Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 9/23/16
Seldom am I disappointed by politicians. After 40-plus years of voting, my eyes are wide open. Like millions of people living in democratic societies, I am, with respect to political office seekers, appropriately cynical.
Yet I was gobsmacked this week by a man I have long admired.
Former president George H.W. Bush has himself now confirmed that he intends to vote for Hillary Clinton.
As my high school daughter and her friends constantly text to one another, OMG!
For his part, George W. Bush is ducking questions as to his intentions. That, of course, tells you everything.
I have long admired the Bush family. Bush the elder and Bush the younger are, in my estimation, two of the most fundamentally decent men ever to be president.
Neither was perfect. Neither achieved greatness while in office. (To be fair, in the weeks following the attacks of 9/11, George W. Bush was solidly on the greatness path.)
But they are both good men. While in office and in the years following, the Bushes 41 and 43 have been unfailingly honorable.
I speak from some personal knowledge of George W. Bush. He and I are members of the same Methodist church and we were on a first name basis before he ever ran for Texas governor. I like him.
And I completely understand why the Bushes don’t like Donald Trump.
Yet I am appalled by their stance on this election. As Alabama senator Jeff Sessions said in an interview this week, the Bushes are forgetting who supported them through four campaigns for president and five campaigns for governor.
Papa Bush’s declaration in favor of Hillary is sure to be used against Donald Trump. It thus is a thumb in the collective eye of millions of Republican voters hoping for a Trump victory – voters who, in years past, hoped with equal fervor for Bush victories.
And what about the pledge Jeb signed saying that he would support the Republican nominee, whomever that turned out to be?
Whether they mean to or not, the Bushes are validating the idea of an elite ‘establishment.’ They are acting like a dynastic political family more intent on remaining in good standing within their coterie rather than respecting those that support them.
The Bushes have never uttered a negative word in public about Barack Obama. That makes it harder still to understand such a sharp public rebuke of Donald Trump.
Moreover, it’s a violation of the William F. Buckley rule which says that you support the most conservative candidate who can win. For whatever flaws one might find in Donald Trump, he is certainly more conservative than Hillary Clinton.
The Bushes have the same right to vote as they see fit that you and I have. And Trump will either win or lose no matter what they say or how they vote.
Which is why I am so disappointed that Papa Bush tarnished my opinion of him so badly by not, at the very least, keeping his ballot box intentions to himself.