Monday, 10 Dec 2018

George H.W. Bush was the accidental catalyst that built the new Republican Party

The statement on behalf of George H.W, then President of the Republic, Bush was posted quietly in the White House press room on the morning of June 26, 1990, but its content was nothing short of trivial. It was a political thunderbolt, the beginning of the Republican Party's overhaul and an unintentional legacy of Bush's presidency.

It was a statement intended to relaunch the failed budget negotiations for months. That's what she did and more, providing the catalyst that turned the Republican Party into a brand of aggressive and rigorous conservatism that would have a dominant influence for two decades.

The statement was a waiver of one of the most famous campaign promises of modern American politics: Bush's statement "no new tax", which he made by accepting the Republican nomination in 1988. This promise was a salute to the Conservatives, who have always regarded with suspicion, if not pure hostility. When he came back on the promise, they took revenge.

Bush, who died on Friday at age 94, will be remembered. His long and exemplary service to the country, the firmness that has characterized his governance and the humility and decency he has brought to his political relations are central elements of his legacy.

He was not above rough politics. His campaign of 1988 will be remembered as a campaign in which he pushed the limits of tactics and purpose – the oath of allegiance and prison sentences – that put his opponent, Michael Dukakis , on the defensive and let the Democrats scream. In office, he was still in the shadow of former President Ronald Reagan, who had chosen him in 1980 as vice president. Rhetorically, he was not Gipper.

As President, Bush has proven that experience is important, that knowledge of the world is an asset, that rigor and method can be more effective than big and bold, that responsibility for The country had precedence over loyalty to the party, even though it was sometimes very expensive. this compromise is not a big word.

His presidency was exercised at a time of global upheaval. If the Reagan presidency precipitated the end of the cold war, it was up to Bush to manage the decline and fall of the Soviet empire and to do so safely and without bloodshed. He succeeded with skill and strategy, with the help of Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a long-time friend and trusted national security advisor, Brent Scowcroft.

When Saddam Hussein invaded tiny Kuwait in the summer of 1990, Bush said, "This aggression against Kuwait will not last."

Bush was determined to face the Iraqi threat just as he had pursued for the reunification of Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall, against the advice of some allies. Again, with Baker and Scowcroft at his side, he quickly began deploying a massive American force into the Persian Gulf, while assembling an international coalition to strengthen United Nations support for the expulsion of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. and to help cover the costs of the operation. military conflict that came early next year.

After the end of the war, when US forces were ordered to stop in Baghdad, Bush's approval rate climbed nearly 90 percent, sparking the former democrats who thought he would challenge him. Twenty-one months later, he was removed from office by the voters. A transition within the Republican Party already in progress has accelerated.

Two years after that, the House was in the hands of the Republicans for the first time in 40 years, and the dominant figure of the party was the Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, who was the antithesis of the ousted president in many ways . The party began to move from a smaller government philosophy to an anti-government philosophy, especially anti-Washington.

The statement posted on the bulletin board in the White House press room this morning in June 1990 showed that Bush was a president willing to compromise with the Democrats, even if it meant breaking a campaign promise. in the best interests of the country and to take personal responsibility for its actions.

In his statement, Bush said, "It is clear to me" that a series of items should be included in any budget agreement, including "increased tax revenue". The words "mine" were added to the project at the insistence of the Democrats, who did not want Bush to deviate from the compromise. The fact that he accepted was proof of his belief that this was the only way to reach an agreement, which had proved to be the case.

But the agreement also allowed Gingrich, a simple MP, to rebuild the party. The day Bush and the other leaders met at the White House to announce that they had an agreement, Gingrich hesitated. "I think you can destroy your presidency," he told Bush. He then left the president and other leaders at the White House and returned to the Capitol to assemble the opposition forces. It was the beginning of a new Republican party.

Bush and Gingrich's conflict of interest continued throughout Bush's presidency. Gingrich's wing considered that the conflict with the Democrats was essential to create clear differences between the parties; Bush believed that cooperation with congressional Democrats on behalf of an effective government was essential for the country and that he hoped to be re-elected to the presidency. With that, he is mistaken.

A recession that he seemed unable to manage, a clever opponent in the government of the time. Bill Clinton and the entrance of independent candidate Ross Perot combined to end the Bush presidency after a single term. While other Republicans lamented the fall of a president whom they greatly admired, those at the forefront of the creation of the new Republican Party were relieved that Bush had been defeated.

Tom DeLay, who would become the majority whip in the House, then shared his feelings about the night that Bush lost in 1992. "Oh, man, yes, it was fabulous," said DeLay in a 1995 interview. DeLay then admitted that he feared that, if Bush were re-elected, it would mean "four more years of misery" for the Conservatives of House GOP. He acknowledged the mixed feelings of seeing the White House fall into the hands of the Democrats, but added, "If we still had four years of that, [Bush]we will never take Congress in charge. "

Bush's eldest son, George W. Bush, sought to give back to the GOP some of his father's sensitivity when he ran for president in 2000 and won the White House as a "compassionate conservative." But he could neither redo nor reform the party. Although he was more conservative than his father, he nevertheless drew the wrath of those who were right on issues such as immigration and spending.

The end of George W. Bush's presidency further accelerated the changes within the Republican coalition, including the rise of a Tea Party movement that brought an even more inflexible form of anti-government conservatism. Today, President Trump redefines the party in his image, moving it further and further from the GOP on which George H. W. Bush presided. Bush's role as an instrument in these changes will be remembered as a central element in the political repercussions of his presidency.


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