BY WILLIAM C. HENRY The surprise appearance of George W. Bush at Tuesday’s debate, albeit in the form of a question from an undecided voter — as in ‘please tell us Governor Romney how you will NOT be just like George W. Bush’ — reminded me that I almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost. I suppose I could be accused of heresy for feeling the way I do about George Bush’s ostracism from all of impolite Republican society lately. Maybe it’s more a feeling of genuine puzzlement than anything else. I mean, it seems like the guy just can’t catch a break. He doesn’t get an invite to speak at — or even attend — his party’s convention? Huh? The recent two-term illegitimate (okay, maybe it was just one) President gets a stiff middle digit from this year’s great white hope? Really? Republicans one and all refuse to even mention his name? What the hell’s going on? Just kidding. I really do get it. You see, when the party’s 2012 rendition knows full well that he represents nothing more than George Dubya deja vu, the very last thing he wants to do is remind you of it. You know, like increased tax breaks for the wealthy; ‘bomb, bomb, bomb Iran‘ (only the name has changed) — and maybe Russia too; a thorough ethnic cleansing of those dastardly Latino hordes; further deregulation of the poor little “put upon” financial industry; and, oh yeah, a few more trip wires along the disfranchisement path of the poor, the disabled, the aged, and any other non-WASP “freeloading” minority (ethnic or otherwise) likely to vote their own self-preservation interests.
Please don’t get me wrong, folks. I’m not mourning the unperson-ing of Dubya. I really don’t like the now silent and forever linguistically challenged, eternally hubristic, perpetually incompetent, pathologically lying, murderously sociopathic little cockalorum. Never did. Never will. Notice, however, that at least I didn’t attach the terms “bigoted” and “racist.” Until now, that is. In fact, recognition of the necessity of including these terms in any accurate characterization of the den dwelling little troglodyte constitutes the express purpose of this diatribe. Well, that one and perhaps just a few more. The others being, a) to resurrect and perpetuate for all eternity the odious legacy of this all-star widow and orphan maker, and, b) to eliminate any and all doubt as to whether Dubya ever possessed so much as a modicum of political courage, or even a smidgen of good old fashioned common decency. As you are about to see, he still doesn’t.
I’ll cut to the chase. Back in March of 2011 a silver-spooned sleazebag and erstwhile apprentice politician named Donald Trump decided to revive the birther movement, crown himself its king, and take the movement mainstream. It was a despicable act that not only publicly exposed the real Donald, it was an exploit destined to expose the real Dubya as well. Obviously a little explanation is in order. First and foremost is the fact that had Obama been “white” the entire “birther” matter would never have raised its despicable head. No major politician or pundit (drug addled or otherwise), Republican or not, would ever have had the temerity to question a sitting President’s “native born” bona fides unless, of course, that President just happened to be “black.” It’s just that simple. Most importantly — and directly to the point of this commentary — the entire sordid affair could have been stopped dead in its tracks if Mr. Bush, speaking with the stature and dignity of a former President and leader of his party, had had the courage and common decency to come forward and state publicly and forcefully that such talk had to stop; that it wasn’t becoming of a member of the Republican party or any American for that matter who valued the memory of so many thousands of Americans both black and white who had fought so tirelessly to extirpate racism and bigotry from the political and social fabric of the nation. Instead Dubya said and did nothing. Nothing whatsoever.
Why George Bush and not just any recognizable Republican of reasonable stature? Because it wouldn’t have had the same impact.. The situation called for an authoritative pronouncement from a perceived-as-fair “above-the-fray” personage. If Bush had spoken out loudly and emphatically, the perpetrators would have realized that if they persisted, the potential damage to the Republican party would simply be a risk to big to take. And God knows, the perps were various and sundry, ranging from the slimy (Trump, Gingrich, Huckabee and Arpaio) to the inexcusably stupid (Palin and Bachmann) to the openly bigoted (Shelby, Vitter and Allen). But, of course, it’s all water over the dam. To this day Dubya has said nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch. He’s never uttered so much as a single syllable on the subject. What a stand-up guy.
Robert F. Kennedy said, “Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.” You had an opportunity for a wee bit of redemption, to exhibit at least a speck of courage and common decency, George, but you resorted to form. So, stick to your burrow, Mr. Bush. Maybe take a tiny bit of solace in the fact that Mitt is carrying on the tradition handsomely. Hole up content in the knowledge you’ll not be forgotten. The nation will be nursing the wounds to its soldiers and the national psyche for generations to come. As you Texans are prone to describe it, you rode America hard and put her away wet — from all the tears, that is.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.