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Home Main Forums General Discussion George Bush, tepidly outliving communism by 30 years

  • Betty Karlson (5348 posts)

    George Bush, tepidly outliving communism by 30 years

    When Communism crumbled, I was just seven years old.

    The Berlin Wall came down, and for the only time ever, my father and mother insisted on praying right there and then in front of the television, to give thanks to God for the end of the evil that had haunted their lives from childhood to early marriage.


    At seven years old, my political awareness had yet to take shape. Inasmuch as I knew anything about political leaders, my assumption was that they had always been in charge, because I did not remember a time when they weren’t. In my childish imagination, Mitterand had always been the president of France, because he was president in 1989. Helmut Kohl had always been the German chancellor, because he was the chancellor in 1989. And George Bush had always been the president of the United States, because he was in 1989.


    It was only much later that I learned that this same George Bush had been the vice-president from 1981 to 1989. And that was a consolation prize for not getting the nomination in 1980, when he was a candidate. And that even earlier, in 1974 and 1976, he had twice attempted to be made the vice-president; but Ford didn’t want him at his side. That he had been head of the CIA. That he had the singular distinction of being the only politician in the world who claimed not to remember where he was when JFK was killed.


    But more or less the first conscious memory I have of the man, is his reaction to that Berlin Wall coming down:

    “We are pleased with this development” – said a voice that seemed anything but pleased. The president sounded just like my mother had when a precious clock had come down and smashed into a thousand pieces. Seated behind a desk, shielded behind a piece of paper, donning oversized glasses, he looked like a clockmaker announcing: it might be better to buy a new one.


    The hourwork, in this case, was the very communism crumbling before our eyes. George Bush had been born just seven years after it took hold of Russia, and renamed it the Soviet Union. In the year Bush was born, 1924, Stalin took over from Lenin, and transformed an already brutal regime into a totalitarian nightmare. George Bush grew up in a rich family, in a country that was going through its first red scare, even to the point of politically charged executions. His father Prescott Bush, an otherwise socially progressive Republican (back when that existed) was part of a cabal who financed the Nazis. The Planned Parenthood member, who founded institutions for the elevation of racial minorities, believed that the emerging national-socialist Hitler was the best bet against the spread of communism. George Bush distinguished himself in the eventual fight against Hitler, only to see communism spread its iron curtain from Rügen to Trace and Dalmatia, and from Uyguria to Pyongyang, Tunguzia to Hainan.


    In George Bush’s world, the fight of good versus evil was as binary as the tick-tock of a clock. Anything hinting at the advance of communism must be countered, The pendulum must be swung back to the good side. No matter how well-intended, democratic movements toward red policies were to be countered, by force if necessary. No matter how cruel, dictatorships that preserved capitalism were to be supported, by force if necessary. Mossadeq was ousted by a coup, the Shah made an absolute monarch. Bai Dao was to be propped up to counter Ho Chi Minh – and after Bai Dao had been exiled, support was switched to Ngo Dinh Diem. A senator called McCarthy was the epitome of the idea that the end justifies all means, accusing all and sunder of Anti-American activities, even when he had to make up the accusations.


    When George Bush started to make a name for himself, communism was advancing in Cuba, parts of South-America, and South-East-Asia. He was in his thirties. He had a young family at home in Texas and a father in the senate (CT). He had connections in the CIA and lots of ambition.


    The pendulum in Vietnam had to be swung back whatever the cost.The setbacks in Cuba and South-America were to be avenged.For the first time ever, the United States entered into a protracted conflict that could never be won, simply because you can’t occupy the hearts and minds of the people you just carpet-bombed. So many villages were destroyed to “save” them, that young men (who were not eligeable to vote yet) were drafted into thousands and thousands of early graves. And as for the Shell-shock and PTSD they brought home with them, all that was justified because of communism.


    George Bush was now around fifty years old. He had just told a son of his that he would support him even if that son wanted to dodge the draft. (And then Nixon finally ended the war, just in time.) Another son of his was developing a problem with alcohol. His father had retired and died. His own first foray into politics (a house seat) didn’t get him the whirlwind career he had hoped for. He still had connections in the CIA. His ambitions had grown, and the time to act on them was not as everlasting as it once had seemed to be.



    Nixon’s rise and fall gave Bush the advancement he had been craving. He was made CIA director, and then ambassador to China.(Going with the notion that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Nixon was courting Mao to isolate Brezhnev.) His appointments were moderately succesfull, inasmuch as the CIA felt reassured and China was pleased to receive “the president’s right hand man”. Moreover, it gave Bush the chance to foster a couple of lifelong contacts: Cheney, Kissinger, Wolfowitz, etcetera. He was now part of a very influential clique within the ruling party.


    Nixon’s downfall was another opportunity for advancement. Bush happened to be chairman of the GOP at the time, and thought he could position himself for the veep spot.

    Ford said no.



    Not deterred by this setback, Bush tried to get the nomination in 1980, and knock off Jimmy Carter.

    Reagan overtook him.

    And then didn’t even want him to be veep.

    But the powerful clique sprang into action, and secured that spot for Bush after all.

    And then Reagan won the election, and the cold war against  communism became a war of financial attrition. Costly and deadly missiles were stockpiled until the Soviet Union was on the brink of social and economic collapse.


    (Incidentally, so were the United States! Vietnam was still casting its long shadow over the generation who had fought it,there had been  a recession since the early 1980-ies, the national debt was skyrocketing, the inner cities were plagued by riots and crime and racial disparity, substance abuse was abundant, and on top of everything else HIV/AIDS was spreading like a bushfire.)


    With some difficulty, Bush got the nod to succeed Reagan. He attracted some young and ruthless campaign managers (Rove and Atwater), and they based his campaign on fear. Where his father had attempted to raise up racial minorities, Bush used the image of Willie Horton to make voters afraid of Dukakis. Vote Bush, or the black men will come for your wives and daughters. Reagan’s policies against women’s health rights and LGBT issues were consolidated.


    By the end of the 1980-ies the veneer of male moral probity had been called into question. For the first time, the press was taking an active (and judgemental) interest in the extramarital activities of politicians. Kennedy’s infidelities had been known, but benignly hinted at (jetset lifestyle). Roosevelt’s infidelities had been practically advertised (not so crippled after all, eh?). Reagan’s first marriage was never mentioned, lest it offend the First Lady. But all of a sudden, infidelity was a negative campaign issue.


    This made Bush the first presidential  candidate who’s private life was intimately discussed in public. His successor has surpassed all in that department, but in Bush’s days, it was a rather new and unpleasant development that mistresses became the topic of political discussions. Bush has had his fair share of female affection other than from his wife. He had mistresses, and the only reason that Clinton’s infidelities were not front and centre in 1992 is that Clinton had warned off the Bush campaign: leave it alone, and we will leave it alone too.


    Another new development in Bush’s presidency was the new direction of the Democratic Party. The Clintons and the DLC had started their venal grip on the party’s steering wheel. Ideologically, the GOP would have to verge into Atwater territory and beyond to distinguish itself from the emerging new Republicans called Democrats.


    By now, Bush was in his sixties. All the systems and customs that had shaped his outlook on life were rapidly falling away. He had the position he had always wanted, but not the prestige he had associated with it. And then the pendulum stopped swinging: there was no more communism. Only capitalism. The wall was coming down. The clock had finally been smashed into a thousand pieces.


    And Bush did not know what to do about it.


    How was a well-meaning democratic movement to be stopped in its tracks, if American interests could no longer be justified by the threat of communism? How could support for Nicaraguan Contras be justified if Gorbatchev was the kind of gentleman who would  calmly dismantle the whole Soviet Union?


    The impotence of the end justifying the means in the emerging world without communism was demonstrated as early as 1990-1991: the Gulf War. Bush attempted to safeguard oil-rich Quwait (oppressive monarchy: check!) against oil-rich Iraq (who’s dictator had received seven years of arms deals when Iran had to be won back for the Shah – didn’t work). The administration’s narrative shifted by the day. According to Bush, it was a matter of “good versus evil”. But really, this was evil versus evil. Kuwait’s government in exile paid millions of dollars to a PR firm to find out what would mobilize American public opinion against Iraq. The problem was that without communism, it wasn’t just a matter of throwing support behind the most capitalist of the two.


    In the end, Saddam was painted as a brutal dictator who had committed atrocities against his own people. Thank goodness for the oppressed Kurds! – who were instantly abandoned when  it suited the administration to let Saddam rule Iraq after all. Never mind that the Kurds were then gassed. It’s not as if that didn’t suit long-time ally Turkey. Turkey too was oppressing Kurds. But what was the justification for it now that the PKK was no longer part of the red scare?


    That’s why Bush was “pleased with this development” with the voice of a distraught clockmaker. The easy moral binary opposition that had justified the advancement of American upper-class self-interests was dropping away. The end that justified all means had been achieved. Now what?


    Even when Hillary Clinton was SOS (2009-2013), there were still state department staff complaining that “things were so much easier during the Cold War”. Bush’s eponymous son George has tried to create a boogieman equal to communism: terrorism. And by create, I don’t just mean the public perception thereof. The Democratic Party, lurching right like a brainless zombie, has continued these policies. The social conservatism has continued on steroids under the inebriated presidency of Bush’s eldest son, only to hit the wall called the Millennial generation. Atwater’s scaremongering of minorities is still part and parcel of the GOP brand. And that has eventually hurt Bush’s offspring. When his other promising son tried for the presidency in 2016, he was overtaken from the (far) right by Trump, just like Reagan had overtaken Bush in 1980:

    “Please clap.”


    The irony is that right at the end of Bush’s life, his distant successor Donald Trump is trying to build a wall. It is not known whether the first president Bush was pleased with that development of his party. Probably not.


    But it doesn’t matter anymore. After communism had crumbled, men like Bush had become an anachronism. Their way of life, their political compass, their moral ambiguity justified by the big scare, it all lost its meaning. Bush’s tepid response to the fall of the Wall shows how much he was aware of that. The Gulf War and its aftermath show how much he wasn’t.


    Charitable commenters will mention that he survived his late wife by only a few months. Less charitable commenters will mention how he survived his favorite enemy by almost 30 years. Without communism, Bush was left trying to defend evil with evil, and failed. He gave the world a taste of the financial crisis and the interminable wars his son would bring. He showed the moral vacuum in which these would be concocted, by the very men he brought to power.


    The world to which he belonged died away in 1989-1992. At last, he has been reconnected with it.


    Shlabotnik, Silver Witch, Tardis Blue and 29 othersPDiddie, closeupready, HomerRamone, bemildred, Coldmountaintrail, boxcar joe, Go Vols, canoeist52, OCMI, Flying Squirrel, beltanefauve, Major Hogwash, travelerxxx, MistaP, Enthusiast, Johnny Rash, ccinamon, davidthegnome, NV Wino, Ohio Barbarian, iggy, Tierra y Libertad, GloriaMundi, Land of Enchantment, Haikugal, MrMickeysMom, Pam, h-32, jwirr like this
    "Someone hacks the DNC allowing all of America to see how the DNC operates as one of the most corrupt political machines in national history. Ergo, Hillary Clinton should be installed as President by judicial fiat. And if you do not agree to this scheme you deserve to be brought up on charges of treason because fascism." - NUGrrl, december 2016 “Once a person has been determined to be an UNTRUSTWORTHY LIAR, their pretend stances on important issues are simply not relevant to rational discussion.” – Ida Briggs, September 2016

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19 replies
  • Pam (2191 posts)

    1. Nominated for the Daily Radical


  • Haikugal (7776 posts)

    2. Wow! I second the nomination for daily radical! Thanks!


  • MrMickeysMom (2524 posts)

    3. WOW….

    This deserves the greatest page…

    I was married and just beginning my discontent when the Berlin Wall came down. You took me in directions to help re-live what the hell was festering from this point in the strange and under-reported career path.

    We need to ponder more as to where it’s brought us and why!

    Hell no...I'm not giving up...     cat-gif-238.gif giphy.gif
  • id-entity (3064 posts)

    4. Communism didn't and can't collapse

    In political and social sciences, communism (from Latin communis, “common, universal”)[1][2] is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society*, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money[3][4] and the state.[5][6]

    A communist society is characterized by common ownership of the means of production with free access[1][2] to the articles of consumption and is classless and stateless,[3]implying the end of the exploitation of labour.[4][5]

    What collapsed was Soviet block of Stalinist state capitalism.

    Even though Western propaganda keeps on talking about totally contradictiory concept of “communist state”, we don’t have to and should not.

    Disclaimer: You are free to reproduce, distribute, interpret, misinterpret, distort, garble, do what you like, even claim authorship, without my consent or the permission of anybody.
    • Salemcourt (1462 posts)

      16. Yes, communism is alive and well

      under several brand names even now.  For example:   Pinarayi Vijayan (born 24 May 1945) is an Indian politician who is the current Chief Minister of Kerala, in office since 25 May 2016.  A member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), democratically elected in 2016 (another myth in the West is Communist people cannot be democratically elected.)

      • id-entity (3064 posts)

        19. Anarchists are communists

        Indian elders who call for world peace are communists.

        And yes, there are still even tankie communists, as silly and horrible they are. All the empirical evidence is on the side of libertarians, but authoritarian commies remain also a phenomenon.


        Disclaimer: You are free to reproduce, distribute, interpret, misinterpret, distort, garble, do what you like, even claim authorship, without my consent or the permission of anybody.
  • Deadpool (17658 posts)
    Computer Janitor

    5. On the Daily Radical!

  • iggy (3461 posts)

    6. Too bad he didn't outlive Capitalisim as we know it.

    Great read. :hug:

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels
  • Ohio Barbarian (13443 posts)

    7. Superb! Well done! Thank you, Betty.

    No man ought to stay poor so another man can get rich. --Newton Knight
  • davidthegnome (3418 posts)

    8. Quite a post.

    Your recollections and your knowledge  are very impressive.

    I was.. 8, I think, when Clinton won the Presidency.  I only very vaguely recall the elder Bush being President, that my grandfather liked him – and that he was some kind of war hero, or something.  Even more vaguely, I remember the news images after Reagan was shot.

    What I remember better – and perhaps this was only a child’s naivete – but it seems that, the office of President held more respect back then.  Whether we liked Bush or not, or Reagan, there was respect, I think, for the office they held.

    Since then… the internet, social media, endless news articles real and false, 9/11 and all that came with it, trade deals… but also the freedom of information act, a growing acceptance of LGBT individuals….

    Hmm.  I wonder what my grandfather’s, Republicans back in the 80s… I wonder what they would think of today’s world.  I’ve got to say – even now, despite my differences if opinion with Bush and whether or not I liked him, I did respect his military service.

    I do not think any President since has served in the armed forces of which he is commander in chief.

    The world moves faster now.  The truth is more unknown, lies are bigger and perhaps better spread.  Still, progressive or conservative, we move forward in this place, together.

    May he rest in peace – and may those who loved him find their own.

    “There is no distinctly native American criminal class save Congress.” - Mark Twain
  • Johnny Rash (2068 posts)

    9. Clicked & Bookmarked…. thanks!

  • boxcar joe (63 posts)

    10. Wow, Betty, just wow. The phrase "well written" doesn't

    even come close.

    All of the recent concern regarding grave dancing seems misplaced.  The person described above, as with so many others of his kind, cannot die.  They can only melt back into the pool of ideology from whence they emerged.  While upon the earth they had no life but only a succession of positions.  Dancing on this one’s grave is inappropriate simply because there are ten more of him emerging at this very moment.

    “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”  And until we face that fear, as a people, we will always have those like this one among us.  Wraiths whose very reason for being depends upon the fear of others.

    Perhaps his wife said it best as they turned from looking at the Astrodome eight days after Katrina.  Asked what she thought about the plight of the thousands of refugees huddled within, she bravely faced the cameras and, with all of the compassion that she could muster, declared: “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.”



  • Enthusiast (16192 posts)

    11. Kicked and Recommended to the fucking Max!

    Just excellent!

    "I got a great big pointed fang Which is my Zomby Toof My right foot's bigger than my other one is Like a reg'lar Zomby Hoof If I raid your dormitorium Don't try to remain aloof . . ." The Zombie Woof
  • RufusTFirefly (4606 posts)
    Mr. Jenkins

    12. Easily one of the best homegrown OPs I've ever read on JPR. Well done! n/t

    • Snort McDork (2951 posts)

      13. Bush will always be remembered to me as….

      “….Being born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

      Ann Richards

  • Silver Witch (7107 posts)

    14. Most excellent.

    Thankfully you my friend write beautifully about the ugliness that is Bush and his family.  I remember each of the events you outline in your piece.

    I remember marching for peace.  A peace we still have not found.  I recall the chants of “no blood for oil”.   Scrapping together money to post a full page ad in the paper to attract more protesters.  I remember back then believing we could bring change and yet no change came or has come.

    A man like Bush would, one would think, would want to prove the value of war by giving his children to war and yet he helped them evade a duty he placed on many.   Many who are not with us today and know all to well the ugliness of Bush.

    There is no gravedancing when sorrow is all one can feel at the losses this world has sufferrf because one evil man walked the planet for far far too long.

    There are a few more I hope to outlive only so I may breath a wee bit deeper and freer.

    Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost~John Quincy Adams  
    • Betty Karlson (5348 posts)

      17. My dear friend, please know that every step you took in that march

      was not in vain. You were beating the path for others to follow.

      The meek shall inherit the earth. Sadly, for the inheritance to become available, some things will have to die first.

      "Someone hacks the DNC allowing all of America to see how the DNC operates as one of the most corrupt political machines in national history. Ergo, Hillary Clinton should be installed as President by judicial fiat. And if you do not agree to this scheme you deserve to be brought up on charges of treason because fascism." - NUGrrl, december 2016 “Once a person has been determined to be an UNTRUSTWORTHY LIAR, their pretend stances on important issues are simply not relevant to rational discussion.” – Ida Briggs, September 2016
      • Silver Witch (7107 posts)

        18. From your lips to the Mighty Unicorns Ear!!!

        I hope I live to see that my friend.

        Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost~John Quincy Adams  
  • Coldmountaintrail (9789 posts)

    15. I was over 40 when the ussr fell. what amazed me was how little it changed

    anything.  having grown up in a world of bomb drills and red-baiting, where politics always had something to do with the ‘soviet threat’ making you think it the soviets were gone all would be lollipops and roses, it was just weird that everything stayed pretty much the same.  even though I knew better, it was still weird to have my deepest suspicions confirmed.

    and then lots of other wars and scares emerged to replace the soviets.

    and now, russiarussiarussia.  reminds me of a novel…what was that title again?