Have moderate Republicans gone the way of dinosaurs? George Bush Senior, or “41”, will be commemorated this week; left, right and center. In 1980, he dismissed Movement Conservativism’s trickle-down ideology as “voodoo economics”. But he nevertheless became Reagan’s running mate. America was dumbfounded in 1988 when a conservative group ran Lee Atwater’s Willie Horton ads against Mike Dukakis, Massachusetts Democrat. Because Bush Sr. was above dog whistling. Instead of tailoring his message to win just 270 electoral votes (as it seems recent Republicans have done), Bush Sr. had broad appeal, winning a Presidential landslide of 40 states.
In some of these states, voters kept Republican presidential candidates on a three-decade dry spell, before voting Trump in 2016. Other states, from Vermont to Maryland; Washington to California; Illinois and New Jersey, flipped to Democrats in 1992, and stayed that way since. Bush Sr. Accomplished much in four years, working with a Democratic Congress. Today, President Trump views occasional cooperation with Pelosi as “winning”; Bush might’ve seen compromise as responsible governance. After leaving office, Bush Sr. even criticized the NRA when he perceived an anti-government shift after Waco.
Some Bush Sr. accomplishments are: Americans with Disabilities Act, Relatively peaceful liberation of Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia excepted. He laid the groundwork for NAFTA, and put David Souter and Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. And his leadership of the First Gulf War was widely heralded.
A youthful Bill Clinton won the Presidency in 1992; and Presidental politics since then has been dominated by two families: Bush Jr. took office after Bill Clinton, whose wife Hillary would serve as Senator from New York, Secretary of State, and 2016 Presidential nominee.
A Naval Aviator of WWII, Bush Sr’s “wings” sail on, pinned under the superstructure of his namesake aircraft carrier. USS George H.W. Bush, CVN 77. I had the pleasure of deploying with the strike group on their most recent deployment, trading a million gallons of jet fuel for a box of delicious cookies baked with 100% nuclear energy. They’d come in a gift box, bearing a photo of none other than young Midshipman George H.W. Bush.
By the way, where’s Vice President Dan Quayle (1989-1993)?