Revisionism redux: George H.W. Bush

He must be near death. This article feels like the first draft of an obituary:

Also on hand will be another Democrat, former Representative David R. Obey of Wisconsin, who helped broker the 1990 budget deal that included tax increases. “If there’s a single word that you can use to describe Bush’s approach to politics, it’s governance,” Mr. Obey said. “It was a case where the adults ran the show.”

Other Democrats are quick to add praise. “I actually have a high opinion of Bush 41,” said former Representative Richard A. Gephardt, Democrat of Missouri, who ran for president in 1988. Mr. Bush showed “strong presidential leadership,” Mr. Gephardt said, in taking on his own party over taxes and not pursuing Iraqi troops all the way to Baghdad.

But Mr. Bush’s broken tax promise arguably paved the way for a revolution within, as Newt Gingrich and others wrested control from the establishment. Grover Norquist, the antitax activist who has labored to persuade Republicans never to repeat the “disaster” of the 1990 tax deal, today acclaims Mr. Bush as a “brilliant president” on foreign policy, who “did brilliant things.”

“Reunified Germany?” Like Reagan “liberating Eastern Europe”?

A gentleman, the defenders say. Look at his friendship with Bill Clinton, whom he called a bozo in a less than gentlemanly campaign. And, no, he was not a reflexive defender of all things Israel. While Poppy’s one term looks significantly better than his son’s for accomplishments around which the political establishment can rally, let us remember his political life. Undistinguished congressman. Chair of the RNC. Envoy to China (he’s just a man you appoint to things, Richard Nixon growled). CIA director, during whose tenure the agency regained much of its clout after the eviscerations of the Pike-Church hearings. Likely involved in the deal with Iranians that released the hostages in January 1981 to embarrass Jimmy Carter. Didn’t register a protest when the Reagan administration agreed to sell arms to our putative mortal enemies the Iranians (at least George Schultz and the indicted Caspar Weinberger did, although not enough to turn in their ID badges) — he was “out of the loop.” His national security adviser Donald Gregg coordinated Contra activities, including one Felix Rodriguez and pal Luis Posada Carriles. Ran the most vituperative and emptiest presidential campaign of my lifetime after realizing he was going to lose and badly (he won, comfortably). Dan Quayle. By winks and nods (again, the lingua franca of CIA directors) hinted through his ambassador that he would not mind if Iraq invaded part of Kuwait but affected surprise when SAD-um Hussein took it all. Encouraged the Kurds to rebel against Sad-um to save America the trouble of toppling him, then ignored them when Sa-ddum began the slaughter. Gave America Clarence Thomas, the trajectory of whose career was contingent on white men courting black Republicans.

Finally, it sucks that I have to write the initials of his middle name to distinguish him from his piece of shit son.

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