Two Bush presidents were not quite ‘like father, like son’ – National


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George Herbert Walker Bush and George W. Bush had solely a lot in widespread as presidents. They shared one large factor moreover identify, household and occasion, although. They had been each conservatives for his or her time.

Very totally different instances.

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Bush the daddy was a Republican who may carve a average path right here and there and not using a crushing response from the proper — suppose immigration liberalization, for instance. “I’m a conservative,” he as soon as mentioned. “However I’m not a nut about it.”

His was an period of stepping again from the prospect of doomsday, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and a much more restricted risk rising with Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait — quickly reversed. By no means just like the searing crucible of 9/11 that got here early to his son.

The elder Bush died Friday at age 94. A have a look at the daddy and son presidencies by way of the prism of coverage, disaster and household:

At dwelling

“Learn my lips,” the elder Bush notoriously mentioned, promising no new taxes. That turned out to be mere lip service to the proper when he broke that pledge and paid a political value.

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Bush the daddy — the previous ambassador, vp and patrician Republican — could have been largely in line with the tempered conservatism of his period in different respects, however that tax improve was a stretch even then. A putting compromise with Democrats, it’s an method out of step with at the moment’s GOP, the place holding laborious and tight to conservative ideology has been valued above all else.

He additionally signed the People with Disabilities Act, an enlargement of civil rights and the federal government’s energy within the personal and public office. In doing so, he sided with liberal Democrats in addition to centrist Republicans, resisted stiff stress from enterprise and declared: “Let the shameful wall of exclusion lastly come tumbling down.”

Bush the son had his personal method, extra to the proper than his father if extra to the middle than the place the Republican mainstream went afterward — with all these tea events and with so a lot of these old-time GOP centrists gone from Congress.

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On the home entrance, the son’s was a time of sweeping tax cuts and only a style, actually, of what he meant by compassionate conservatism.

The nation noticed a giant federal effort to enhance schooling — the No Little one Left Behind regulation that rose with bipartisan assist and fell out of favour with each events in later years. He pushed and gained a prescription-drug enlargement of Medicare. Nevertheless it was the package deal of Bush tax cuts, deep and throughout the board, that outlined his agenda at dwelling and formed the route of presidency effectively past his two phrases in workplace.


Nobody will ever know what the total measure of the youthful Bush’s presidency would have been absent the terrorist assaults of 2001, as a result of they overshadowed every little thing.

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However it will not have been simply one other Bush in cost.

Steeped in Washington’s establishments and formed by his personal new-world-order pondering, the daddy put collectively a Gulf Warfare with worldwide assist, a plain-as-day provocation and distinct goals.

All to the purpose the place he flabbergasted hawks by letting Iraq and its shattered military, as soon as pushed from Kuwait, go on with Saddam Hussein in management.

Distinction that with the son’s Iraq invasion — a conflict of alternative, framed by a world view of excellent versus evil with nothing in between. And, this time, all the best way to Baghdad.

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The daddy’s Gulf Warfare lasted six weeks, after four-plus months of diplomacy and preparation. The son’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq outlasted his presidency and have become President Barack Obama’s to handle. President Donald Trump nonetheless has 1000’s of troops in each international locations.


“Throughout my presidency, Dad and I didn’t discuss a lot about coverage,” George W. Bush writes in “41: A Portrait of My Father,” in regards to the 41st president.

He appreciated to joke that when he entered presidential politics, he bought half his father’s mates and all of his enemies. Essentially the most influential buddy by far was Dick Cheney, the elder Bush’s protection secretary who turned the youthful Bush’s vp and a primary pressure in driving authorities to the proper.

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The 43rd president mentioned he consulted along with his dad about his workforce of advisers, getting his father’s hearty approval to make Cheney his working mate and Colin Powell his secretary of state. However discuss enterprise didn’t go a lot farther than that, as he tells it.

As an alternative, the daddy would go on corny jokes from afar to White Home aides to go on to his son, who says he by no means used electronic mail.

After the devastating 2004 tsunami, Bush requested his father and the Democrat who defeated him in 1992, Invoice Clinton, to steer a non-public fund-raising mission to the stricken area. Thus started an unlikely friendship between the 2 previous rivals, and a partnership that continued when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

These intersections had been far rarer than true household time, and the youthful Bush has loads of tales about that.

One involved the elder Bush’s failing well being, in 2012, when he was within the hospital for pneumonia along with his household round him and granddaughter Jenna, pregnant, rubbed his head. He rubbed her swollen stomach. “There’s loss of life,” mentioned the 41st president, “and there’s new life.”

“All of us left the room sobbing,” mentioned the 43rd.

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