Skip to comments.The Miscreant Dynasty (Bush generations have enriched themselves- Howell Raines Bitterness Alert)
Posted on 12/18/2005 12:00:06 PM PST by nickcarraway
The Bush generations have enriched themselves while impoverishing the presidency.
AT THIS point, the policy legacy of George Bush seems pretty well defined by three disparate disasters: Iraq in foreign affairs, Katrina in social welfare, corporate influence over tax, budget and regulatory decisions. As a short-term political consequence, we may avoid another dim-witted Bush in the White House. But what the Bush dynasty has done to presidential campaign science the protocols by which Americans elect presidents in the modern era amounts to a political legacy that can haunt the Republic for years to come.
We are now enduring the third generation of Bushes who have taken the playbook of the "ruthless" Kennedys and amplified it into a consistent code of amorality in both campaign tactics and governance. In their campaigns, the Kennedys used money, image-manipulation, old-boy networks and, when necessary, personal attacks on worthy adversaries such as Adlai Stevenson and Hubert Humphrey. But there was also a solid foundation of knowledge and purpose undergirding John Kennedy's sophisticated internationalism, his Medicare initiative, his late-blooming devotion to racial justice, and Robert Kennedy's opposition to corporate and union gangsterism. Like Truman, Roosevelt and, yes, even Lincoln, two generations of Kennedys believed that a certain amount of political chicanery was tolerable in the service of altruism.
Behind George W, there are four generations of Bushes and Walkers devoted first to using political networks to pile up and protect personal fortunes and, latterly, to using absolutely any means to gain office, not because they want to do good, but because they are what passes in American for hereditary aristocrats. In sum, George Bush stands at the apex of a pyramid of privilege whose history and social significance that, given his animosity to scholarly thought, he almost certainly does not understand.
Here's the big picture, as drawn most effectively by the Republican political analyst Kevin Phillips in American Dynasty. Starting in 1850, the Bushes through alliance with the smarter Walker clan, built up a fortune based on classic robber-baron foundations: railways, steel, oil, investment banking, armaments and materiel in the world wars. They had ties to the richest families of the industrial age: Rockefeller, Harriman, Brookings.
Starting with Senator Prescott Bush's alliance with president Eisenhower and continuing through the dogged loyalty of his son, George H. W. Bush, to two more gifted politicians, presidents Nixon and Reagan, the family has developed a prime rule of advancement. In a campaign, any accommodation, no matter how unprincipled, any attack on an opponent, no matter how false, was to be embraced if it worked.
The paradigm in its purest form was seen when the first president Bush, in 1980, renounced a lifelong belief in abortion rights to run as Reagan's vice-president. To this day, any mention of this sell-out of principle sends the elder Bush into a rage. His son surpassed the father's dabbling with pork rinds and country music. He adopted the full agenda of redneck America on abortion, gun control, Jesus as a matter of convenience and, most frighteningly, as a matter of belief. Before the Bushes, American political slogans of the left and right embodied at least a grain of truth about how a presidential candidate would govern. The elder Bush's promise of a "kinder, gentler" America and the younger's "compassionate conservatism" brought us the political slogan as pure disinformation. They were asserting a claim of noblesse oblige totally foreign to their family history.
But whether Bush the father was pandering or Bush the son was praying, the underlying political trade-off was the same. The Bushes believe in letting the hoi polloi control the social and religious restrictions flowing from Washington, so long as Wall Street gets to say what happens to the nation's money. The Republican Party as a national institution has endorsed this trade-off. What we don't know yet is whether a GOP without a Bush at the top is seedy enough to keep it going. Dating back to the days when they talked of making George Washington a king, Americans have had an ambivalent attitude towards their aristocrats. They have also believed that dirty politics originated with populist Machiavellis such as Louisiana Governor Huey Long and urban bosses such as Chicago mayor Richard Daley. The Bushes, with their minders such as Rove, Cheney and DeLay, have turned that historic expectation upside down. Now political deviance trickles down relentlessly from the top. The next presidential election will be a national test of whether the taint of Bushian tactics outlasts what is probably the last Bush family member to occupy the executive mansion.
In 1988, the first president Bush secured office by falsely depicting his opponent as a coddler of rapists and murderers. In 2000, the present president Bush nailed down the nomination by accusing John McCain of opposing breast-cancer research. He won in 2004 with a barrage of lies about John Kerry's war record.
With the right leadership the kind of flawed, but principled presidents sprinkled through its history the United States can stop the blood-letting in Iraq, regain its standing in the world, avert the crises in health care and Social Security, and even bring disaster relief to the Gulf Coast.
But that's not simply a matter of keeping Bushes and Bushites, with their impaired civic consciences, out of the White House. The next presidential campaign will show us whether these miscreant patricians have poisoned the well of the presidential campaign system. If so, there's no telling what kind of president we might get.
LOLOL....Raines on Crack. An ugly sight.
The world according to Howell As long as you keep in mind that all autobiography is history written by a liar, Howell Raines' feature in the May Atlantic Monthly about his 20-month rise and fall as executive editor of the New York Times is a valuable addition to the growing literature about his crack-up
Our chief disaster is Iraq! Iraq and Katrina! Oh! Our two chief disasters are Iraq and Katrina! And corporate influence over tax decisions! Drat! Amongst our disasters are just disparate elements as: Iraq, katrina, corporate influence over tax decisions, corporate influence over budget decisions, and ... I can't do it! Cardinal Fang, you'll have to say it!
the Bushes through alliance with the smarter Walker clan, built up a fortune based on classic robber-baron foundations: railways, steel, oil, investment banking, armaments and materiel in the world wars.
As opposed to the far more honest and forthright Kennedy method of violating the law by bootlegging.
You are invited to cordially GFY.
I glanced long enough to note a comparison between the Kennedys and the Bushs.
Big problem, Bush=real, Kennedy=media creation
"...these miscreant patricians... He must be referring to the Kennedys...
Howell Raines really needs to lay off the old laxative - it is not working, and he is in danger of overflowing - and pick a new one.
Old liberals are the new banshees of the 21st century. And the death their cries foretell of is that of the Democratic Party.
What a moron. Par for the MSM course.
I stopped reading right there ........
As a stupid Republican can someone explain this to me?
I hope these self appointed intellectuals continue in their closed,pitiful,petty little worlds because the stunned look of rage you will see after the '06 elections will be priceless.
It's crystal clear that Mr. Raines' outlook on President Bush's legacy is quite different from mine. Definitely not a surprise.
Didn't read the rest of the article beyond that first comment. I want to stay in a good mood.
In hope the bird flu gets NYC and Washington, first.
God forbid President Bush has "convictions" and believes in Jesus! The horror! The horror!
Howell Raines is a hate-filled antichrist.
If the Bush's wanted money I think they would have a whole lot more of it ...how much does Mr Raines have anyway?
AN OPEN LETTER TO: Howell Raines, Head News Cook and Chief Weenie-Washer for The Old Gray Lady. The Eldest Whore in the Eastern Stables of the Free and Independent, Impartial and Non-Politically Driven Fourth Estate.
You fall into that category of entities like the late Bella Abzug and others who I've come to describe as those persons "who, by the mere fact of their very existence are superfluous". I'll grant you that may seem harsh, albeit true, but we can all just feel the seething, oozing animose and personal venom you, a fraud of a 'newspaperman', project? You are about as fair and impartial a commentator on the passing political parade as was Attila the Hun a spokesperson for 'tolerance'! Your hateful opinions run such an extensive gamut that you have defined yourself, by that manner, as yet another AMERICA hater. It's been a long day Hal..baby, so let's get to one of about 19 issues you've negatively impacted as you sought to define yourself. Oh, but first...just the briefest of constructive suggestion on your behalf and to show my heart is, indeed, in the right place. A psychiatrist friend of mine read your piece in the paper and suggested to me that what you may well need is a piece in the sack (if you get my meaning) as sexual frustration can be a rather destructive thing. Just ask Maureen Dowd. Now there's a thought. Mutually beneficial therapy and nobody has to bear witness to you guys making fools of yourselves in public. Don't get annoyed now. Hell! It beats trying to satisfy yourself on your own and them having to clean up the mess afterwards, no?
Now you've gone and done it Hal. You caused me to break my concentration, but fear not as I have a good memory and will return to make my point-by-point case against you soon. Right now I have more important things to do as my butt needs scratching and I've got some earwax to clear out. Please check back from time to time for updates. Later guy...... Oops, I almost forgot. Ex-nay on the political asturbation-may. Definitely not a healthy form of intercourse. (Sorry Hal. Poor choice of word there)
Most Sincerely, Your devoted pal, 'Doc'
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