george bush Trump

George W. Bush Helped Bring Us Trump And One Speech Doesn’t Change That

"But a more careful look at Trump and Bush’s records shouldn’t elevate Bush; it should remind us that the two presidents have more in common than they care publicly to admit."

One week ago exactly, we said the following about the extent to which Donald Trump has single-handedly managed to transform the legacy of George Bush:

First of all, you should note that Donald Trump has once again done the impossible. He has managed to turn George Bush, easily the stupidest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, into a regular Abraham Lincoln by comparison.

As a reminder, here’s Bush delivering what amounted to an anti-Trump manifesto at a George W. Bush Institute event in New York last Thursday:

Well for his part, Rich Benjamin thinks maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves when it comes to letting ol’ “Dubya” off the hook. In fact, Benjamin notes that the seeds for this were actually planted during Bush’s presidency.


Here are some selected excerpts from a longer Op-Ed by Benjamin for The Washington Post…

Excerpts from “George W. Bush is not the resistance. He’s part of what brought us Trump.” by Rich Benjamin for WaPo

A newfound love for Bush springs from a growing distaste for the current occupant of the Oval Office. And the comparison that many progressives and establishment Republicans itch to draw between Bush and Trump makes the Texan seem like Lincoln. But a more careful look at Trump and Bush’s records shouldn’t elevate Bush; it should remind us that the two presidents have more in common than they care publicly to admit.

For starters, just think about tax cuts for the extremely wealthysuppressing the black vote and Bush’s penchant for denigrating facts and expertise. Our country’s historical amnesia be damned; the roots of Trump’s reactionary agenda were planted in W.’s West Wing.


In his recent speech, Bush claimed that bigotry “is blasphemy against the American creed,” referring to Trump’s politics. But Bush’s own Svengali, Rove, was simply more sophisticated and soft-spoken in his bigotry than Trump’s past and present cabal, Stephen K. Bannon, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka.

In Bush’s post-presidential glow, it’s easy to forget that he and Rove were the crown princes of wedge issues. Having championed a historically unprecedented move to change the Constitution to bar same-sex couples from marrying, Bush and Rove then helped get 11 initiatives to ban same-sex marriage on state ballots in November 2004, the better to draw conservatives to the polls to support his reelection.

While drawing conservatives to the polls, Bush, Rove and Gillespie worked diligently with Republican state legislators to put voter-restriction laws on the books, the better to keep blacks and college students away. Despite no worthy evidence of voting fraud in 2000 or 2002, John Ashcroft, Bush’s attorney general, put the issue at the top of the Justice Department’s agenda. After federal prosecutors came up with nothing for years, Bush’s White House became defensive and aggressive. In an unprecedented move, Bush had his attorney general fire seven U.S. attorneys. Ultimately, the Department of Justice’s own inspector general concluded that some of the dismissals were motivated by the fired prosecutors’ refusal to go after trumped-up voter fraud cases.

And as Trump sells his tax plan, the country should beware of deja vu. Bush’s tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 delivered the top 1 percent of earners an average tax break of more than $570,000 between 2004 and 2012. Bush boosted that top 1 percent’s already high after-tax income by more than 5 percent each year. To what end?  Even Bush’s chief economist on the Council of Economic Advisers, looking at the results from 2001 to 2007, found “no first-order evidence in the aggregate data that these tax cuts generated growth.” Despite Bush and Rove’s promises, the tax cuts did not demonstrably improve economic growth nor pay for themselves.

Just as they flouted sound economics, Bush administration officials espoused an anti-intellectual stance, quite eager to disparage experts and information-gathering and dispute settled facts.


13 comments on “George W. Bush Helped Bring Us Trump And One Speech Doesn’t Change That

  1. Mixed emoted about Dubya – and don’t forget I am a Texan – but I always thought he had a really good spirit and a good sense of humor. Not the smartest brother and I think he feels the same way! He is a talented artist and I like his paintings very much. I have no grudges for any of the Bush family and Daddy Bush and Ms Barbara are loved in Houston. All this recent nonsense about Daddy Bush molesting women is just awful and is not really fair. He has suffered at least one severe stroke and it is known he has lingering effects, so please don’t judge him harshly. He is a very decent man. And so is Dubya.

    He didn’t make that speech trying to fool anyone. He is very civilized and not a corrupt person. He is certainly not a racist nor a bigot. He did not bring the evil trump into the White House. The changes in the Republican Party and desperation to replace Democrat leadership ‘at any cost’ gave trump the green light and he fed off the 33% and lied and cheated and played seriously dirty politics…coupled with Russian trolls by the thousands linking the lies with partial truths and building a negative case against Hillary – not to mention her own mistakes and poor decisions within her campaign. No, Dubya didn’t set it up for trump to take over.

    I am really disgusted with that cretin Alex Jones and his RawStory today about the Bush twin daughters and Gandfather Bush. Someday someone will justifiably shut that sick creep down for good. Him and people like him is why we have trump in the WhiteHouse. He is a filthy nasty pile of garbage and those that keep him in business who are just like him; I bet trump loves him too. I am not going to provide a link to his article but if you find it and read it, promise me you will also read the comments that are posted to it. I have read most of them and not one single person is amused. Perhaps he crossed a line today. Here is one comment that really nails my point: “This is the type of scum Trump has empowered and unleashed…..” and “Trump is the face of the ‘conservative movement’ and Jones is the voice. That’s where we are now, folks. Enjoy the ride to oblivion.”

    You cannot blame decent law abiding people like any of the Bush family for trump!

    • Murphy, Sorry I have to disagree completely with you on the Bush family – though I generally don’t. You don’t know the Bush family. I lived in Tx. for 22 years. I’ had some limited business interactions with Neil when his father was in office, and then Geb during 90s and can tell you from that experience they aren’t the folks you think, nor do they deserve any benefit of doubt. This isn’t a case of ‘sour grapes’ as the dealings they proposed could have been lucrative – assuming no one went to jail. If you don’t have direct experience with them, then read the Bush family history in Wikipedia and you begin to get a flavor of who they have been and how they became who they are – and these histories – fit exactly the character of the Bush people I had experience with.

      Even so, I don’t directly blame the Bush family for Trump, rather I blame those that thought the kinds of people the Bush family really represents – are appropriate to lead our nation. That said they aren’t that different from the other US oligarch families that held the US presidencies. They are the quintessential representation of the avarice and it’s corruption of wealth and power at the expense of the general public and tax payer. Trump follows in that same Republican mold of avarice, entitled wealth, and its corrupting power and not giving a damn about nation if it doesn’t benefit his re-election.

      GW Bush was undoubtedly the low bench mark of American Presidents – before Trump. You could argue that if GW Bush had not been elected setting such a low bench mark, then Trump would have never even been considered. Like GW – Trump is the tool of those that got him elected. He is also the reality and death of the illusion that we have any functional form US democracy.

      • Dugger, (and I usually agree with you too) I have lived in Texas for 72 years, that may explain my accent. 😉

        You actually don’t know if I know some of the Bush family. I had the pleasure of meeting H W at a family party – he was CIA Director at the time,1976. Who knew he would eventually become the President? Oh, and please note that J E Bush, also known as Jeb is not spelled Geb. He is name is John Ellis. I am just going to leave any personal connections with the Bush family right there.

        So I did as you suggested and went to Wiki and holy moly that was an awakening! Just look at what I read!

        “The Bush family is an American family that is prominent in the fields of politics, sports, entertainment, and business.

        Best known for its involvement in politics, the family has held various national and state offices spanning across four generations, including a U.S. Senator, Prescott Bush, a Governor, Jeb Bush, and two U.S. Presidents – one having also served as Vice President, George H. W. Bush, while the other was also a Governor, George W. Bush. Other family members include a National Football League (NFL) executive, Joe Ellis…

        Peter Schweizer, author of a biography of the family, has described the Bushes as “the most successful political dynasty in American history”. According to some online sources, the Bush family is of primarily English and German descent. The Bush family is also one of the oldest American families of European origin, with Samuel Bush being their first American-born ancestor, in 1647.” (end quote)

        I also read these incredible and some entertaining notes on Wiki:

        Mary (née Ayer) Parker of Andover, Massachusetts Bay Colony, the daughter of John Ayer, was executed September 22, 1692, with several others, for witchcraft in the Salem witch trials! She was 55 years old and a widow. Mary’s husband, Nathan, died in 1685. Nicholas Noyes officiated. Her daughter, Sarah Parker, was also accused. Parker was an 8th great-grandmother of U.S. President George W. Bush.

        Wild Bill Hickok (1837–1876) was a second cousin three times removed of Prescott Bush.
        second wife of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was also descended from Col. Robert Bolling, Sr. so therefore was distantly related to the Bush family.

        Gov. Thomas Hinckley (1618–1706) was a Plymouth Colony governor, and a seventh generation great-grandfather of Prescott Sheldon Bush 1895-1972, so therefore a direct ancestor of all of his descendants including his son George H. W. Bush and grandson George W. Bush

        The family is related to U.S. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte (1851–1921), U.S. Vice President Charles Gates Dawes (1865–1951), actress Blanche Oelrichs (who was also known by the pseudonym “Michael Strange”) (1890–1950), and author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888).

        Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964), American five star general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army who was the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in the Pacific theater during World War II was distantly related to the Bush family.

        Two-time Super Bowl champion – Joe Ellis (as an executive with the Denver Broncos)
        2007 National Football Foundation Gold Medal – George H. W. Bush
        World Golf Hall of Fame – George H. W. Bush (class of 2011)

        Three-time Time Person of the Year
        George H. W. Bush (1990)
        George W. Bush (2000, 2004)

        Purple Heart – George H. W. Bush
        Presidential Unit Citation – George H. W. Bush
        Distinguished Flying Cross – George H. W. Bush
        Three-time Air Medal recipient – George H. W. Bush
        Honorary GCB – George H. W. Bush
        USS George H.W. Bush commissioned in 2009 – George H.W. Bush

        AND not one note of anyone involved in crime or any jail time (unless you insist on counting that one little witch burning thing) and I really don’t count W as a low bench mark, Bless His Heart.

  2. The republicans that couldn’t vote for Hillary and held their noses and still voted for Trump got that ride along with the rest of us to oblivion. Here is the rub most of these fools are still holding their noses and are empowering this group of crooks and liars. Yes the Bush family is a decent bunch but Dubya is still responsible for the worst decision by a president since LBJ/Nixon and the Vietnam War.

    • He has to be the responsible one, unlike trump who does not understand “the buck stops here”, but Dubya did not make that decision in a room by himself. People much smarter, many people much smarter (poor George) told him what to do and he trusted them. But, he knows how it goes, the buck stops here. I admire that in a man.

      • P.S. I held my nose and voted for Hillary. trump was too low of a human, a disgraceful despicable pervert and would never get my vote. I liked Bernie but did not want to hold out any vote that Hillary was going to need.

  3. He also brought us the bernank and helped bring us the current financial absurdity of today.

  4. “Fed Chairman’s Departure Casts a New Light on the Bush Legacy” By John Harwood, New York Times
    JULY 26, 2013

    “WASHINGTON — George W. Bush hopes historians will judge his presidency more kindly than his contemporaries have, but a transition coming later this year — the departure of Chairman Ben S. Bernanke of the Federal Reserve after an eight-year tenure — already casts a different light on the 43rd president’s economic record.

    Although President Obama has been Mr. Bernanke’s partner in an effort to steer the economy through a financial crisis, deep recession and recovery, so was the man who put Mr. Bernanke in the job in the first place: Mr. Bush.

    “Ben Bernanke, along with George Bush and Barack Obama, saved us from another Great Depression,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, echoing the views of others in his party. “Twenty years from now, that’s what history will say about all three of them.” ”

    “Today, few question Mr. Bernanke’s success in helping contain the risks he confronted.

    “On economic issues, Bush was not an ideologue,” said Mr. Schumer, who in 2006 led Senate Democrats to recapture the majority and roadblock the Republican president’s domestic agenda. “On his most important economic appointment, he showed who he was.”

    Henry Paulson, Mr. Bush’s last Treasury secretary, praised Mr. Bernanke — reappointed by Mr. Obama in 2009 — for helping produce the “enormous accomplishment” of slow but steady economic growth for the last few years even as American consumers were “de-levering” themselves of debt. As the country nears the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis, Mr. Paulson said that Mr. Bush’s critics ignored the reality that the underlying causes of the crisis were decades in the making. He said that Mr. Bush deserved more credit than he has received for Mr. Bernanke and for resisting the partisan and ideological polarization of Washington when the two stared into the economic abyss.”

  5. Paulson and the Bernank telling everyone like they have that they saved the world from a great depression is like trump telling everyone his presidency has been the best ever.

    Anyone with experience trading through the period knows markets continued to puke after TARP, and QE1 never got into the real economy but instead cash was parked at the Fed by the banks in order to safely earn the guaranteed return.

    Rather the two key events to stem the slide were:

    1) the GAAP change to mark-to-market that halted the financials’ plunge into bankrupty;
    2) the massive Chinese fiscal stimulus that stoked global demand in everything from commodities to heavy equipment to aircraft.

    The bernank sowed the seeds of the next crash by continuing and even increasing his QE fiasco for years even after the crisis. And next time, China won’t save the world because it spent its surplus last time and has now joined the debtors club with all the others. Oh-oh.

    So, in addition to their big bubbles blown, this is the true legacy of the bernank and his vice/successor yellen:

  6. Bloomberg interview yesterday in which former P. President Plosser correctly criticizes Bernanke and Yellen for how they politicized the Fed and weakened its independence. From 5 minutes onward.

  7. Wow!
    I respect your opinions, but Trump was elected because the “living in reality”
    voters felt that the other party was more concerned about toilet identity justice than
    jobs, crime, wage stagnation, shitty trade deals, etc.

    • trump has done nothing to create jobs, knows nothing about trade, knows zero about economic theory, knows zero about criminal justice, is one of the worst businessmen in modern U.S. history, is a trust fund baby, is in the professional wrestling hall of fame (literally), and was forced to pay out $25 million for running a fake university just six months ago. so please, spare me the bullshit excuses. Americans are idiots and they were duped into electing a billionaire charlatan who has the intellect of a chimpanzee with down syndrome.

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