George Herbert Walker Bush has passed away, the latest President to serve only one term and the last one to serve in World War II. I am not saddened by his passing, although elements of his legacy are remarkable. He was the first President I recall from my childhood. Although I was born in 1980, and Ronald Reagan was the first President in my lifetime, I don’t remember the Gipper. I do remember George H.W. Bush from the outset of his administration, when he was sworn in as Reagan’s hopeful successor. In fact, in January 1989 I watched his inauguration ceremony along with the rest of my second-grade classmates.
What else comes to mind, however, when I think of the Elder President Bush? My Aunt Frannie from West Mifflin, Pennsylvania in late 1991, the last time that I visited her. She was irate in those days. Why? “Read my lips! No new taxes!” she griped to me. Next, she pointed out the rising taxes shrinking her already fixed retirement income. She later mentioned how every foreign-made car on the streets of Pittsburg (right down the valley from her home) put four Americans out of work. She probably would have voted for Trump if she were alive today, but she definitely hated Bush.
Another childhood memory: A group of protesters outside of my local post office were denouncing President Bush. “He is Nero-Minded!”, one pamphlet read. The demonstrators informed me more about this New World Order, an agenda troubles Americans even today. Our country should never surrender its unique place—and role—in a world fraught with tyranny and seduced by socialism. No doubt, Phyliss Schlafy was extremely dismissive of this so-called Republican, especially since he remained committed to promulgating the aggressive, interventionist foreign policy of the Kissinger era two decades before. Governments which fight wars for the few at the expense of the rest cannot continue.
Despite his rise to prominence with pro-America conservative Ronald Reagan, Bush remained vocally committed to the Globalism fantasy, the notion that nations should further cooperate, even submit their sovereignty to a larger global agency in the pursuit of world peace. The contradiction manifested itself so clearly when Bush posited a “New World Order” as a commitment to the rule of law, when such legal strictures require respect for individual nation-states, but certainly not to a global organization like the corrupt, feckless United Nations. Bush signed into law the legislative program which gave us Agenda 21 today. Bush was a civilized statist, to say the least, but a statist nonetheless.
His reticence on the world stage was not commendable, either, following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the downfall of the Soviet Union, and the whole Communist enterprise. Some middling conservatives and contrived moderate Republicans look to Bush’s effusive demeanor during that time with fondness. “It was good for President Bush not to rub this massive victory in Russia’s face,” they will claim. I could not disagree more. While our leaders should seek peace with all world leaders, Bush should have extensively commended his predecessor’s calm, dedicated resolve to consign communism to the ash-heap of history. If there was a new world order to celebrate, that was the time, an order where principled leaders fight for individual liberty at all costs and sanction those countries who don’t. To this day, I cry with joy recalling Berlins on both sides of the wall dancing, cheering, and knocking down that tyrannical blockade. President Bush should have welcomed those victories with greater acclaim.
The worst thing that Bush 41 did during his administration, though? He betrayed his base, the Reaganites who had swept into power a conservative revolution sixteen years in the making would see its reversal during his one-term troubles. “Read my lips: no new taxes!” Bush had triumphantly promised to great acclaim at the 1988 Republican National Committee Convention. Two years later, November 5th, 1990, Bush said to the voters “Kiss My Butt!” and signed into law a massive omnibus, riddled with tax increases, which in turn became “Pay Through the Nose”. The fact that the press and academy would praise “his courage” for raising taxes on the rest of us was just sickening. There is no courage when forcing other people to pay for your costs.
Despite his successful military leadership during Operation Desert Shield—later Operation Desert Storm—in Iraq, the recession which followed crippled Bush’s already waning re-election chances in 1992. He was the architect of his own undoing. The roaring Reagan Revolution economy wavered because of the tax increases. The supply-side economics which allowed individuals, including business owners and wealthy investors, to keep their money actually works. Bush the Big Government liberal Republican called such free market reforms “voodoo economics” in his frustrated bid for the Presidency in 1980. Bush was also a social liberal, comfortable with abortion and certainly non-committal when it came to natural marriage.
A Rockefeller Republican long after the liberal Governor of New York turned short-lived Vice President had passed away. Conservatism with conviction (not globalist accommodation) rescued the United States from moral and fiscal decline in 1980. That same resolve saved America with the election of President Donald Trump—and with it a final repudiation of Bush’s elitist statism. No wonder Bush voted for Hillary.
As expected, just as the legacy (liberal, anti-Trump) media gushed over the deceased “Republican” US Senator John McCain, so too they are tripping over themselves to celebrate George H. W. Bush. His private life, from his 73-year marriage to Barbara Pierce to the storied legacy of his political family succeeding on their own merits, deserves reflection and praise. His service to the United States during World War II was commendable, as he received the Distinguished Flying Cross for “bravery under fire”. Let the media fawn all they please about President Bush, the dedicated family man and veteran. However, as President, the elder Bush was a failure whose disregard for his party’s principles and our country’s values were ill-placed in the White House.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a blogger, writer, and commentator on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow his blogs at The State of the Union and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.