Sorry, I can’t applaud President GW Bush’s slap at Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders

Sorry, I can’t applaud President GW Bush’s slap at Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders
President George W. Bush poses for his official portrait in the Roosevelt Room of the White House Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2004. Photo by Eric Draper, Courtesy of the George W. Bush Presidential Library

Social media lit up yesterday when President George W. Bush spoke at a forum sponsored by the George W. Bush Foundation in New York City. Without mentioning his name, the Former President appeared to take President Trump and Senator Bernie Sanders to task for the tawdry populism both men have practiced.

It was Trump who won, and the pointed remarks by the Former President seem to be pointed in Trump’s direction. “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”

What is disturbing about Mr. Bush’s remarks is the utter hypocrisy of his words. The Former President and his supporters maintain that history will vindicate his Administration’s record. The speech is part of a campaign the President has been on for the past few years to help history speed up the vindication process.

The bad seeds of the Bush Administration

I was stunned when I first read the words. I contacted my good friend and political ally, Chris Ladd, the founder of Political Orphans and commented about the shot across the bow. Chris reminded me the seeds of what we see today in the GOP and the Trump Administration took firm root in the Party during Bush’s Administration.

Many people were shocked when Stephen Miller made a declaration on TV to the nation that actions President Trump takes will not be subject to question. “Authoritarian,” many cried after the statement was made. Others said it was a path we should not tread. It is a path that leads directly back to the Bush Administration, and we have walked the path for a long time.

Have we forgotten Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld who created a system of torture, spying on US Citizens and a belief they were above Congressional oversight or press scrutiny? Not only did Bush plant the seeds of Mr. Miller’s comments, he worked hard to make authoritarian acts legal under the incorrectly named “Patriot Act.

Now, President Bush is trying to stuff the genie back into the bottle he uncorked. Where were his noble statemen’s words when innocent American Citizen who happened to also be Muslims were singled out to be spied on? He fostered this very climate of conspiracy that he denounced in the New York speech.

The Courts have been striking down President Trump’s travel bans. Many think these unconstitutional bans are a Trump creation. Trump didn’t invent them. They are a continuation of the GW Bush Administration treatment of Muslims.

Just like the flawed travel bans that caught a “dangerous” rock and roll singer, Cat Stevens now known as Yusuf Islam after his conversion to Islam; and caught the dangerous Senator Ted Kennedy in its web, the travel bans won’t keep us safe.

Where Trump made his error is he made them public. That is to Trump’s credit when compared with the Bush Administration. How many remember a secret program started by President Bush called the “Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program” (CAARP)?

Since it was a secret program, I don’t expect many to recall it. Like the no-fly list, it was used to blacklist people and keep them from ever immigrating to the USA or to travel here. The same process that kept air travel safe from rockers and US Senators was applied to people who had been born overseas.

The case came to light when Tarek Hamdi, a Muslim who had been living in the USA legally for years tried to become a US Citizen. He was blacklisted for his Muslim faith. Despite his living in the USA as a taxpayer, law-abiding legal resident, he was denied citizenship because he gave an annual tithe to an Islamic Relief Organization that was under suspicion by the government. Mind you, the organization had not been charged with funneling money to terrorists, they were just under suspicion.

Mr. Tarek was just one of thousands of innocent Muslims who was flagged because of their Faith and not anything they had done. It took Mr. Tarek 11 years to complete a process that should have taken 6 months because of the bigotry and climate of conspiracy created by the George W. Bush Administration.

We found it distasteful that President Trump disparaged a Gold Star family during the election. He was particularly harsh toward the Gold Star Mom who joined her husband on calling out Candidate Trump on the GOP bigotry toward Muslims. President Trump was insensitive to the loss of their war-hero son who was killed in action. Here was a Muslim Patriot who gave his life for his country and a man running for President ridiculed the family.

Attacking war heroes started with the Bush Administration

We were appalled when President Trump attacked John McCain’s war record in Vietnam. Who planted the seeds of attacking war heroes? George W. Bush, that is who. Remember swift boats? Senator John Kerry ran against GW Bush in the 2004 election. During the Vietnam War, President Bush was in the Air National Guard and didn’t see any combat.

Senator John Kerry served in the Navy and commanded a swift boat in Vietnam. Swift boat service was extremely dangerous. During his time in Vietnam, the future Senator earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. Senator Kerry is a hero.

Speaking of conspiracy theories, Former President Bush, where was your denunciation of conspiracy theories when the GOP conspiracy mongers started spreading the rumors that Mr. Kerry had won the medals under “fishy circumstances?” The conspiracy mongers served you well in 2004, and now you denounce them?

If President Bush wants to rehabilitate his image then I suggest he gives another speech. In that speech, he needs to look the world in the eye and say, “I was wrong. I fostered this climate of bigotry and conspiracy and it has been a horrible mistake for America and the world.”

I would not only applaud that kind of speech I’d give it a standing ovation.

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