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George Herbert Walker Bush

He started out okay. Despite being born into a rich family, George Bush volunteered without hesitation for World War II. On his 18th birthday, six months after Pearl Harbor, George enlisted in the Navy and became a bomber pilot. He flew 58 combat missions in the Pacific, earning four medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross. By all accounts, Bush was a good pilot who served his country admirably.

After the war, George got married and enrolled at Yale University. During his time at Yale he joined the secret society Skull and Bones like his father Prescott before him, and just as George's future son, George W Bush, would do many years later. Therefore, perhaps all three men have masturbated in the same coffin.

In 1950, Bush graduated Yale and headed off to Texas to launch an oil business. That same year, Bush's father unsuccessfully ran for a Senate seat in Connecticut. Then he got into politics.


After a couple of terms as a Congressman from Texas, Bush was appointed Ambassador to the United Nations by President Richard M. Nixon. Afterwards Nixon appointed him chairman of the Republican National Committee. So Bush spent Watergate as head of the Republican party. Oddly enough, as RNC chairman Bush had an (unofficial) office inside the White House. So anyway, Bush was the guy who ultimately had to ask Nixon to resign, which he was too chicken to do face-to-face. So he wrote a memo:

Dear Mr. President,

It is my considered judgment that you should now resign. I expect in your lonely embattled position this would seem to you as an act of disloyalty from one you have supported and helped in so many ways. My own view is that I would now ill serve a President whose massive accomplishments I will always respect and whose family I love, if I did not now give you my judgment. Until this moment resignation has been no answer at all, but given the impact of the latest development, and it will be a lasting one, I now firmly feel resignation is best for the country, best for this President. I believe this view is held by most Republican leaders across the country. This letter is much more difficult because of the gratitude I will always have for you. If you do leave office history will properly record your achievements with a lasting respect.

Nixon quit the following day, and Gerald Ford became President. In October 1974, Ford sent Bush to China as the second pseudo-ambassador to that country since Mao's revolution. Apparently, there wasn't much for him to do. When the Chinese wanted something from Washington, they didn't bother with Bush. They would just call up Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Bush was completely superfluous.

After spending a year sitting on his ass in China, Bush was tapped to head the Central Intelligence Agency in January 1976. He shuffled papers as Director of Central Intelligence for a year until Ford lost to Georgia governor Jimmy Carter. Consequently, Bush had four years of downtime.


He ran for President in 1980, but lost the nomination to California governor and former movie actor Ronald Reagan. Reagan wanted former President Ford (of all people) to be his Vice President. However, Ford wanted something akin to a co-presidency, or at least a Cabinet-level appointment. If he was going to return to the White House, it sure as hell wasn't going to be as somebody's sidekick. When they were finally unable to broker an equitable arrangement, Ford walked. At which point, Reagan had no choice but to ask Bush, who immediately jumped at the offer.

As Reagan's Vice President, Bush got a bunch of shit jobs. But if there was one thing Bush was good at, it was taking orders. No matter how much he privately disagreed with the President, George believed that it was his job to be the ultimate "Yes" man. Bush demonstrated his loyalty by exhibiting slavish devotion to Reagan's policies, even the ones he thought were completely nuts. When reporters asked him whether he still believed Reagan's stimulus plan for the economy amounted to "voodoo economics," Bush denied ever having said it. CBS news quickly settled the matter when they ran footage of him saying exactly that in 1980.

Arms for Hostages

It was Bush's deeply-engrained tendency for toadying that dragged him into the miasma eventually known as Iran-Contra. One of Bush's chores was heading up the Presidential Task Force on Terrorism. At the same time, he attended at least five high-level meetings where the sale of arms to Iran was discussed. Even so, Bush stood up in front of news cameras and somehow managed to announce with a straight face:

"Today I am proud to deliver to the American people the result of the six months effort to review our policies and our capabilities to deal with terrorism. Our policy is clear, concise, unequivocal. We will offer no concession to terrorists, because that only leads to more terrorism. States that practice terrorism, or actively support it, will not be allowed to do so without consequence."

Except that the minutes from the June 1984 meeting of the National Security Planning Group demonstrated a distinct eagerness to deal with terrorist states, as long as it helped to illegally fund the Contras in Nicaragua. And the minutes show that George was there:

McFARLANE: There seems to be no prospect that the Democratic leadership will provide for any vote on the Nicaraguan program.
PRESIDENT REAGAN: It all hangs on support for the anti-Sandinistas. How can we get that support in the Congress? We have to be more active.
KIRKPATRICK: If we can't get the money for the anti-Sandinistas, then we have to make the maximum effort to find the money elsewhere.
SCHULTZ: I would like to get the money for the Contras also, but ... Jim Baker said that if we go out and try to get the money from third countries, it is an impeachable offense.
CASEY: Jim Baker said that if we try to get money from third countries without notifying the oversight committees it could be a problem.
SCHULTZ: Baker's argument is that the U.S. government may raise and spend funds only through an appropriation of the Congress.
PRESIDENT REAGAN: We must obtain the funds to help these freedom fighters.
VICE PRESIDENT BUSH: The only problem that might come up is if the United States were to promise to give these third parties something in return, so that some people could interpret this as some kind of an exchange.
McFARLANE: I certainly hope none of this discussion will be made public in any way.

But an apparent lack of documentation allowed Bush to claim that he had never been "in the loop" regarding the Boland amendment violations.

REPORTER: Did you know about the Contra aid or not?
VICE PRESIDENT BUSH: I sensed that there were—that we were sending arms. And I sensed we were trying to get hostages out. But not arms for hostages.
REPORTER: Did you not begin to smell a rat here?
VICE PRESIDENT BUSH: Not really, no. I could see that it was—got a little close, but not, not, enough to say—no, this is not arms, that this is purely arms for hostages.

As Senator Bob Dole put it, "The record is that he was either absent or silent. I don't know what that does for him."

1984 Re-Election Campaign

In the course of the 1984 re-election campaign, Bush debated Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. During the October 11 match, Bush was forced to answer why he claimed to be a Texan. His response was characteristically incoherent:

REPORTER: Mr. Vice-President, how can you claim that your home is in Maine for tax purposes and at the same time claim that your home is in Texas for voting purposes? Are you really a Texan or a New Englander?
PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm really a Texan. But I got one house. And under the law, every taxpayer is allowed, when he sells a house, and buys another house, to get the rollover. Everybody, if it turns out, and I may hire, I notice she said she has a new good accountant. I'd like to get his name and phone number because I think I've paid too much in the way of taxes.

And residence, Mr. Boyd, legal residence, for voting, is very different. And the domicile, they call that, very different, than the house. That they say you're living in the vice-president's house. Therefore you don't get what every—I've got problems—what every other taxpayer gets. I got problems with the IRS, but so do a lot of people out there. I think I've paid too much. Nothing ethical. I'd like to get some money back.


In 1988, Bush's career as a brownnoser finally paid off when he received the Presidential nomination. He immediately picked an obedient lapdog of his own for the Veep slot: Indiana senator Dan Quayle. Quayle was a hopeless lightweight, who often appeared flustered during press conferences. But he was slavishly loyal, which is really all Bush understood or cared about. (In fact, during a September 2003 ceremony to unveil a bust of Quayle in U.S. capitol, Quayle declared that there are only two requirements for the job—being prepared and loyal—and that "being loyal to President George Bush was very easy.")

Early on in the 1988 campaign, something snapped in Bush. He disengaged from the broader picture and focused solely on getting elected. So said a bunch of things he didn't really believe in, and started making promises he knew he would live to regret.

The Bush/Quayle team proceeded to run one of the ugliest campaigns in recent history. Bush could not help but call Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis a L-I-B-E-R-A-L at every possible opportunity. He even derided the Democrat for his membership in the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging him to be a "card-carrying member of the ACLU." Dan Quayle also got in on the act. During his one and only Vice Presidential debate against Lloyd Bentsen, Quayle spent the entire night maligning Dukakis instead of engaging Bentsen. As he explained years later:

"I just wanted to pretend like he wasn't even on the stage, and I did. I just went after Dukakis and talked about Dukakis, and I tried to get the L-word, if you recall, in the 1988 campaign. Dukakis ran from the L-word, liberal. And I must have used that, I don't know how many times—a lot—to remind the audience that Dukakis was, in fact, a true blue liberal that would raise taxes and increase government spending, and not very good for your health."

Bush won, of course, but not without making one critical mistake. It happened during Bush's acceptance speech at the Republican national convention in August. He made what would eventually prove to be one promise too many:

"The Congress will push me to raise taxes and I'll say no. And they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push again. And I'll say to them: 'Read my lips—No. New. Taxes.'"

After Bush won the election, of course he raised taxes. He always knew he was going to have to do it—it was inevitable. In fact, Bush signed the largest tax increase in history. Nevertheless, millions of Republican voters felt they had been doublecrossed. But he had only told them what he knew they wanted to hear. He assumed they knew that. And it was that duplicity which ultimately cost him the re-election.

But a man can cram a lot of living into four years.


Back in December 1983, Vice President Bush was sent for a secret meeting with Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega at the Panama City Airport. There they discussed Noriega's money laundering and drug dealing. Years later, President Bush denied ever having known about these allegations against the man.

Six years later, Bush sent 22,500 troops to Panama. It took them a couple of weeks to capture Noriega and ship him off to Florida, where he was ultimately convicted in federal court of drug trafficking, money laundering, and racketeering.


It stunned the militia freaks when Bush started using an ominous new catchphrase in a February 1990 speech at San Francisco:

"Time and again in this century, the political map of the world was transformed. And in each instance, a New World Order came about through the advent of a new tyrant or the outbreak of a bloody global war, or its end."

The term soon became a staple of the President's speeches.

Then one of America's friends in the Arab world, Saddam Hussein, got a little greedy. Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait. This prompted the United States to mount a counteroffensive known as the Gulf War. During the buildup of American forces, somebody finally asked the President what his favorite phrase actually meant. True to form, Bush bobbled it:

REPORTER: You said, President Bush, that a "New World Order" would emerge once the Gulf crisis has been solved. How do you envisage this New World Order?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I envisage it—one: where the whole—once we're—let me start over.

Once we set back this aggression, and once it is clear that the security and the stability of the Gulf are enhanced by whatever arrangements are set into place—once that this invading dictator gets out of Kuwait—then I think that it's clear we're going to have an opportunity, given the diversity of this coalition, to work more closely together. And part of that—I want to see a solution to the question of the West Bank, for example. But I think if we work cooperatively as our—with our common sights set—this aggressor will not succeed—it opens up all kinds of possibilities for a New World Order.

We're already seeing that "world order" means "world." And we're beginning to see that with what happened out of the—well, just as a result of the actions that led up to this successful CSCE meeting. I'm going down to South America, and the evolving democracies there are strengthening their economies, and we've got a program that I think will be very helpful there.

It was pretty clear that Bush had no fucking idea what the term meant. And his tangential meanderings didn't exactly reassure the conspiracists, who sensed that he was really just tiptoeing around the idea of instituting the unified global government prophesied in the book of Revelation. If that actually was his intent, then apparently it was on the "second term" todo list.

Anyway, the coalition of United Nations forces led by the U.S. managed to drive Saddam's troops back over the border, and Kuwait was liberated. Then Bush declared victory. His popularity rating jumped to 91%. And with the election coming up, there was just no way he could lose.

But he did lose.

1992 Re-Election Campaign

Bush had a handful of worries going into the campaign. The economy was tanking. Pesky Iran-Contra revelations kept cropping up. But the one thing that kept him up at night was the ghost of a four-year-old campaign promise:

"The Congress will push me to raise taxes and I'll say no. And they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push again. And I'll say to them: 'Read my lips—No. New. Taxes.'"

He finally tried to defuse the issue in March. The plan was for the President to take responsibility for raising taxes, apologize, and explain what the hell he was thinking. It would probably have worked if Bush hadn't completely flubbed it:

"Total mistake—policy, political, everything else. . . . But it was—spending caps is good. . . . But when you have to weigh a decision, in retrospect—have the benefit of hindsight—I would say both policy and politically, I think we can all agree that it's drawn a lot of fire."

Let's see... no responsibility, no apology, and no explanation. Somehow this didn't manage to satisfy those voters who felt they had been betrayed. By the time October rolled around, for some reason the "Read my lips" thing still hadn't gone away. When Bill Clinton raised the issue during the debate in Michigan, Bush's tactic was to blame the opposition:

"Let me remind you it was a Democratic tax increase, and I didn't want to do it and I went along with it. And I said I make a mistake. If I make a mistake, I admit it. That's quite different than some. But I think that's the American way."

Okey dokey. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bush had relentlessly pissed away his unprecedented approval ratings over the previous 18 months, and with them went his lead in the election polls. In his last question of the final Presidential debate, he had to explain why his approval rating had been cut in half:

REPORTER: Mr. President, why have you dropped so dramatically in the leadership polls, from the high 80s to the 40s? And you have said that you will do anything you have to do to get reelected. What can you do in two weeks to win reelection?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, I think the answer to why the drop, I think, has been the economy in the doldrums. Why I'll win is: I think I have the best plan of the three of us up here to do something about it.

However, this response left most viewers wondering: If you've got such a wonderful economic plan, how come you haven't already implemented the damned thing? Bush's popularity never made a recovery, and he lost the election.

The Democrats who voted for Gore/Lieberman in 2000 experienced the sort of shock, horror, and anguish no one else could understand. You just had to be there. The election had been stolen—a bunch of crooks hijacked the most powerful nation on Earth. But there was one group of people who did understand that sensation. And those were the Republicans who had supported Bush/Quayle in 1992.

The Republicans certainly felt like they got screwed in 1992, although it went down differently. There were no serious legal challenges or ballot recounts. But the agony was just as excruciating.

1992 2000
popular electoral popular electoral
Democratic 44,908,254 370 50,996,582 266
Republican 39,102,343 168 50,456,062 271
Third Party 19,741,065 0 2,882,955 0

The Bush/Quayle voters wanted third party candidate Ross Perot flayed alive for costing them the election. He sucked in almost 20 million votes, more than six times Ralph Nader's tally in 2000. And Perot seemed like he had a conservative appeal. So it just stood to reason that his candidacy had totally fucked over the Republican ticket.

Truth be told, however, the freaky munchkin billionaire had attracted almost equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, so he probably had little or no effect on the final outcome. But this is not how most Republicans saw it. They just knew, in their guts, that it was the screwball dilettante that sunk their re-election campaign.

George HW Bush's Presidential Pardons

Elliott Abrams Pardoned for any and all Iran-Contra crimes.
Aslam P. Adam Clemency for heroin trafficking.
Duane R. Clarridge Pardoned for any and all Iran-Contra crimes.
Edwin L. Cox Pardoned for bank fraud.
Alan Fiers Pardoned for any and all Iran-Contra crimes.
Clair George Pardoned for any and all Iran-Contra crimes.
Armand Hammer Pardoned for making illegal contributions to President Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign.
Robert C. McFarlane Pardoned for any and all Iran-Contra crimes.
Joseph Occhipinti Commuted sentence for violating the civil rights of accused criminals.
Caspar W. Weinberger Pardoned for any and all Iran-Contra crimes.


12 Jun 1924 George Herbert Walker Bush born, Milton MA.
2 Sep 1944 During a raid on the Pacific island of ChiChi Jima, the bomber flown by Navy pilot George HW Bush is struck by antiaircraft fire. Bush ditches the plane in the Pacific and is the only person to survive the crash.
1948 Initiated into Skull and Bones.
1963 George Bush is unanimously elected chairman of the Harris County Republican Party.
1966 George Bush is elected Congressman from the 7th District (in Houston).
1971 George Bush is appointed Ambassador to the United Nations.
1973 George Bush is appointed Chairman of the Republican National Committee.
25 Oct 1974 George Bush is sent to China as Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office.
2 Nov 1975 President Gerald Ford fires CIA Director William Colby and replaces him with George HW Bush.
30 Jan 1976 George Bush begins a 12-month stint as Director of Central Intelligence. He later describes the situation in a 1999 ceremony at CIA headquarters: "I walked in here 24 years ago untutored in the arts of intelligence."
30 Jun 1981 Vice President George HW Bush tells Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos: "We love your adherence to democratic principle, and to the democratic processes."
9 Feb 1982 Vice President George HW Bush disclaims ever having used the term "voodoo economics" to refer to candidate Reagan's budget plan and defies "anybody to find it." Shortly thereafter, NBC News airs footage of candidate Bush saying exactly that at Carnegie-Mellon University on April 10, 1980.
4 Oct 1984 Vice President George HW Bush, on why he considers himself a Texan: "I'm legally and every other way—emotionally—entitled to be what I want to be; and that's what I want to be, and that's what I am."
11 Oct 1984 Vice President George HW Bush: "Almost every place you can point, contrary to Mr. Mondale's—I gotta be careful here—but contrary of how he goes around just saying everything bad, if somebody sees a silver lining he finds a big black cloud out there. I mean: right on, whine on, harvest moon!"
27 Oct 1984 Vice President George HW Bush: "Let me assure you of one thing: the United States under this administration will never—never—let terrorism or fear of terrorism determine its foreign policy."
2 Nov 1984 Vice President George HW Bush: "Under this President's strong and principled leadership, America is back with pride, patriotism, and prosperity. We're number one, and there's a lot of idiots who don't know that."
28 Jan 1987 Appearing on Good Morning America, Vice President George HW Bush justifies the clandestine weapons shipments to Iran: "On the surface, selling arms to a country that sponsors terrorism, of course, clearly, you'd have to argue it's wrong, but it's the exception sometimes that proves the rule."
1 Jun 1987 After being booed at an AIDS conference, Vice President George HW Bush wonders aloud in front of a live mic: "Who was that? Some gay group out there?"
28 Sep 1987 Vice President George HW Bush, during a tour of Auschwitz: "Boy, they were big on crematoriums, weren't they?"
25 Jan 1988 During a live television appearance, Vice President George HW Bush whines petulantly to CBS news anchor Dan Rather about his Iran-Contra questions: "It's not fair to judge my whole career by a rehash on Iran. How would you like it if I judged your career by those seven minutes when you walked off the set in New York? Would you like that?"
25 Apr 1988 Vice President George HW Bush: "High tech is potent, precise, and in the end, unbeatable. The truth is, it reminds a lot of people the way I pitch horseshoes. Would you believe some of the people? Would you believe our dog? Look, I want to give the high-five symbol to high tech."
5 May 1988 Vice President George HW Bush tells the students of East Los Angeles' Garfield High School: "You don't have to go to college to be a success [...] We need the people who run the offices, the people who do the hard physical work of our society." It was apparently unclear to Bush that 70% of the school's seniors go on to college. Garfield High calculus teacher Jaime Escalante was the subject of the hit Hollywood film Stand and Deliver, which had been in theaters for two months.
2 Aug 1988 George Bush: "I will never apologize for the United States, ever. I don't care what the facts are."
18 Aug 1988 During his acceptance speech at the Republican national convention, George HW Bush issues a prophecy: "The Congress will push me to raise taxes and I'll say no. And they'll push, and I'll say no, and they'll push again. And I'll say to them: 'Read my lips—no new taxes.'" In the end, things don't quite work out that way.
27 Aug 1988 George Bush: "I don't know that atheists should be considered citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
7 Sep 1988 George Bush: "Today, you remember—I wonder how many Americans remember—today is Pearl Harbor Day. Forty-seven years ago to this very day we were hit and hit hard at Pearl Harbor. [...] Did I say September 7th? Sorry about that. December 7th."
25 Sep 1988 During one of the Presidential debates, Vice President George HW Bush paints his opponent, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, as practically un-American: "He said, 'I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU.' That was what he said. He is out there, on out of the mainstream."
Mar 1989 The Los Angeles Times reports: "The delivery of Millie's first litter—five females and a male—brought a tear to the eyes of the First Lady and the President, Mrs. Bush said."
7 Mar 1989 George Bush: "I say the same thing I say to a person whose family was maimed by a pistol or an explosive charge or whatever else it might be: a fire—this is bad."
13 Apr 1989 George Bush describing his wife: "I'm delighted that Barbara Bush is with me today, and I—she got a good, clean bill of health yesterday from Walter Reed Hospital, I might add—and then, but I'm taking another look at our doctor. He told her it's OK to kiss the dog—I mean—no—it's OK to kiss your husband, but don't kiss the dog. So I don't know exactly what that means."
20 Apr 1989 Asked about the Iran-Contra scandal, George Bush admonishes the reporter: "Please don't ask me to do that which I've just said I'm not going to do, because you're burning up time. The meter is running through the sand on you, and I am now filibustering."
6 Jul 1989 Emphasizing that he has no interest in meddling in Hungarian internal affairs, President George HW Bush explains: "It would be inappropriate for the President of the United States to try to fine-tune for the people of Hungary how they ought to eat—how the cow ought to eat the cabbage, as we say in the United States."
5 Sep 1989 During a televised speech from the Oval Office, President George HW Bush holds up a bag of crack cocaine purchased across the street at Lafayette Park. Three weeks later, a DEA official admits to The Washington Post that crack dealers don't actually hang out in Lafayette Park, so they purposely lured one to the spot. "We had to manipulate him to get him down there. It wasn't easy." Reportedly, the seller's first question was: "Where the fuck is the White House?"
9 Nov 1990 In the biggest mistake of his Presidency, George HW Bush reneges on his "Read my lips—no new taxes" pledge as he signs into law House Resolution 5835, otherwise known as the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. It is the single largest tax increase in history, including $137 billion in new income taxes.
4 Dec 1990 George Bush: "I know what I've told you I'm going to say, I'm going to say. And what else I say, well, I'll take some time to figure that all out."
12 May 1991 George Bush, exhibiting signs that he is in dire need of relaxation: "I've got to run now and relax. The doctor told me to relax. The doctor told me to relax. The doctor told me. He was the one. He said, 'Relax.'"
8 Jan 1992 President George HW Bush vomits in the lap of Japanese Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi, and then faints during a state function in Tokyo. The incident spawns the Japanese slang verb bushusuru (literally, "Bushing it") to refer to puking.
15 Jan 1992 George HW Bush doing his Evita Peron impression: "You cannot be President of the United States if you don't have faith. Remember Lincoln, going to his knees in time of trial and the Civil War and all that stuff. You can't be. So don't feel sorry for—don't cry for me, Argentina."
4 Mar 1992 George HW Bush: "Somebody asked me, what's it take to win? I said to them, I can't remember, what does it take to win the Superbowl? Or maybe Steinbrenner, my friend George, will tell us what it takes for the Yanks to win... one run. But I went over to the Strawberry Festival this morning, and ate a piece of shortcake over there—able to enjoy it right away, and once I completed it, it didn't have to be approved by Congress—I just went ahead and ate it."
25 Oct 1992 During a speech at Texas Southern University, Jesse Jackson declares: "Bush knew in detail about Irangate and Iraqgate. He says he was not in the loop. Well, he's right. He was not in the loop, he's in the soup—and we're going to turn up the heat."
24 Dec 1992 President George HW Bush pardons six Iran-Contra principals: Weinberger, Abrams, Clarridge, Fiers, George and McFarlane.
20 Dec 1993 Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II: Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honorable Order of the Bath.
31 Jul 1996 For a fee, former President George HW Bush delivers a speech at the Inaugural World Convention of the Family Federation for World Peace—a group sponsored by Sun Myung Moon.
26 Apr 1999 Former President George HW Bush: "I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the names of our [intelligence] sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."

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