Some conservative media types and political leaders were shocked by former President George W. Bush’s remarks during a speech at Shanksville, Pennsylvania, commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11. There he compared the January 6 Capitol protesters to the Islamic terrorists who viciously attacked the United States, killing nearly three thousand citizens and wounding more than double that number.
Warning of future terrorist threats to the United States, Bush solemnly intoned: “We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only [from] across borders but from violence that gathers within.” Alluding to American citizens who entered Capitol Hill to protest the 2020 election, he continued:
“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit and it is our continuing duty to confront them.”
The leftist media rejoiced at what they called “a thinly-veiled slam at the Jan. 6 insurrectionists and other U.S. political extremists.”
Bush’s image of “the same foul spirit” cast disparagingly not only at the demonstrators of January 6, but at seventy-five million Americans who refused to go along with the revenge of the Deep State last November is one more reminder of not only who George Jr. is and was, but of the deep-seated nature of the Bush dynasty going back seventy years. The real George Bush had emerged…but, he had been there all the time, and far too many had failed or not wanted to understand and see. They should have.
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 have never been conservatives. In recent years, the Bushes have, it is true, sometimes sounded “conservative,” but in their honest moments, they reject basic principles that give essential life to traditional conservatism….which goes a long way to explain George Jr.’s loathing not just of Donald Trump, but more especially of his MAGA supporters…and why his most recent statements could have come from a “woke” Democrat operative.
That really shouldn’t shock us, but far too many conservatives remain confused.
Let’s go back and take a look at some of the family history and notice the characteristics. First, the patriarch of the family: 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.”
McCarthy was right about Communist subversion in American government and culture, as we know now. And Prescott was wrong.
This is the kind of silk-stocking, Rockefeller Wall Street Republicanism that Prescott’s heir, George H. W. and succeeding members of the family, inherited. And since 1992 the persistence of this same heritage and praxis among the Bushes has been on full display.
Back in 2013, George Sr.’s son Jeb, even then eyeing the White House, made a point of down-playing any real differences with Hillary Clinton, the odds-on favorite to be the Democratic Party nominee in 2016. According to The Washington Times (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 report buried on the back pages actually hinted at was something profound about the Bush family, which had not and would not change from generation through generation. They were to a man (and woman) members of Eastern establishment Republicanism. Although the Times article highlighted a minor incident, digging deeper one finds a constant pattern of Bush family adherence to the managerial state and its policies. Despite the occasional perfunctory nod to more traditional conservative principles (as George H. W.’s professed acceptance of the “Reagan Agenda”), the “Leopard could not change its spots.”
In 1992 I was the North Carolina state chairman for Pat Buchanan’s primary challenge to George Bush Sr. I argued strenuously with some of my Republican friends that voting for Pat Buchanan in the presidential primary was the right thing to do. While admitting the deficiencies of then-President Bush, their main argument was that voting for Buchanan would only weaken the GOP and 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 that David Souter, Harry Blackmun, Earl Warren, William Brennan, Sandra Day O’Connor, and other Left-leaning justices had been appointed by Republican presidents, responses were muted. 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.”
In 2000 most conservatives, faced with an electoral choice in the presidential election between George W. Bush and Al Gore, once again marked the Republican ballot. Although traditionalist Patrick Buchanan was running that year as a clear-cut choice, an independent conservative on the Reform Party ticket, the GOP once more successfully employed the tactic of triangulation which they had used and continue to use to corral traditionally conservative voters, fearful that a split on the right would insure a progressivist win.
Buchanan’s vision was much more in tune with a beleaguered “middle America,” indeed with the Americans who would eventually elect Donald Trump. In a certain palpable sense, Buchanan and the issues he attempted to highlight in three campaigns finally and fully emerged in 2016. And despite the election skullduggery of 2020 and the hysterical efforts of the dominant cultural and political class, media, and academia to put the genie back in the lamp, what Trump did—whether he actually comprehended it or not—was to partially tear off the mask revealing the ugly and sullen face of a Deep State Establishment, both Democrat and Republican, which essentially cared only for its privileged position and power, and would do most anything to conserve them.
“If you vote for Pat,” they screamed, “you insure a Democrat in White House.” Yet each time weary conservative voters supported the GOP—Bush Sr., Bob Dole, George W., John McCain, Mitt Romney—what were they really doing but endorsing and enabling “revolution lite,” a slightly less toxic version of the lunacy the hard Left was pushing and enacting? As my granddad once told me: “The Republicans are as useless as teats on a boar hog,” but worse, since with them never did those progressivist goal posts recede, only, as he added, “they are killing us more slowly.”
In 2011 an article appeared in The Washington Monthly highlighting some of the issues that separated George Jr. from conservatives: “Bush was wrong about everything from education to health care, immigration to international aid, national service (e.g., AmeriCorps, USA Freedom Corp) to foreign policy.” After 9/11 President Bush’s announced grand strategy, lifted whole-cloth from the Neoconservative vision of secular globalism, was to try to impose on perhaps the most primitive country in the world, Afghanistan, the most advanced (and corrupting) nostrums of liberal democracy: full feminism, full-blown equality, unrestrained consumerism, what the late economic historian R. H. Tawney called “the acquisitive society.” As we know now, or should know, is that that vision ran up foursquare against 1,300 years of ingrained Islamic tradition which had defeated British colonials in three desultory and bloody wars (1839–42; 1878–80; 1919), not to mention the disastrous defeat of Russian occupation (1979-1992), which helped bring on the collapse of the Soviet Communist state in 1991.
Those lessons were lost on George Jr., so hopelessly cocooned as he was in the language and agenda of globalism. The ghost of grand-father Prescott was not far from the scene.
In a real sense, George Jr.’s vision of America and the world was based on what liberal columnist Richard Cohen also noticed and 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.”
In 2013 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 of a philosophical outlook that he identified as partaking of the revolutionary “rationalist mind,” using the measures and research of the late English conservative political theorist Michael Oakeshott. Kerwick identified 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 Jr. through much of his presidency, and it was one of the several reasons that made staunch conservatives uncomfortable with and suspicious of him.
Years ago the wife of a dear friend of mine who had an important position in the Reagan White House related to me that the one role Vice-President George H. W. Bush requested—and got—from President Reagan was control of most appointments on the Gipper’s staff. You can imagine what types of folks were approved for service. Years later a number of those same staffers began appearing on MSNBC and CNN as pundits and militating in Never Trumper efforts.
The specter of Prescott still casts a spell over the Bush family. All along, despite some pleasant words, the Bushes have been enablers. As congressional Republicans continue to sell out America on everything from immigration to infrastructure, 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 this nation will have no real opposition to the ongoing, steep decline into multicultural totalitarianism.
Reprinted with the author’s permission.
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