GHW Bush finale on ‘blowhard’ Trump?

When nominations and campaigns get corrupted, elections are inevitably degraded – and forget rational governance by capable leaders.

Image Credit: Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Note: Thanks to the quirky mysteries of internet delivery, this morning up popped a surprise outpouring by an ex-president, allegedly George HW Bush, expressing horror at today’s White House occupant. I can’t verify the genuineness of this cry of the heart; hell, it might well be a hoax or satire. I do share a last name with Bush’s longterm chief of staff, Jean Becker, so who knows what happened? In any case, truth (which adults still honor) will out, eventually. RB

My dear Jean:

I’ve kept my mouth tightly shut for two years, more or less, but now my earthly days are numbered. Verily. As Barbara my beloved Enforcer has moved on, why not go for broke, confronting this poison against clean primaries and elections, good government, conservative thinking, the Republican party, and the role of our great country in world affairs? Unfit leader. Incredibly vulgar. Can’t end well. The falloff makes left-wing Obama look like a saint – plus quiets naysayers on my son’s troubled tenure. Makes me wish I voted for a Democrat last time out. Forsooth, I did vote for Hillary. Egads.

I figure if I don’t unburden myself in this life that could carry negative baggage into the next. Wouldn’t want that. Bad karma. Honesty the best policy. I’m old-fashioned enough, and stuffy enough to respect duty, honor, truth, women, tolerance and sacrifice for the greater good. That’s why I quickly sniffed out fraudulence. Menaces doom the party. George was right: this joker could be the last Republican president for some time. Lincoln, TR and Eisenhower deserve better.

I’m not the most articulate guy, plagued as some allege with tangled syntax, though my spontaneous indirections always made sense to me – and why people didn’t get what I meant, aw, forget I mentioned it. “Read my lips” suffered from too much clarity. How ‘bout that catchy 1000 points of light slogan? Part of our lexicon. America must be about diversity and light must expose darkness. What happens to this missive after I move on I leave in your capable hands. Those who aspire to heaven fret not about earthy transience. Verily, were I a medieval lord of the manor, this unfit blockhead gets put in blocks, rain or shine. If we don’t punish ruffians for pulling down the walls, what stops the next, maybe smarter flimflammer? Big worry. No easy fix. Demagogues agog.

First, who expects an untrained, inept, arrogant outsider from the NY real estate/TV circus world – and no business, or any other kind of genius – would understand what being president means? Never held office. No record. Never tested. Outcome no surprise. When the bully bellowed in the primary, all the good (far superior) candidates held back, to avoid matching his appalling nastiness. Niceness boomeranged. Nothing nice how I smacked Dukakis in ’88 – and I’d vote for him over this villain. And the gall: back then, this Donald person coveted my VP spot. No thanks. Easy call.

Too bad Jeb (scurrilously tagged as “low energy”) and others were way too easy on horrendous misconduct. Fear of offending the “base” turned out to be a long walk on a short pier. If good people don’t confront bullying, it expands and gains leverage. Terrible for country. Just say no but in hard terms. I advised Jeb to take on what I knew was a total blowhard. Used the very word, then bad went to worse. Promoting violence against protesters, attacking federal judges and dinging that Gold Star family. Disgusting. Unpatriotic. Disqualifying.

I can’t figure why our leadership didn’t rail against mob lunatics, to my shock and awe, bellowing, “lock her up.” That underhanded bushwhacking needed to be stopped in its tracks. Unacceptable. Un-American. Inexcusable. We don’t jail opponents here, especially after we win. That’s about as low as this draft-dodger’s slander on then noble John McCain. Despicable. A tortured war hero who gave his all. Political and moral decline.

Let’s hope folks get the message: if it walks like a lying demagogue and talks like a lying demagogue, by gum, what else can it be? And time to rethink the Electoral College, however George benefited in 2000. By how many millions must the “loser” be ahead before we get the message? The popular vote should rule. What if someone wins by five or ten million votes? No democracy there. I’d think it would change campaigning focus to the better. Are we a single nation or disunited, conflicted states? Doing nothing invites another such media “entertainer” to prevail.

Frankly, I am disgusted, even shocked at Republican voters who bought his outrageous lie that anyone, especially a flawed bounder, could “alone fix everything.” If I, or Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan uttered such poppycock, we’d have been laughed off the stage. This pied piper has hypnotic power and a personality (or performance) that fits his dumbed down propaganda. In office, his administration reeks of bad choices, only amplified by worse ones. Didn’t know how many craven incompetents there were. Agree with veteran Republican Rick Wilson’s book title, “Everything Trump Touches Dies.”

I fear America is not immune. What worries me most for 2020, even without this incumbent, is that electioneering will be forever besmirched, attracting more flimflammers, turning every microphone phony into a celebrity media “star.” When nominations and campaigns get corrupted, elections are inevitably degraded – and forget rational governance by capable leaders. We’ll have more chaos, like a banana republic, and say goodbye to our hard-won overseas reputation. Big tragedy. Not inevitable. Needs intervention.

What reliable commander-in-chief brags he knows more than life-long military professionals? Or dumps on the best intelligence services in the world, including my old, professional CIA colleagues? Mind-boggling. How about disrupting historic alliances and hugging that predatory Putin – unbelievable? This president can’t command his own tongue, flapping like a feather in a tornado, then gives honorable public servants the middle finger. How could any self-respecting Republican be suckered by such a blatant con man?

And always the lying – and then the lying on lying, even sowing doubt truth exists. Sure, presidents can’t always tell the whole truth but before Trump our best leaders didn’t make lying a daily addiction. I blame Trump for giving truth a bad name, perhaps his unforgivable sin. “Alternative facts?” Balderdash. I almost wet myself when I heard Guiliani, a god-damned Republican, doubt “truth” exists, as if everyone gets to fabricate his own reality. Never thought I’d see that.

Unless and until Trump and his ilk are fully discredited, I foresee irreparable damage to Republicanism, the presidency, and the country we love. How many of my top advisers would have joined in this politics of mud-wrestling? And don’t even ask me about tax fraud, Russian hacking, obstruction of justice and violations of the emolument clause.

Some days I accept being nearer the end than the beginning. I fear for my grandchildren. Pogo was right, “we have met the enemy and it’s us.” The solid equilibrium, here and abroad, thousands worked to stabilize now trembles under our feet. Blowhard, “you’re fired.” No golden parachute. Criminals deserve punishment. God-damn if I don’t in my dotage sound radical.

GHW Bush


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For over a decade, Robert S. Becker's independent, rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, history, implications, messaging and frameworks. He has been published widely, aside from Nation of Change and RSN, with extensive credits from OpEdNews (as senior editor), Alternet, Salon, Truthdig, Smirking Chimp, Dandelion Salad, Beyond Chron, and the SF Chronicle. Educated at Rutgers College, N.J. (B.A. English) and U.C. Berkeley (Ph.D. English), Becker left university teaching (Northwestern, then U. Chicago) for business, founding SOTA Industries, a top American high end audio company he ran from '80 to '92. From '92-02, he was an anti-gravel mining activist while doing marketing, business and writing consulting. Since then, he seeks out insight, even wit in the shadows, without ideology or righteousness across the current mayhem of American politics.