Daniel Foster of National Review Online and Greg Corombos of Radio America get a kick out of reports that Elizabeth Warren and her team are still trying to do damage control over her DNA stunt. They also unload on the mainstream media for insisting that every kind word said Wednesday about the late George H.W. Bush was somehow an obvious rebuke of President Trump. And they react to news that Trump is at least contemplating a change in running mates for 2020.
Archives for December 2018
Only two men in American history have followed in their fathers’ footsteps to become President of the United States. On Wednesday, George W. Bush became the first president in history to eulogize a father who had also been president.
The younger Bush spoke of his dad’s penchant for “living young” even into old age and that led to skydiving even at 90 years old.
“The horizons he saw were bright and hopeful. He was a genuinely optimistic man. That optimism guided his children and made each of us believe that anything was possible,” said Bush.
Bush also discussed his father’s legendary kindness.
“Dad could relate to people from all walks of life. He was an empathetic man. He valued character over pedigree. And he was no cynic. He looked for the good in each person and he usually found it,” said Bush.
Bush also thanked his father for setting a great example for him in the Oval Office.
“He showed me what it means to be a president who serves with integrity, leads with courage, and acts with love in his heart for the citizens of our country,” said Bush.
However, the final moments were the most powerful for many. The 43rd president choked back emotion as he praised his father and rejoiced at the reunion of George H.W. Bush with his wife and daughter. Barbara Bush died in April at age 92. Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush died of leukemia in 1953 at just three years of age.
“We’re going to miss you,” said Bush. “Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever.
“So through our tears, let us know the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great and noble man, the best father a son or daughter could have. And in our grief, let us smile knowing that Dad is hugging Robin and holding Mom’s hand again,” said Bush.
Listen here for the full eulogy.
Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was among those eulogizing former President George Bush Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral. Mulroney discussed Bush’s leadership on the world stage with a special emphasis on how Bush deftly managed the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
“An ominous situation that could have become extremely menacing to world security was instead deftly [channeled] by President Bush into the broad and powerful currents of freedom,” said Mulroney.
Listen to the full story as Mulroney explains what Bush did to guide the end of the Cold War to the best possible conclusion and his relating of how former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl regarded Bush’s role in the re-unification of Germany.
Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson offered a tribute Wednesday at the Washington funeral of former President George Bush. Simpson recounted how Bush – riding immense popularity following the Gulf War – reached out and publicly supported Simpson at one of his lowest points.
“At this time, his popularity rating was 93 percent. Mine was 0.93 percent,” said Simpson, in recounting Bush’s invitation to spend the weekend at Camp David and walking to the helicopter in front of the media.
“I said, ‘George, I am not unmindful as to what you are doing. You are propping up your old wounded duck pal. While you’re at the top of your game, you reach out to me while I’m tangled in rich controversy and taking my lumps,'” said Simpson.
Listen here for the entire short story and to hear how Bush replied to Simpson that day.
Daniel Foster of National Review Online and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome the news that former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick will not run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. They also react to the new that the longtime conservative magazine “The Weekly Standard” may soon be shutting down. And they’re deeply disappointed that Michael Avenatti won’t be around to cause chaos in the 2020 Democratic primary season, although making sure Avenatti has zero chance of becoming president is probably a good thing.
Barbara H. Franklin is mourning the loss of a close friend, but George Bush was not only her friend. He was President of the United States and Franklin’s boss when she served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
“I feel a sense of personal loss as well as the loss of a great president and a good man,” said Franklin, who first met Bush in the early 1970’s when he was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and she served in the Nixon administration.
She felt an instant connection to George and Barbara Bush.
“I was very struck by his quality of character and his attributes. He also was fun and funny and high energy and I was just very admiring of him. Then I met Barbara Bush and I thought she was perfectly wonderful too. We became friends,” said Franklin.
“I feel very privileged and honored to have known both of them for as long as I have,” said Franklin.
And what kind of boss was Bush?
“He could be tough-minded but he was forever gracious and the combination of being tough-minded and courageous when he needed to be, as well as gracious all the time, was a wonderful example for anyone,” said Franklin.
She remembers a phone conversation with President Bush late in 1992. Bush had just lost the election but wanted Franklin to thaw ties with China, since high-level government contact had been severed since the brutal Chinese crackdown in pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
“I must say that went through my mind at the time was, ‘Well, why China, why me, and why now?’ I didn’t verbalize that to him, though, and then he explained that he wanted this relationship restored on a better footing before he left office so that the new administration could continue to engage in a good, bilateral way,” said Franklin.
Bush lost the election in part because of his failure to keep his “no new taxes” pledge and because the economy hit a recession in 1991. Franklin points out that the GDP was back to a robust growth of three to four percent in late 1992, but many Americans could not feel the improvement yet and it cost Bush at the polls.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Franklin’s explanation of Bush’s top economic priorities, why he raised taxes after promising not to, why he was so successful in managing the end of the Cold War, and what she savored most from her friendship with the Bushes in the 25 years since the end of his administration
Ronald Reagan and George Bush waged a fierce battle for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination, but that summer they forged a personal and political alliance that greatly assisted Reagan and eventually led to Bush winning the White House eight years later.
“No president ever had a better vice president, a more loyal vice president, a more hand-working vice president than George Bush,” said former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III, who served as counselor to Reagan in California and Washington before being confirmed to lead the Justice Department in the second Reagan term.
Reagan and Bush battled for the nomination for months before Reagan eventually clinched the delegates needed to win the nomination. Some in the GOP pushed for former President Gerald Ford to be Reagan’s running mate but the negotiations fell through. Reagan then turned to Bush, with one condition.
“Before [Reagan] asked him to serve and announced him as his requested vice presidential candidate, it was made clear by George Bush that he was willing and able to support Ronald Reagan in all his policies and positions that he had taken during the campaign,” said Meese.
That was an adjustment on some issues, including economic policy. During the campaign, Bush had derided Reagan’s supply-side agenda as “voodoo economics.” But Bush came around on that too.
“I had later explained to people that in Detroit at the convention that Mr. Bush had an exorcism,” laughed Meese.
After Reagan and Bush defeated President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale in the general election, Reagan and Bush put their team together. Meese became a counselor to the president as part of the famed “troika” that also included longtime Reagan aide Michael Deaver and Bush confidante James Baker III, who served as Reagan’s chief of staff in the first term.
Meese says Baker and the other former Bush personnel became loyal foot soldiers in the Reagan Revolution.
Crisis struck the Reagan administration in March 1981, when the president was shot and nearly killed by John Hinckley, Jr. As Reagan underwent surgery, Secretary of State Alexander Haig declared himself to be in charge until Bush returned from a trip to Texas.
Meese says Bush’s handling of that moment spoke volumes about his character, including his refusal to fly to the White House in Marine One.
“He said, ‘No, have them land at my official residence up at the Naval Observatory and I’ll come in by car.’ He wanted to be sure that nobody thought he was usurping or trying to take over the position of the president,” said Meese.
He says Bush also showed deference by not engaging in verbal disputes with cabinet officials during meetings but would share his concerns privately with the president.
Bush also assisted Reagan in developing relationships abroad, as the vice president represented the U.S. at many different funerals for leaders around the world. It happened so frequently, that Meese says Bush staffer had a motto of “You die, we fly.”
He also took the lead in more concrete policy areas like combating the influx of drugs into Miami and across our southern border. He also led the administration’s regulatory reform efforts.
Listen to the full podcast for more on those issues and to hear Meese explain why Reagan was confident Bush would be a good running mate and political partner even after a tough primary fight, how they collaborated in fighting the Cold War and more. He also shares his thoughts on Bush’s emotional tribute at Reagan’s funeral.
Daniel Foster of National Review Online and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer the French people for forcing their government to suspend implementation of new fuel taxes, although their tactics leave a lot to be desired. They also shake their heads as Congress punts any tough spending decisions to Dec. 21 and appears unwilling to do much of anything to rein in spending. And the liberal site Slate draws an avalanche of condemnation for trashing the late Pres. Bush’s service dog, suggesting there should be no sentimental reaction to the dog since Bush only had him since June.
A former top speechwriter of President George H.W. Bush is remembering his former boss as a leader of tremendous honor and achievement over Bush’s four years in the White House, and he’s also shedding light on some of the most memorable moments associated with Mr. Bush.
Curt Smith is author of “George H.W. Bush: Character at the Core.” He says Bush embodied many of the qualities that have been cherished for generations in the United States.
“It’s an astonishing record of longevity and of decency, of honor, of rectitude, of achievement, of patriotism, of all of the attributes that we would like to think of a quintessentially American. That is what I think of when I think of him,” said Smith.
Bush served as a Naval aviator in World War II and survived both a crash and being shot down. After success in the Texas oil industry, Bush served two terms in Congress, and then as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, chairman of the Republican National Committee, liaison to China and director of the CIA.
After losing the 1980 Republican presidential nomination to Ronald Reagan, Bush accepted Reagan’s invitation to be his running mate. They carried 44 states in an Electoral College rout of President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale in the general election. Four years later, they were re-elected while winning 49 states.
In 1988, Bush defeated Michael Dukakis to win the White House. Bush carried 40 states and amassed 426 electoral votes.
It was during that transition that Bush met and hired Smith as a speechwriter. They quickly bonded over their shared love for baseball.
“He looked at me that January day in 1989 and said, ‘You know, Curt, I’d rather quote Yogi Berra than Thomas Jefferson,'” recounted Smith.
Smith says the most memorable days of the Bush presidency for him were writing the speeches calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein and his Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
Another moment that sticks with Smith is Bush at Pearl Harbor to commemorate 50 years since the Japanese attack that triggered America’s entry into World War II. Smith says it seemed Bush’s mind instantly went back to his teenage years when the attack happened and he enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
“So even though he was 67, inside, emotionally, he’s 17. It was an exceedingly difficult speech for him to give. At the end, he said, ‘God bless the United States of America’ and then almost whispered the words “the most wondrous land on earth.” He was enormously moved and it enormously moved his audience,” said Smith.
The worst days by far were in the aftermath of Bush losing the 1992 election to Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, due in part to the emergence of H. Ross Perot as an independent candidate.
But Smith says it’s clear why Bush lost.
“Who did us in? We did.We didn’t govern in a conservative enough manner to pacify the people who had voted for us, the conservative wing of the Republican Party and of middle America. That’s how Bush had won 40 states in 1988 over Michael Dukakis. It was as close as America could come to a third Reagan term,” said Smith.
“He lost to a better candidate in Bill Clinton, but I think Clinton was an inferior president to Bush, particularly in foreign policy, particularly in matters of honor and rectitude. I think the record is very clear on that,” said Smith.
Listen to the full podcast to hear more from Smith about working with Bush in the heat of the Gulf War, what went wrong in 1992, and the real reason that Bush took up skydiving as a senior citizen.
Daniel Foster of National Review Online and Greg Corombos of Radio America reflect on the life and political legacy of President George H.W. Bush, who died on Friday. They applaud Bush’s service in World War II and many stops in his career of public service and also remember his leadership and the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union crumbled, his successes in the Gulf War, and his support for embattled Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. They also wince at some low points, namely the selection of David Souter to the Supreme Court and breaking his pledge never to raise taxes. And they point out that while the media is largely extolling Bush for his leadership and decency today, their despicable coverage of Bush during his political career painted a much different picture.