|George Herbert Walker Bush|
|Born||June 12, 1924|
|Died||November 30, 2018 |
George H.W. Bush (often Bush Senior to differentiate from his idiot son) was a carpet bagger, former Texas oil man, head of the C.I.A., Reagan's Vice President "during the Iran Contra", and U.S. President and father of 2nd worst president in United States history according to many polls that reflect a little something called "reality", which we all know has a a liberal bias. 50% white-bread gentry, 50% cowboy, as opposed to his son, who is homogenous.
As his Vice President he chose juvenile and noted
intellectual dickhead, Dan Quayle.
Despite his faults, Bush Senior is sometimes regarded as the Last of the Gentleman Republicans (aka Moderates). Despite being Reagan's Vice President, he didn't believe in trickle down economics. In fact, it was Bush who coined the term "voodoo economics". Stephen Colbert commented he wasn't a bitter partisan. If fact, when he lost re-election to Bill Clinton, he left him a note in the Oval Office, wishing Clinton luck because that his success was America's success. Also being the last WWII combat veteran President gives him some points.
Between 1968 and 1974, Bush was was a strong candidate for Vice President by Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford during both the 1968 and 1972 elections and to fulfill the vacancies via the 25th Amendment.
Bush decided to run for President and challenge incumbent Democrat President Jimmy Carter. On January 5, 1980, he attended a Republican Primary Debate in Iowa. One of Bush's main primary rivals, former California Governor Ronald Reagan was not there. Due to Reagan's popularity within the party, Bush and the other candidates spent 90 minutes attacking the absent Reagan.
Despite his war hero record, being the director of the CIA and ambassador to the UN and China, very few people knew who he was before then. But he was confident in his chances. The night of the Iowa Caucus, he told political commentator Pat Buchanan, "Hey, Pat, I got the Big Mo", as in momentum. Bush even won the Iowa Caucuses, with 33% over Reagan's 27%, a 6% difference.
In 1980, Reagan was 68 and Bush was 55. Some assumed Reagan was too old to run for President. The last man to become President at 68 was William Henry Harrison, who died a month after taking office. Bush was getting a lot of exercise between political events, challenging Reagan to do the same. This infuriated Reagan.
On February 23, 1980, Reagan had a one-on-one debate with Bush in Nashua, New Hampshire. He even offered to pay for it. At the last second, Reagan had the other Republican candidates join in the debate. After Reagan spoke of having the other candidates in the debate, the Debate moderator asked for Reagan's microphone be turned off. This enraged Reagan's supporters. Reagan responded "I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green!" to the adulation of his supporters. That moment ended Bush's chances of being the nominee.
Despite being defeated by Reagan, Bush was chosen as Reagan's running mate as way to balance the ticket between conservatives and moderates. The two would go on to defeat President Jimmy Carter.
Bush was selected for another term as Reagan's vice President in 1984. They easily defeated his former 1980 vice-presidential rival Walter Mondale in a landslide victory.
"I am here today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States."- Bush makes his annoucement.
With Reagan thankfully term-limited by the 22nd Amendment, Bush decided to make another attempt for the White House. But by 1986, the White House was in a full-blown scandal. The Iran-Contra Affair revealed that President Ronald Reagan had sold weapons to Iran, which was the subject of an arms embargo. The administration then illegally used the proceeds of the arms sale to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. Under the Boland Amendment, further funding of the Contras by the government had been prohibited by Congress. The Reagan administration's credibility, which included then-Vice President Bush, was shattered. Bush was worried Iran-Contra would destroy his chances of winning in 1988. He knew during the election, he would have a hard time separating himself from President Reagan and Iran-Contra. In February 1987, investigators revealed the secret arms trade was being run from inside the White House. Being one heart attack away from the Presidency, this implicated Bush in the controversy.
On October 12, 1987, Vice President Bush announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination. His campaign team included Secretary of the Treasury James Baker, future-Fox News demagogue Roger Ailes and political strategist Lee Atwater for his campaign manager.
Bush's rivals in the primaries were mainly Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (Kansas), far-right lunatic televangelist Pat Robertson and New York congressman Jack Kemp. Dole and Kemp would later run against President Bill Clinton in 1996 and lose.
No matter where Bush went to campaign, inevitably the question of his involvement in Iran-Contra would come up. Reagan may have done the deed of Iran-Contra as President, but Vice President Bush was linked to Reagan obviously. The Bush campaign made the decision that Chief of Staff Craig Fuller would be the only one to address questions about Iran-Contra.
Weeks before the February 1988 Iowa caucus, Bush arranged an interview with CBS news anchor Dan Rather. Naturally the focus of the interview was Iran-Contra. On January 25, 1988, Vice President Bush returned to his office in Washington DC to have the televised interview, with Dan Rather conducting the interview from his office in New York. Rather confronted Vice President George H. W. Bush in the on-air interview about Iran-Contra. Bush rebutted by referencing to Rather's "dead air incident" in which months earlier Rather angrily walked off the set of the studio when the news cut Pope John Paul II's visit to the US to squeeze in sports.
"It's not fair to judge my whole career by a rehash on Iran. How would you like it if I judged your career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in New York? Would you like that? I have respect for you, but I don't have respect for what you're doing here tonight."- VP Bush pushes back
When the interview ended, Bush felt he did poorly but his staff told him he did an excellent job. Chief of Staff Fuller said it was the greatest interview he had seen and the Vice President "knocked it out of the park". With this feedback, Bush came to Iowa feeling confident and happy, thinking victory in the caucus was all but inevitable. By the time of the Iowa caucus, Bush had won Michigan, Robertson had won Hawaii, and Dole had won his home state of Kansas.
Dole won Iowa, with Robertson coming in second and Bush in third.
Think about that for a minute, the Vice President of the United States was defeated in a primary contest by an idiot preacher who thinks Dungeons and Dragons is demonic, gays cause hurricanes (and later 9/11) and believes that Separation of church and state is nonsense. That's mind-boggling.
With his victory in Kansas and Iowa, Bob Dole was beginning to think he could defeat the Vice President in New Hampshire. The Bush campaign's confidence was absolutely shattered. Bush wouldn't win the nomination if he lost New Hampshire. New Hampshire Governor John Snunu, who apparently supported Vice President Bush's campaign, told them the best way to win is the "See me, touch me, feel me" approach, meaning personally shake hands and talk with the voters. They would have multiple breakfasts a day in multiple fast food places to influence votes. Bush didn't eat everything on his plate, but he talked to everyone.
Lee Atwater gave all his might to rally voters for Bush. He had a saying "tacks on the road" as to how to diminish the opposing sides. What could they do to throw some tacks on the road in the way of the Dole bus and make him fall behind? The Bush campaign went after Dole for flip-flopping on certain positions. Fuller recommended calling him Senator Straddle (straddling both sides of the fence). Atwater made an ad that accused Dole of sitting on the fence of the issues of taxes. Bush wasn't totally on board with the ad. As 1992 would prove, Bush was a gentleman who didn't like calling people names, especially since Bush thought well of Dole and didn't want to ruin their friendship. Bush looked over to his wife Barbara. She wasn't objecting anymore, so Bush reluctantly okayed the ad.
"Bush says he won't raise taxes, Period. Dole Straddles. He's been on both sides. That's why he's becoming known as Senator Straddle. George Bush. Presidential Leadership."- The devastating ad.
It must've worked, for on February 16, 1988, Vice President Bush beat Senator Dole with an almost 10 point lead. In his victory speech, he quoted the old trope "Reports of my death were greatly exaggerated." By June, Bush had seized the nomination.
After Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukasis had gotten the Democratic nomination, the Bush campaign attacked him as soft on crime and for raising taxes and big spending.
There was a rumor that Dukasis had suffered serious depression after losing his first governor re-election in 1978 and had seen a psychiatrist. Now, today in the 2020s, having to have seen a therapist is completely acceptable and related, but in the 20th century especially the 80s, Silent Gens/Baby Boomers had stigmatized mental health issues. And they claim they're the golden age of generations. After a week, the campaign felt the situation was over, but then President Reagan added fuel to the flames.
During a press conference, President Reagan was asked if he felt Dukasis should make his medical records public. Reagan hypocritically responded, "Look I'm not going to pick on an invalid." Reagan elevated the rumor, making more people believe it. Dukasis claimed he was more than willing to release his medical records. The Bush campaign denied making the rumor, but the damage was done. And given how gentlemanly Bush was, it's probably safe to assume it wasn't him.
In August 1988, the Republican National Convention was held in New Orleans, Louisiana. Accepting the nomination, Bush chose Indiana Senator Dan Quayle as his running mate. President Ronald Reagan endorsed his Vice President naturally. Senator John McCain and former President Gerald Ford also spoke.
By Bush was still trailing Dukasis, so the campaign brought in Ad expert Sid Rogich. Rogich's ads devastated Dukasis, calling him out of touch and big spender. One ad said that Dukasis promised not to raise taxes yet pushed the biggest tax increase in Massachusetts history and since 1984 Massachusetts lost 9 thousand jobs.
To bolster Bush's image as a World War II hero, the campaign released footage of Bush being rescued by a US submarine after being shot down by the Japanese. The ad started with footage of Bush being sworn in as Vice President with the narrator asking how Bush got to this point in his life. The narrator states it all started when Bush became the youngest pilot in the Navy and getting the Distinguished Flying Cross to the backdrop of the submarine rescue footage.
Atwater arranged for Bush to attend flag factories, for the only things Republicans hump more than guns is the flag. He sat in an F-16. In September, Dukasis responded by riding a M-1 Abrams tank. The Bush staffers laughed the ad and responded with their own, using the footage and narrating that Dukasis opposed expanding the military. "American Can't Afford That Risk."
Beginning on September 21, 1988, the Americans for Bush arm of the National Security Political Action Committee (NSPAC) began running a campaign ad entitled "Weekend Passes", using the Horton case to attack Dukakis. After clearing the ad with television stations, McCarthy added a mug shot of Horton. The ad was run as an independent expenditure, separate from the Bush campaign, which claimed not to have had any role in its production.
On October 5, 1988, a day after the "Weekend Passes" ad was taken off the airwaves and the day of the Bentsen–Quayle debate, the Bush campaign ran its own ad, "Revolving Door", which also attacked Dukakis over the weekend furlough program. While the advertisement did not mention Horton or feature his photograph, it depicted a variety of men walking in and out of prison through a revolving door.
The controversy escalated when Vice Presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen and former Democratic presidential candidate and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson called the "Revolving Door" ad racist, a charge which was denied by Bush and campaign staff.
Through most of the campaign, the Horton ad was seen as focusing on issues of criminal justice, with neither the candidates nor journalists mentioning a racial component. However, near the end of the presidential campaign, Jesse Jackson accused the ad's creators of playing upon presumed fears of some Republican voters, in particular those harboring stereotyped fears of blacks as criminals. From that point on, race was a substantial part of the media coverage of the ad itself and the campaign. Some candidates continued to deny it and most commentators at the time felt it was not. Academics have noted that the alleged racial overtone of the ad was a key aspect of the way the ad was remembered and later studied.
On October 22, in an attempt to counter-attack, Dukakis' campaign ran an ad about a convicted heroin dealer named Angel Medrano who raped and killed a pregnant mother of two after escaping from a federal correctional halfway house.
The second and final presidential debate was to be held on October 13, 1988 at the University of California. Crime, and therefore Horton, was top of the agenda. When Dukakis as asked if he would favor the death penalty if his wife was raped and murdered, Dukasis said no in a way that made him seem emotionless.
On November 8, 1988, Vice President George H. W. Bush won the presidential election, winning 48 million votes to Dukakis' 41 million and 426 of the Electoral College to Dukakis' 111. As of 2020, this would be last time a non-incumbent Republican candidate won the popular vote and the first time an incumbent Vice President was elected to the Presidency since Martin Van Buren in 1836.
After Operation Desert Storm, Bush was one of the most popular presidents in American history, with an over 90% approval rating. People were so sure of Bush' re-election, SNL did a skit of Democrats competing to not be the guy to lose to Bush.
Prior to the 1992 Presidential Election, incumbent Presidents faced few serious primary challenges (except Ted Kennedy challenging Jimmy Carter in 1980). Even by October 1991, President Bush still hadn't done much with regards to the election. Seeking to take advantage of Bush's absence from the election, Pat Buchanan challenged him in the Republican primaries as Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was securing his nomination for the Democratic Party.
Shortly before the New Hampshire primary, Buchanan attacked Bush for going back on his 1988 campaign promise of "Read My Lips, NO NEW TAXES". To fund the Persian Gulf War, Bush had to raise taxes in October 1990. This angered many morons who still held true to trickle-down economics, which Bush Senior himself didn't believe in. But Buchanan painted Bush as a politician who couldn't be trusted. Finally, Bush began to run for re-election, and won the primary.
Two days later, billionaire Ross Perot challenged by Clinton and Bush as an independent. By June 1992, Perot was ahead in the polls, at 39% compared to President Bush's 31% and Governor Clinton's 25%. Perot briefly dropped out before coming back into to the race.
On August 17, 1992, the Republican National Convention was convened. Bush was trailing Clinton by more than 20 points, but he was confident the convention would help him. Buchanan arrived to endorse his former rival but went off script and started spouting social conservative nonsense, such as "there is a religious war going on in this country". The Moderate Bush was viewed by the press as pandering to the far right social conservatives.
Bush did damage control by going after Clinton.
"My opponent says America is a nation in decline. Well don't let anyone tell you that America is second-rate, especially somebody running for President."
Even after the convention, Bush was still behind Clinton. He called upon Secretary of State James Baker to be his Chief of Staff on August 23, 1992. This sent chills down the spines of Clinton's campaign staff. Baker had been the chief architect of Reagan's 1984 landslide victory. Baker took over the campaign and brought it around. Bush tore into Clinton, claiming he was putting America down. Bush seemed more confident and ready. Bush would accuse Clinton wanting to raise everybody's taxes and increase government spending, followed by Clinton saying he was making stuff up.
Bush attended a town hall debate with Clinton and Perot (who had returned) in Richmond, Virginia on October 15, 1992. 70 million Americans tuned in to watch. Bush made one mistake after another. He was fidgety, he was caught looking at his watch and when asked a question about how the national debt personally affected him, Bush fumbled with the question and got confused. Clinton, however, sprang out of his chair and directly engaged the woman who asked the question to the point where the audience applauded.
Bush tried one last attempt at chipping away at Clinton. They launched an ad that claimed that Clinton had doubled Arkansas' debt, doubled state government and signed the largest tax increase in Arkansas history, labeling him as untrustworthy for America. They questioned Clinton's judgement as well. Clinton ignored his adviser's advice and retaliated by calling Bush himself untrustworthy. What followed was a back and forth of political attacks.
A NBC News poll before the election showed Bill Clinton at 43%, Bush at 38% and Perot at 11%. The night before the election, it was tied.
On October 30, 1992, Bush suffered a tremendous setback. Reports were leaked that disputed Bush's assertion that, as Vice President, he was not involved in the Iran-Contra Affair that nearly toppled the Reagan administration. Clinton jumped at this and challenged Bush's trustworthiness and credibility. Bush lashed out, claiming that having his character challenged by Clinton was like "being called ugly by a frog" and told his supporters Fuggitabodit!
On November 3, 1992, Americans cast their votes. Clinton won 370 electoral college votes (out of 270 needed) to Bush's 168. Bush conceded the race gracefully, but used his remaining time in office to cover up the Iran Contra Affair by pardoning the conspirators before they could go to trial. Until Donald Trump lost in 2020, Bush was the last incumbent President to be defeated in a Presidential election.
Funny and nonsense quotes
- "I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God." - with a reporter in 1987
- "I support separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists." - with a reporter in 1987
- "For seven and a half years I've worked alongside President Reagan. We've had triumphs. Made some mistakes. We've had some sex...uh...setbacks." —in 1988
- "We're enjoying sluggish times, and not enjoying them very much." —in 1992
- "I just am not one who – who flamboyantly believes in throwing a lot of words around." —in 1990
- "Please don't ask me to do that which I've just said I'm not going to do, because you're burning up time. The meter is running through the sand on you, and I am now filibustering." —in 1989
- "If you're worried about caribou, take a look at the arguments that were used about the pipeline. They'd say the caribou would be extinct. You've got to shake them away with a stick. They're all making love lying up against the pipeline and you got thousands of caribou up there." —speaking in 1991 about the Alaskan pipeline
- "It's no exaggeration to say the undecideds could go one way or another." —George Bush Sr., in 1988
- "I put confidence in the American people, in their ability to sort through what is fair and what is unfair, what is ugly and what is unugly." –in 1989
- "You cannot be president of the United States if you don't have faith. Remember Lincoln, going to his knees in times of trial and the Civil War and all that stuff. You can't be. And we are blessed. So don't feel sorry for — don't cry for me, Argentina. Message: I care." —speaking to employees of an insurance company during the 1992 New Hampshire primary, portraying the agnostic Lincoln as a man of faith
- "I've told you I don't live and die by the polls. Thus I will refrain from pointing out that we're not doing too bad in those polls." –in 1991
- "I'm not the most articulate emotionalist." –in 1989
- "We Bushes cry easily." –in 1989
- "Let me give you a little serious political advice. One single word. Puppies. Worth the points." —George Bush Sr., in 1990
- "It has been said by some cynic, maybe it was a former president, 'If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.' Well, we took them literally — that advice — as you know. But I didn't need that because I have Barbara Bush." —in 1989
- "Now, like, I'm President. It would be pretty hard for some drug guy to come into the White House and start offering it up, you know?...I bet if they did, I hope I would say, 'Hey, get lost. We don't want any of that.'" —speaking to a group of students about drug abuse
- "These, they're very dangerous. They trap you. Especially these furry ones...it's these furry guys that get you in real trouble. They can reach out and listen to something so — keep it respectful here." —George Bush Sr., speaking to Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1991 about the need to be careful when speaking near open microphones
- "When I need a little advice about Saddam Hussein, I turn to country music." —George Bush Sr., in 1991
- "And let me say in conclusion, thanks for the kids. I learned an awful lot about bathtub toys — about how to work the telephone. One guy knows — several of them know their own phone numbers — preparation to go to the dentist. A lot of things I'd forgotten. So it's been a good day." —in 1992
- "Please just don't look at the part of the glass, the part that is only less than half full." –in 1991
- "To kind of suddenly try to get my hair colored, and dance up and down in a miniskirt or do something, you know, show that I've got a lot of jazz out there and drop a bunch of one-liners, I'm running for the president of the United States...I kind of think I'm a scintillating kind of fellow." —in 1988
- "I hope I stand for anti-bigotry, anti-Semitism, anti-racism. This is what drives me." George Bush Sr., in 1988
- "High tech is potent, precise, and in the end, unbeatable. The truth is, it reminds a lot of people of the way I pitch horseshoes. Would you believe some of the people? Would you believe our dog? Look, I want to give the high-five symbol to high tech." —George Bush Sr., in 1989
- "If a frog had wings, he wouldn't hit his tail on the ground. Too hypothetical." —George Bush Sr., in 1992
- "Those are two hyporhetorical questions." —in 1988
- "The Democrats want to ram it down my ear in a political victory." —George Bush Sr., in 1991
- "I don't want to get, you know, here we are close to the election — sounding a knell of overconfidence that I don't feel." —in 1988
- "Ozone Man, Ozone. He's crazy, way out, far out, man." —speaking about Al Gore during the 1992 presidential campaign
- "Boy, they were big on crematoriums, weren't they? –during a tour of Auschwitz in 1989
- "I will never apologize for the United States of America. I don't care what the facts are." –in 1988
- "I'm for Mr. Reagan, blindly." –in 1984
- "I've been talking the same way for years, so it can't be that serious." –in 1988
- "Fluency in English is something that I'm often not accused of." —George Bush Sr., in 1989
In a case of a broken clock being right twice a day, Bush did once say something right.
"I firmly believed that we should not march into Baghdad. our stated mission, as codified in un resolution, was a simple one—end the aggression, knock Iraq’s forces out of Kuwait, and restore Kuwait’s leaders. to occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us, and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day Arab hero. it would have taken us way beyond the imprimatur of international law bestowed by the resolutions of the Security Council, assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerrilla war. It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability and destroy the credibility we were working so hard to reestablish."- 1999
That's right, Bush Senior believed an invasion of Iraq was a bad idea. His son should've listened.
Pros & Cons
- Pro-birth control
- Didn't launch Iraq into chaos after the Persian Gulf War (see quote above)
- Anti-trickle down economics
- Voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1968
- Humbly accepted his loss to Bill Clinton with grace
- START I and START II treaties
- Cold War ended
- WWII combat pilot
- NAFTA, instead of paying Americans a somewhat-decent wage he instead wanted to pay workers in Mexico barely anything and send the commodities they produced back North
- Supported Boris Yeltsin, who illegally dissolved the Soviet Union at the dismay of the people living there and turned the 2nd strongest country in the world into a cesspool of crime, poverty, corruption, mental illness, suicide, illiteracy, homelessness, and prostitution
- Served Ronald Reagan
- Part of the Iran-Contra Affair
- Spent his lame-duck session pardoning those involved in the Iran-Contra affair
- Invaded Panama
- Unlike he who shall not be named