For those readers who have been living under a rock for the past few weeks, George W. Bush was inaugurated for the second time last month. His inauguration makes the Bush family the most powerful in American history, more powerful than the Kennedys, Adams, or the Roosevelts.
The family first boasted Prescott Bush, a former senator from Connecticut. Prescott is also known for raiding an American Indian tomb for the Order of Skull and Bones, to find Geronimo’s skull. George Herbert Walker Bush was the 41st president for one term, vice president for two and director of the CIA. President George W. Bush, who served as governor of Texas, is now serving his second term as president. Finally, John “Jeb” Bush is currently the governor of Florida.
Exactly how much does the Bush family have to brag about?
George H.W. Bush, father of the current generation of Bushes, was the only CIA director to become president. He led the U.N. coalition in the first Gulf War, and after around 378 coalition casualties, according to wikipedia.org and an estimated $61.1 billion spent, Saddam Hussein remained in power. The country also read his lips when he proclaimed “no new taxes.” Later, taxes were raised.
The Iran-Contra scandal occurred during Reagan’s presidency when Bush Sr. was vice president. The administration was secretly selling arms to Iran, violating Congressional and U.N. sanctions. Bush Sr. then pardoned six government officials involved in the scandal.
Then there’s our current president, George W. Bush, who adopted the Reagan tax plan that his father referred to as “Voodoo economics.” He sent America into Iraq virtually alone (with the exception of a few others, including Britain and, of course, Poland) and without a clear exit strategy. According to an article on CNN.com, so far 1,581 coalition troops have died. Of that number, 1,420 were Americans. At least 10,502 American troops have been wounded in battle. According to costofwar.com, America has spent over $150 billion on the war and that number is rising.
Along with those numbers, George W. was referred to as the “death penalty governor” in an article by Alexander Cockburn. Looking at the database on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Web site, I counted 152 executions from 1995 to 2000, when George W. Bush was governor. Yet, he is adamantly opposed to a woman’s right to choose. Though he proposed the partial-birth abortion ban, he opposes over-the-counter emergency contraception and there is a very real possibility that he will stack the Supreme Court with conservative judges. Apparently, 152 executions and 1,420 dead American soldiers are okay, but an abortion is morally repulsive and criminal.
John “Jeb” Bush is currently the governor of Florida and said he will not seek the presidency in 2008.
According to an article by Ron Hutcheson in The Philadelphia Inquirer, “even some associates who take [Jeb Bush] at his word note that he easily could run sometime after that.”
If Jeb Bush were to run, what would he campaign on exactly? The way black voters were widely disenfranchised in his state in the 2000 election? It would be ridiculous for him to run on the education ticket after Florida public schools were given a D+ for 2004 by Education Week, thus placing them 46th among the 50 states.
How about the fact that Florida is the only state in the country to make 12th grade optional in order to deal with overcrowding public schools? In all fairness, Jeb Bush was quoted in an ABC News story claiming it wasn’t his idea. He did, however, sign the bill.
The next generation of Bushes also shows an interest in politics, and if they pursue their curiosity they will uphold the family legacy quite well. The Bush twins have something of a reputation for underage drinking, following in their father’s footsteps.
In an interview with Time, George H.W. Bush said, “It’s mind-boggling in a sense to think that we’re a family that has had, continues to have, an interest in shaping national affairs.”
What’s more mind-boggling to me is that we continue to let them.
Carolyn Steeves can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.