachment to the UN and Maurice Strong led to Bush placing the United States government behind and permanently binding US taxpayers to the fledgling global warming movement. The now $2 billion a day climate danger industry was built on demonization of Americans. Bush set up the Nov. 16, 1990, Global Change Research Act (also known as USGCRP) mandate in the Executive branch diverting 13 federal agencies to climate tasks. The mandate also guaranteed that US taxpayers would finance the global climate industry. At that time, almost no one had ever heard of climate science or celebrity climate scientists.
6. George W Bush 43 wanted to replace his Sec. of Defense in 2005 and appoint James Baker, but Baker at age 76 wasn't interested. In late 2006 Bush replaced Rumsfeld with Robert Gates.
11/11/15, WNYC Summary of Leonard Lopate interview of Jon Meachum:
"Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jon Meacham talked to us about his new presidential biography Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush. George H.W. Bush's father was a liberal Republican politician who supported Planned Parenthood and denounced Joseph McCarthy. But Bush veered away from his father's liberalism as he campaigned for office in Texas.
EVENT: On Wednesday, November 11, Jon Meacham will be in conversation with George Stephanopoulos at the 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10128 at 7:15 P.M."
image from WNYC
Comment: George HW Bush is largely responsible for the deliberate disintegration of the Republican Party as Peggy Noonan wrote in 2007: "The Bushes, father and son, though different in many ways, are great wasters of political inheritance.
They throw it away as if they'd earned it and could do with it what they liked. Bush senior inherited a vibrant country and a party at peace with itself. He won the leadership of a party that had finally, at great cost, by 1980, fought itself through to unity and come together on shared principles. Mr. Bush won in 1988 by saying he would govern as Reagan had. Yet he did not understand he'd been elected to Reagan's third term. He thought he'd been elected because they liked him. And so he raised taxes, sundered a hard-won coalition, and found himself shocked to lose the presidency"...(After the Nov. 2008 election, the GOP basically ceased to exist, having happily merged with democrats. They came back briefly to beat back the Tea Party).
George Bush father and son kicked conservatives out of the Republican Party:
6/2/2007, "Too bad," Wall St. Journal column by Peggy Noonan:
"What political conservatives and on-the-ground Republicans must understand at this point is that they are not breaking with the White House on immigration. They are not resisting, fighting and thereby setting down a historical marker -- "At this point the break became final." That's not what's happening. What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future.
The White House doesn't need its traditional supporters anymore, because its problems are way beyond being solved by the base. And the people in the administration don't even much like the base. Desperate straits have left them liberated, and they are acting out their disdain. Leading Democrats often think their base is slightly mad but at least their heart is in the right place. This White House thinks its base is stupid and that its heart is in the wrong place.
For almost three years, arguably longer, conservative Bush supporters have felt like sufferers of battered wife syndrome. You don't like endless gushing spending, the kind that assumes a high and unstoppable affluence will always exist, and the tax receipts will always flow in? Too bad! You don't like expanding governmental authority and power? Too bad. You think the war was wrong or is wrong? Too bad.
But on immigration it has changed from "Too bad" to "You're bad."
The president has taken to suggesting that opponents of his immigration bill are unpatriotic -- they "don't want to do what's right for America." His ally Sen. Lindsey Graham has said, "We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up." On Fox last weekend he vowed to "push back."
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff suggested opponents would prefer illegal immigrants be killed; Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said those who oppose the bill want "mass deportation." Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said those who oppose the bill are "anti-immigrant" and suggested they suffer from "rage" and "national chauvinism."
Why would they speak so insultingly, with such hostility, of opponents who are concerned citizens? And often, though not exclusively, concerned conservatives? It is odd, but it is of a piece with, or a variation on, the "Too bad" governing style. And it is one that has, day by day for at least the past three years, been tearing apart the conservative movement.
I suspect the White House and its allies have turned to name calling because they're defensive, and they're defensive because they know they have produced a big and indecipherable mess of a bill -- one that is literally bigger than the Bible, though as someone noted last week, at least we actually had a few years to read the Bible. The White House and its supporters seem to be marshalling not facts but only sentiments, and self-aggrandizing ones at that. They make a call to emotions -- this is, always and on every issue, the administration's default position -- but not, I think, to seriously influence the debate....
If they'd really wanted to help, as opposed to braying about their own wonderfulness, they would have created not one big bill but a series of smaller bills, each of which would do one big clear thing, the first being to close the border. Once that was done -- actually and believably done -- the country could relax in the knowledge that the situation was finally not day by day getting worse. They could feel some confidence. And in that confidence real progress could begin.
The beginning of my own sense of separation from the Bush administration came in January 2005, when the president declared that it is now the policy of the United States to eradicate tyranny in the world, and that the survival of American liberty is dependent on the liberty of every other nation. This was at once so utopian and so aggressive that it shocked me. For others the beginning of distance might have been Katrina and the incompetence it revealed, or the depth of the mishandling and misjudgments of Iraq.
What I came in time to believe is that the great shortcoming of this White House, the great thing it is missing, is simple wisdom. Just wisdom -- a sense that they did not invent history, that this moment is not all there is, that man has lived a long time and there are things that are true of him, that maturity is not the same thing as cowardice, that personal loyalty is not a good enough reason to put anyone in charge of anything, that the way it works in politics is a friend becomes a loyalist becomes a hack, and actually at this point in history we don't need hacks.
One of the things I have come to think the past few years is that the Bushes, father and son, though different in many ways, are great wasters of political inheritance.
They throw it away as if they'd earned it and could do with it what they liked. Bush senior inherited a vibrant country and a party at peace with itself. He won the leadership of a party that had finally, at great cost, by 1980, fought itself through to unity and come together on shared principles. Mr. Bush won in 1988 by saying he would govern as Reagan had. Yet he did not understand he'd been elected to Reagan's third term. He thought he'd been elected because they liked him. And so he raised taxes, sundered a hard-won coalition, and found himself shocked to lose the presidency, and for eight long and consequential years. He had many virtues, but he wasted his inheritance.
Bush the younger came forward, presented himself as a conservative, garnered all the frustrated hopes of his party, turned them into victory, and not nine months later was handed a historical trauma that left his country rallied around him, lifting him, and his party bonded to him. He was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.
Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them. This will require courage, serious thinking and an ability to do what psychologists used to call letting go. This will be painful, but it's time. It's more than time."