Dubya, he don’t like Donald

Throughout the Obama presidency, George W. Bush stoically refrained from uttering a word of criticism. His respect for the institution of the presidency was so strong that he wouldn’t douse it with the cold water of negativity.

Now either his stoicism has eroded or his respect for the office has diminished, but Dubya has decided to take a swing at the president from his own party.

A cynic might suspect Dubya of waging a personal vendetta, for the Bush clan has a bit of previous with Trump. During the campaign for the Republican nomination, Trump destroyed not just Jeb Bush’s candidature but probably his whole political career.

He took savage and highly effective swipes not just at Jeb, whom he mockingly called Bush III, but at the whole dynasty. The dynasty closed ranks, and now Dubya has lashed out.

He started out by demanding answers to the questions on any contacts that Trump and his men may have had with Russian intelligence officers, which isn’t an unreasonable request. I’ll repeat what I’ve said many times before: any illegal contact of that nature isn’t just an indiscretion but a capital crime.

But, as with any crime, the alleged perpetrator is innocent until proven guilty. So let’s sweep that accusation under the rug for now and see what else has made Dubya break his vow of silence.

We shouldn’t, he said in a thinly veiled reference to Trump’s immigration policy, prosecute people for their religion: “One of our great strengths is for people to be able to worship the way they want to…”

This proves that Dubya has read the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which is remarkable since he isn’t a bookish type. Neither is he a rigorous logician, for one doesn’t see any immediate link between prosecuting people for their faith and limiting for a while immigration from certain countries.

Since these days I’m given to homespun parallels, I’m not prosecuting my neighbours by not inviting them to dinner. Neither am I thereby suggesting even remotely that they shouldn’t eat anywhere else. I’m simply exercising my right to choose my guests.

“I am for an immigration policy that’s welcoming and that upholds the law,” added Bush, displaying yet again his only conspicuous talent: uttering meaningless platitudes.

How welcoming are we talking here? Indiscriminately? But America has never had an unqualified open-door policy, not in my rather long memory at any rate. Nor can America or any other country vet every migrant thoroughly, certainly not those millions coming from uncivilised – sorry, I mean differently civilised – countries. Hence vetting by category is unavoidable.

Anyway, if I were Dubya, I’d shut up about other people’s policies towards Muslims. His first reaction to 9/11 was to say that Islam is a religion of peace because not every Muslim is a terrorist. That’s like saying that Nazism was a philosophy of peace because not every NSDAP member gassed Jews.

His second reaction was to launch a criminally stupid war to promote democracy in tribal Muslim societies, while divesting of WMD those countries that were known not to possess them. It’s largely thanks to that criminal, neocon-inspired folly that the whole world is struggling to deal with the genie let out of the bottle.

But for Dubya’s well-documented inanity, his successors, not to mention Europeans, wouldn’t be trying in vain to keep millions of Muslims (guaranteed to include thousands of jihadists) off their immigration rolls.

“I don’t like racism,” explained Bush, implying that Trump’s meek attempts to reduce the number of potentially murderous arrivals are motivated by that deadly sin. No proof of that transgression was proffered.

How many Muslims would a politician have to admit to absolve himself? One million? Ten? Is racism the only possible reason for the reluctance to do so?

What else? Oh yes, Trump has responded tetchily to the media’s frenzied attacks the likes of which haven’t been seen since Watergate.

Though Trump’s response may have been ill-advisedly peevish, I’m man enough to admit that I probably wouldn’t have displayed greater patience under the circumstances. I’ve been known to tell people much worse things with much less provocation.

In any case, no averagely intelligent person would interpret what Trump said as an assault on freedom of the press. A man attacked has a right to defend himself, and no president has been attacked as vehemently and hysterically as Trump, before he has even had the chance to do anything.

Such considerations didn’t prevent Dubya from regaling us with more meaningless banalities. Freedom of the press, he kindly explained, is a good thing because: “Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive. And it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power…”

Lord Acton once explained the corrupting potential of power more epigrammatically (“…and absolute power corrupts absolutely”), but then he was a clever man, which is more than can be said for some others I could mention.

As to the sly dig at Trump, does Bush think that talking back to the braying press constitutes a greater abuse of power than using false evidence to expose the world to the innate violence of the ‘religion of peace’?

“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” was another Bush profundity. True. But politicians like him are deadly to it.

4 thoughts on “Dubya, he don’t like Donald”

  1. G.W.Bush had so many classic statements…”God told me to strike at al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East.” or try this one, “Iraq and Afghanistan …are now democracies and they are allies in the cause of freedom and peace.”
    But in his more honest moments… “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” And; “I don’t have the foggiest idea about what I think about international, foreign policy.”
    I sort of miss his comedy routine.

  2. How does one know that one has spoken to a Russian/Soviet intelligence officer even if one rings the embassy and asks for such a person? It is said that a former head of MI5 was one and I bet many UK government and opposition fellows would have spoken to him. I would have thought that, aside from the odd ‘cultural attaché’ at the embassy, most of them would be hidden in plain sight as newspaper owners, businessmen, celebrity chefs and the like.

  3. It has been traditional for an ex-President NEVER to criticize a sitting President. It was just not done and perhaps should not be done. But we do live in interesting times, don’t we?

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