Saturday, February 28, 2015

Bush family values

With Jeb Bush running for the Presidency, this is worth remembering: "Bush-style conservatism isn’t only about upholding the plutocracy. It’s about money as a lubricator of “free enterprise” in the varied forms Bushes themselves have pursued through the generations: banking, oil, real estate, baseball team owning." (Sam Tanenhaus, The Bush Restoration 02/23/2015 The National Interest Mar-Apr 2015 issue)

Cenk Uygur looks at Jeb's current campaign in Jeb Bush Rejects His Brother By Doing More Of The Same The Young Turks 02/22/2015:

And if you have trouble remembering what government under the last Bush Presidency, aka, the Cheney-Bush Administration, was like, Tanenhaus has this reminder: "George W. Bush slipped through to a second term, but he needed help from Supreme Court conservatives to get there in 2000; Gore received roughly 540,000 votes more than he did. And he returned to private life trailing more bad feeling than any departing president since Richard Nixon." (my italics)

Shrub Bush's famous moderation and "compassionate conservatism" were on prominent display in the invasion of Iraq:

The trouble was “a series of faulty assumptions” that Bush’s war cabinet aggressively promulgated. One was that regime change in Iraq would bring stability to the region; another, that Iraq had a direct connection to the 9/11 attacks. Bush administration hawks ignored all warnings that the Iraq invasion would inflame an already-volatile region, summoning forth fresh waves of jihadists. The martial dogma they embraced struck many as new. In fact, it was an offshoot of the rollback or “liberationist” doctrine espoused by militant anti-Communists in the 1950s and 1960s. At the time, this approach was rejected as irresponsible by Democratic and Republican presidents alike. But it flourished on the right. Its first major political spokesman was Barry Goldwater. “In addition to keeping the free world free, we must try to make the Communist world free,” he declared in The Conscience of a Conservative. “To these ends, we must always try to engage the enemy at times and places, and with weapons, of our own choosing.” This crusading foreign policy was later taken up by neoconservatives in Bush 43’s administration and at outposts like the Defense Policy Board and the Weekly Standard. Together, they created the Bush Doctrine, which was Goldwaterism revived. [my emphasis in bold]
Tannenhaus quote from Shrub's biography of his father: "When I was considering options for my vice presidential nominee, I called to ask [Bush Sr.’s] advice about his former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Without hesitating, he said, 'Dick would be a great choice. He would give you candid and solid advice. And you’d never have to worry about him going behind your back.'”

Old Man Bush is supposed to be moderate, too. Like Shrub. And Jeb.

Old Man Bush's moderation was on view early on: "In his first campaign, for the Senate in 1964, Bush denounced the Civil Rights Act, just as Barry Goldwater did. Bush lost—to the Democratic incumbent, Ralph Yarborough, who had supported the legislation—but he was now an early favorite of National Review." Or, as Charlie Pierce likes to call it, the long-time white supremacist journal National Review.

But he gets Bipartisan admiration: "Today the elder Bush’s presidency has profited from revisionism. (Barack Obama is an admirer.)"

Tannenhaus does point out that Old Man Bush did handle the collapse of the Soviet empire with less cinematic cowboy belligerence than St. Reagan's fans like to imagine Ronnie did: "Bush’s confident stewardship contrasts strikingly with the crusading of his son and discredits the claim that the two presidencies [Bush 41 and Shrub's] were ideologically of a piece."

And if Jeb manages to get the nomination, he is likely to try the same compassionate-conservative trick that both Old Man Bush and Shrub used: "if the economy continues to improve, Obama could leave office as a relatively popular president, as Clinton did in 2000, despite having been impeached. George W. Bush, grasping this, 'cunningly presented himself as Bill Clinton’s heir,' as David Frum wrote in 2008. Jeb is better positioned than most other Republicans to do the same in 2016."

And we need to remember the Bush family's elevated concept of public service: "for the Bushes, loyalty comes first. And like all dynastic families, they equate what is best for themselves with what is best for the country. This is the meaning of 'public service.'"

If you want a major dose of Jeb's foreign policy rhetoric, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs presents a video of his recent major foreign policy address, Jeb Bush addresses The Chicago Council on Global Affairs YouTube date 02/18/2015:

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