Bush and Trump: The Inevitable Occurs

You had to know it was going to happen:

Former President George W. Bush often jokes that President Trump’s administration makes his own former White House team look “pretty good,” according to a Republican source.

The former Republican president regularly knocks the current administration, a source close to the Trump administration told National Journal, unable to understand why the White House often seems to be in chaos.

“Bush is often heard to remark, unable to stifle his trademark smirk: ‘Sorta makes me look pretty good, doesn’t it?’ ” National Journal reported.

Well, no, but in this world, perception is reality, and the rehabilitation of Bush’s image in the wake of Trump’s tawdriness is a profoundly unfortunate development for American society.

It was fifteen years ago this month that Bush invaded Iraq under false pretenses, a war for oil that took 4,000 American and countless Iraqi lives. Prior to the rise of Trump, history’s jury seemed ready to convict Bush on charges of prevarication for profit and reckless disregard for human lives. Now, it seems that Bush will be acquitted of amorality by those who write the history books.

By all rights, we should regard Bush as virtually indistinguishable from Trump; they were both wholly unqualified, wholly unfit, wholly unprepared. They both slipped into the White House on a fluke. They both shamelessly divided the nation. They both regarded American democracy as a punchline.

They both also appealed to the most gullible of our fellow citizens. The same folks who think Trump’s apparent upcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un will lead to anything productive are the same folks who thought Bush was “keeping us safe.” The same folks who embraced Bush as a symbolic screw-you to “cultural elitists” and the “politically correct” are embracing Trump today. Second verse, same as the first.

Ten years ago, when Barack Obama defeated John McCain, it seemed as thought the country was ready to make a permanent break from the incompetence and intolerance Bush represented, and finally move forward. Looking back, we underestimated just how many Americans liked that incompetence and intolerance, liked having anti-intellectualism in the White House, liked the destruction a Republican President can inflict upon democracy. We underestimated how many Americans scorn their fellow Americans.

The Bush-Trump crowd can’t recognize its own hypocrisy. Just imagine how they would have reacted if evidence emerged that Obama had cheated on his wife with a blonde porn star; they would have stormed upon the White House lawn with more torches in hand than the alt-righters had in Charlottesville last year. However, Trump’s trashiness, like Bush’s BS, fundamentally does not bother them.

Our country survived Bush, and it may well survive Trump. However, our country cannot survive this level of grotesque gullibility. What is with the psychology of those voters who see the likes of Bush and Trump—and Reagan and Nixon before them—as leaders?

Those who voted for Bush and Trump over the course of the past eighteen years have inflicted deliberate and wanton harm upon this country. They gave political weaponry to these two hitmen, aiding and abetting their assault upon our Constitution. They provided aid and comfort to these two menaces, helping them ruin our political (and ecological) climate. They cheered like rabid sports fans as Bush and Trump abused our institutions. They never apologized for supporting Bush, and they will never apologize for supporting Trump.

Fifteen years ago, just prior to the start of the Iraq War, the world rose up in outrage against Bush. The world has once again risen up in outrage against a Republican President who derides decency, who ridicules righteousness, who is the enemy of egalitarian values. Unfortunately, the anti-Bush international uprising wasn’t enough to stop him from indulging his worst instincts in Iraq. The world’s contempt doesn’t seem to be stopping Trump, either. Perhaps the most morbid of questions to consider is the following: could that portion of our electorate unwilling or unable to recognize profound and disqualifying flaws in the character of presidential aspirants one day send to the White House someone even worse than Bush and Trump?

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.