A George Bush with Texas Governor Bill Clements, 1980 connection. Even many years later, only by his body language did he acknowledge that he and the venal Panamanian ever breathed the same air.” Considering the effectiveness of the Reagan-Bush administration’s lies about the Iran-Contra scandal, Parmet does a fairly decent job of sketching Bush’s role in it. Bush claimed to have been “out of the loop” while that illegal arms-for-hostages deal with Iran was arranged, but it was plain that he had watched its development, “step by step,” as the Washington Post put it. If Bush had an impressive side to his political character, it was his loyalty. Unfortunately, it was the loyalty of a party hack. He was loyal to Nixon in disgrace, loyal to Reagan even after it became perfectly clear that Reagan was probably the most intellectually corrupt president in our history, and he was whiningly loyal to John Sununu, his oafishly tyrannical chief of staff, though Bush finally had to fire him for spending too much government money els. And Bush’s loyalty to the right wing, which urged the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, gave us probably the most fanatically reactionary justice of this generation. Well, maybe Antonin Scalia is more reactionary. In his subtitle, Parmet calls Bush “a Lone BUSH CLAIMED TO HAVE BEEN “OUT OF THE LOOP” WHILE THAT ILLEGAL ARMS-FORHOSTAGES DEAL WITH IRAN WAS ARRANGED, BUT IT WAS PLAIN THAT HE HAD WATCHED ITS DEVELOPMENT, “STEP BY STEP.” Star Yankee.” The best definition of that comes on page 218, where Parmet recounts one of Bush’s meetings with the political adviser Dave Keene, as they were discussing John Connally, whom Bush hated. “You know,” Keene told Bush, “the problem with you is that you’re pissed because John got the tennis court and you want it.” Bush looked at the political consultant Alan Pogue and said, “You really don’t understand me, do you?” “What do you mean by that?” “None of the clubs that I belong to would accept John Connally,” said [Bush]. Keene had a working-class background. Bush’s response confirmed Keene’s notions about the Easterners, the Yalies, the country-club set that helped create the modern Republican Party in Texas to frustrate the likes of Connally, whom they considered “tacky,” and of whom they were “also scared to death because he was bigger then they were.” If you read this book, you’ll wonder: Will George Bush be remembered at all, fifty years from now? Or by then will he have been sucked into the black hole where history has sent such of his predecessors as Chester Alan Arthur? Robert Sherrill is a former Observer editor and a regular contributor to The Nation. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9 JULY 31, 1998
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