Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish GHWB any ill, like all decent Americans, I wish him a speedy and thorough recovery and many happy years left on Earth. However, the symbolism of Bush 41 being possibly on his death bed as Trump takes office is so strong I’m surprised Peggy Noonan hasn’t written four columns about it.
The Bush Brand of Republicanism has dominated the GOP ever since 1989, when Bush 41 took office and almost immediately began repudiating everything Ronald Reagan had accomplished. “Bushism” could be characterized as using ‘conservative’ as a brand for electioneering, and occasionally paying lip-service to social conservatism and fiscal responsibility. In practice, it meant continuing to expand the Federal Government, deficit spending, and expensive-but-indecisive foreign wars. The Bush Style of Republican politics was a tacit acceptance that liberal Democrats and the media were the natural owners and operators of Washington DC, and Republicans should consider themselves temporary, unwelcome guests and defer to their hosts as much as possible.
Bush 41 gave us the largest tax increase in history up to that point, foreign interventions in Panama and Kuwait, the Americans with Disabilities Act (well-intended, but a massive regulatory burden) and David Souter on the Supreme Court.
Bush 43 gave up a minor, temporary tax cut (that left tax rates higher than his father had raised them), monstrously expensive but ultimately indecisive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a massive influx of illegal immigrants, massive increases in domestic spending, No Child Left Behind, McCain-Feingold, Sarbanes-Oxley, the TSA, the Incandescent Lightbulb ban, a doubling of the National Debt, the Prescription Drug Entitlement, and John Roberts on the Supreme Court.
In the Obama years, Bushism has meant that Republican majorities in the House and Senate verbally attack the progressive policies of the Obama administration, occasionally pass meaningless symbolic votes against them…. but at the end of the day fully fund every initiative even ones like ‘Exectuve Amnesty’ that they claim to oppose.
We don’t know that President Trump will bring, but he has already made it clear, he’s not going to just play nice with the Democrat Media Complex that seeks only to destroy him. He has appointed General James Mattis as Secretary of Defense and put Jeff Sessions in as Attorney General. He has nominated an advocate for school-choice as Secretary of Education, and a skeptic of Global Warming Hysteria as head of the EPA. He is rumored to be considering repealing as many as 100 of Obama’s Executive Orders upon taking office, and ordering his agency heads to pursue 20% budget cuts. And he really does intend to get serious about stopping illegal immigration.
It is impossible to imagine Jeb Bush doing any of this.