What We Lost When We Lost George Bush

A. C. Szul mack97 at EROLS.COM
Sat Oct 11 22:28:49 MDT 1997

In case you haven't read Trent's great find from the LA Times, read on:
(hopefully this piece will be picked up by other papers --across the
country that is -- though I doubt it)

         What We Lost When We Lost George Bush--Christopher Mathews
         Sat, 11 Oct 1997 20:41:50 -0400
         tmulkern at mail.ameritel.net (Trent C Mulkern)
         repub-d at u.washington.edu
         "New Republican Discussion List" <repub-d at u.washington.edu>

What We Lost When We Lost George Bush

L.A. Times
Friday October 10, 1997 Christopher Mathews

We Americans elect each new president to atone for the sins of the last.
Young Jack
Kennedy would "get the country moving again" in 1960 after we'd spent
the 1950s with
the grandfatherly Dwight Eisenhower. Ronald Reagan, whom we elected to
start the
1980s, would be a tonic for the "malaise" of Jimmy Carter. A savvy Bill
looked to be a hipper, more in-touch chief executive than the genteel
George Bush.
This hungry young pol from Hot Springs, Ark. wouldn't be afraid to get
his hands dirty.

As one who has voted for Clinton and applauded him on the big issues of
budgets, fairer taxes and smaller deficits, I still see the moxie in
that 1992 electoral
transaction. We got ourselves a shrewd, connected, hands-on economic
manager and an
extremely lucky politician.

But we also forfeited something in the deal. Ignore the law for the
moment. Put aside
your political loyalties. Is there anyone reading this who believes that
Clinton ever
once spoke up to defend his presidential office from the pervasive
exploitation now
being uncovered from the 1996 reelection push?

Did Clinton ever say to young fundraiser Richard Sullivan that he could
not use the
Oval Office as a state fair kissing booth for $100,000 contributors?
That he didn't
think Lincoln's bed should be used for political one-night stands? That
a hundred
White House "coffees", marketed with the mass efficiency of Starbucks,
overdoing it just a bit?

Did he ever say to his chief in-house money man, Harold Ickes, that it
was time to stop
treating the executive mansion, through which citizens pass in awe, as a
outhouse? No,Ickes testified this week, he never did. He never said, "No
more. Not

Was it illegal for Clinton or Al Gore to "dial for dollars"? Let's let
the courts decide.
The question for the people is less complicated. Do you believe it
proper for the
president who calls young people to die for their country to call up fat
cats and put his
arm around them for cash? Do you think it proper for a citizen of the
United States to
take a telephone call from his president telling him that he needs to
fork over $50,000
or $100,000 in the next election cycle so that he, the commander in
chief, can run some
tv ads praising his place in history?

Would Clinton's predecessor, George Bush, have used the presidency in
that fashion?

The point is, Bush didn't. If we are to believe the words he wrote
himself back on Jan.
20, 1993, the daywe removed him from office, he wouldn't have considered
it. He
spoke to his diary that day of having the "same sense of wonder and
majesty about this
office today as I did when I first walked in here. I've tried to keep
it. I've tried to serve
here with no taint or dishonor; no conflict of interest; nothing to
sully this beautiful
place and this job I've been privileged to hold."

When he recorded these reflections, our last president had no way of
knowing what
was to come: this endless grime of law firm billing records that
disappear and reappear
in the president's upstairs residence; of FBI records rifled through;
the endless,
predictable failure of memory, the arrogant delay in producing
subpoenaed documents
and videotapes.

Bush's ambition had its limits. When young George Bush ran for the
Senate in 1970,
we learn in a new biography by Herman Parmet, he refused the advice of
Nixon attack
dog Charles Colson to air TV ads hitting rival Lloyd Bentsen. He did the
same with
proposals to go after Clinton's private life in 1992, he rejected them.

"It hurts," we hear Bush whisper to Colin Powell a few days after his
1992 defeat.
With all the good economic news and sunny good luck of the past five
years, the loss
of George Bush has hurt us,too.

More information about the Rushtalk mailing list