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Beating Around the Bushes

December 4, 2018

James Pinkerton served as a speechwriter in the White House of President Reagan and in Policy and Planning in the Presidential Administration of George H.W. Bush. Writing in his 1995 book titled What’s Next, Pinkerton took the measure of President George H. W. Bush.

Pinkerton believes that Bush 41, successor to Ronald Reagan, squandered his “birthright for a mess of political potage” and damned Bush, as well as any skilled writer can by observing: “He lacked respect for words and the ideas behind them.”

G. H. W. Bush casually dismissed his study of Economics at Yale as “the idea thing.” He was clever, however, and well understood how the powers of government can be manipulated. For example, he went out of his way to appoint family members of journalists to positions in his government, thus hoping to buy the journalist’s good will. And, whereas we conservatives saw the revolutionary intent of the civil rights movement, Bush–who had voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act–committed his career after 1964 to a mea culpa for this past sin. The Office of Civil Rights in the Bush Administration was described by one conservative appointee in the Bush Administration as “full of Leeberals.” That was characteristic of the George W. Bush Administration as well, which explains why so many of “W’s” former appointees show up on MSNBC and CNN as critics of President Donald Trump.

Those of us who came up in the ranks of the conservative movement, however, dismissed G. H.W. and George “W” Bush as “Liberal Republicans.”  Now in death, of course, we honor Bush 41’s service and his good character, but during his one-term Presidency we regretted his unwillingness to advance conservative principles of limited government and his indifference to the illness inflicted on American government by the Progressive Left.

 

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