Presidential History

George H.W. Bush Once Again Humiliated By Ronald Reagan

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Back in the day, it was having to repudiate his stinging "voodoo economics" line and switching positions on abortion and being putting under 24/7 surveillance as vice president. Now, the first President Bush has received a Ronald Reagan award, given to those who "have contributed greatly to the cause of freedom worldwide." Bush played his second-rate status to the hilt, good-naturedly joking,

"I wish I had a little Ronald Reagan in me when it came to communicating with the American people," said Bush, who served as Reagan's vice president. "Had I been blessed with my predecessor's remarkable skill, who knows? I might still be employed."

One thing's for sure: Regardless of how many more Bushes get elected president (I'm betting on Jeb Bush's daughter Noelle to eventually win by using Bob Seger's "Like a Rock" as a theme song), H.W. will never be the worst we've seen. 

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  1. just another yes man. He became a believer in voodoo economics real quick when it would get him somewhere.

  2. his legacy will always be the mess in iraq and the lawyer’s full employment act (aka ada). w is only worse because he had two terms.

  3. Nick,

    Self deprecating humor, especially when offered in a congratulatory manner toward a person at an event meant to honor that person is not “another humiliation”. I realize that inventing a catchy headline is difficult, but it is only catchy if it accurately describes the topic; this headline fails that fundamental test.

  4. History will certainly not look back at the mess in Iraq and blame George H.W. Bush. In toddler terms, he may not have built the steadiest building-block tower, but the mess was made by the kid who kicked it down.

  5. Wayne’s right, I don’t see how getting an award and then making a crack about how your own career would have benefited from being more like the award’s namesake hardly sounds like a humiliation.

  6. Every plumber understands that shit runs downhill. It’s the same for politicians. The Bushes and Kennedys are prime examples. Each new one will be worse than the previous one, as impossible as that seems.

  7. Ain’t Noelle the crackhead?

  8. How is it that Chevy hasn’t been brought up on war crimes for that Bob Seger monstrosity?

  9. History will certainly not look back at the mess in Iraq and blame George H.W. Bush.

    too late. it already does.

  10. History will certainly not look back at the mess in Iraq and blame George H.W. Bush.

    On the contrary–we can go much farther back in history than H.W. Say, 1916 .

  11. edna,

    In case you hadn’t noticed, the National Review/Weekly Standard spin isn’t widely believed anymore.

    No matter what the members of your mutual admiration society tell each other, you don’t control the discourse anymore.

  12. I’m afraid I don’t understand the neocon argument that HW is at fault for Iraq. At least, as joe said, seeing how things have developed the past few years.

    Is it just that we should have got an earlier start on the whole ally-alienating and getting-stuck-in-quagmires things? Or maybe they are confident that after 16 years of occupation Iraq would finally start to be looking democracy-y and they’re impatient?

  13. I have to say, the first Bush administration’s decision not to occupy Iraq looks wiser and wiser in retrospect, even though I disagreed with it at the time.

    H.W. is a little bit too multilateralist for an isolationist like me, but he did seem to have an understanding of the practical limitations on the use of military force.

  14. I have to say, the first Bush administration’s decision not to occupy Iraq looks wiser and wiser in retrospect, even though I disagreed with it at the time.

    the problem was not the decision to not occupy (too many negatives in that phrase for clarity, sorry), but the decision not to knock out their central government. the idea that the latter must inevitably lead to the former is a false dichotomy.

    joe, if the nr mutual admiration society you’re referring to is derbyshire and the to-hell-with-them-hawks, then guilty as charged. if you mean the pro-occupation gang, then sorry, your mind-reading abilities don’t seem to reach here into lovely napa valley.

  15. Uh, edna, name me one instance in history where an occupying power did NOT remove a hostile government and replace it with a pliant one. Look how difficult it is to occupy Iraq even with a nominally friendly government. To do such an occupation with Saddam Hussein still in power? Not likely.

  16. edna’s argument depends on the unspoken assumption that the continuing existence of the Hussein government forced poor, helpless George W. Bush to launch this war.

    As if he had no choice.

  17. Actually, I think I did edna a disservice by misreading her post, since she was pointing out that we could have knocked out Hussein without occupying the country, whereas I read her post the opposite way. Eh, maybe.

    And even then, Iraq would have turned into a mess that would have stirred all kinds of calls to action by the bleeding hearts. H.W. & Co. opted for stability over regime change, obviously. Personally, I opt for noninterference wherever possible, though the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait did have at least some repercussions for our oil supply, which is VERY LEGITIMATE reason for us to go to war.

  18. chris, thanks for the reread. i do not consider what the bleeding hearts say since there is nothing that will stop their hearts from bleeding. stability is a baaaaaad thing. instability is a baaaaaad thing. we’re just baaaaad, no matter what we do or don’t do.

    a country ruled by a rabble poses no threat to the civilized world. if its residents then turn it into a third world shithole, who are we to stop that?

  19. “a country ruled by a rabble poses no threat to the civilized world. if its residents then turn it into a third world shithole, who are we to stop that?”

    Edna, I sympathize with your point, but your rhetorical question can be answered with a concrete example: Afghanistan under the Taliban. That was the friendly training ground for the Al Qaida murderers who did the whole 9/11 thing. So, it seems a country ruled by a rabble does indeed pose a threat to us.

    By the way, you are right about bleeding hearts, and your observation was beautifully phrased as well.

  20. No way will Noelle use “Like a Rock,” her generation doesn’t even know who Bob Seger is. She’ll use the even worse (by several magnitudes) “This Is Our Country” by Johnny Cougar.

  21. wayne, it’s a good point, and we responded the right way, by knocking out their government. do that any time a government or its agents attack us and you may find that future dictators will concentrate more on screwing up their own countries and less on trying to screw up ours.

    more broadly, and certainly less sensitively, the taliban/al queda in afghanistan were incapable of doing any real damage (3000 dead is a tragedy, but peanuts in the large view); nbc takes a scientific and industrial infrastructure that a rabble like the taliban are incapable of. the best they can do is box knives and retail killing.

  22. Everytime I hear that “this is our country” song I feel sick. A mondern day ‘this is your land, this is my land’ propaganda song.

  23. “stability is a baaaaaad thing. instability is a baaaaaad thing. we’re just baaaaad, no matter what we do or don’t do.”

    Stability is a bad thing? Who says this? Is there a single bleeding heart anywhere who says this? If I’m not mistaken, the whole problem is that we took away stability (good) and replaced it with instability (bad) because we thought a Democracy (good) would be better than Saddam (bad). I guess it is the right wing that is taking over the banner of “shrill.”

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