Jeb Bush dropped out of the 2016 presidential race not long ago, and you could hear the earth itself heave a sigh of relief. When he announced he was suspending his campaign, head down with a pathetic shrug between his ears, a political dynasty that has looted and ravaged this nation and the world for going on 80 years was snuffed like a guttering candle in a forgotten church. In that darkness is the light, because the planet doesn’t have to worry about the Bush family any more. They’ll lurk, sure, like a purse snatcher skulking in the shadows next to an ATM, but the next time you see a Bush on television will be when they are getting lowered into their grave.
Prescott Bush, the wellspring of the Bush dynasty, sounds like a good man on paper. He served in World War I, was on the ground floor of the formation of Planned Parenthood and was a chairman for the United Negro College Fund. Scratch the brass, however, and you find old blood. According to a variety of reports and investigations, a number of the companies Prescott Bush was involved with, companies where he made his fortune, financed and supported the Nazi regime in Germany. That dirty money served his sons and grandsons well.
George H. W. Bush became the 41st president of the United States in 1988. His path to power was long and winding. While a member of the House of Representatives, he was a big fan of the Vietnam War. Nixon made him UN Ambassador, and Bush repaid him while chairman of the Republican National Committee by absorbing as much flak as he could manage during the Watergate catastrophe. He became Director of the CIA after the Church Committee hearings, and who the hell knows what happened there. He ran for president in 1980 and got his ass handed to him in a small paper sack by an actor from California named Ronald Reagan.
A year later, he was vice president, and that’s when things got funky. See, there were these Contras down in Nicaragua who needed cash to facilitate an anti-communist pogrom that saw priests and nuns slaughtered, so the US sold a bunch of weapons to Iran – a country that had, just a few scant years before, facilitated the murder of almost 300 Marines in Beruit – to pay for the party. The Reagan administration got caught, H.W. Bush denied everything just like his boss, a whole slew of administration officials were indicted or convicted outright, and after Bush beat Dukakis in 1988 to finally reach the top prize, the first pen he touched was used to write a pardon for everyone involved, and he got away scot free. Oh, and he started the Iraq War we’re still dealing with 25 years later. ISIS? May as well call them BUSHIS.
In between all that, George H. W. Bush had sons, and the national roof caved in.
George W. Bush met Dick Cheney and got his hands on daddy’s fundraising list. Thanks to a feckless “news” media and a dumpster fire of a Supreme Court, he squirmed his way into the Oval Office and was able to introduce us all to nifty things like Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, John Ashcroft, Condoleezza Rice, ruinous tax cuts for the rich that obliterated the Clinton surplus, September 11 (when he was keeping us safe), the Patriot Act and the permanent establishment of the security/surveillance state, a war in Afghanistan, a war in Iraq (again), the ravaging through pure neglect of the great city of New Orleans when Katrina hit, the looting of the Treasury, and a financial collapse built on the bones of the balderdash he, his father and his grandfather peddled for three generations. Now he paints selfies of himself in the shower. Oh, he paints puppies, too. One of the greatest mass murderers in modern history sits unconvicted in Texas doing paint-by-the-numbers, and we are all lessened by the simple fact of him.
And then there’s Jeb!. Good lord, what can you say? His policies as governor of Florida were boilerplate Republican stupidity. He ran for president with the mien of a kid who was told to mow the lawn on a Saturday. He didn’t want to be there, didn’t want any part of it, and you could see it clearly from the far side of Neptune. The fact that low men like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz got the better of him during his campaign, not once but with a grinding consistency, tells you all you need to know. I almost pity the man. The last gasp of the Bush dynasty put his head down and shriveled in his rumpled shirt when announcing his departure from the race, and the silence after was deeper than the void between the spheres. I dig your new hairdo, bro. Go to bed.
George H.W. Bush became vice president when I was nine years old, and I spent the next decade in a huddled crouch waiting for the nuclear missiles to fly out of the Reagan White House. The first article I ever wrote for publication was about him and the invasion of Panama. I have been dealing with this family every single day for going on five long decades, as have you, and it has been a wretched and exhausting affair. George W. Bush was the worst president in history; he got friends of mine killed and maimed, the world is on fire because of him, and he did it all to line the pockets of his friends. The fact that he is not in jail speaks freighted volumes about the integrity of the criminal justice system. He is a murderer, a thief and a bald-faced liar. Paint that one for me.
As for Jeb, really, whatever. He is the living embodiment of “meh.” He is the pause before the sneeze, the lost word on the tip of your tongue, the car radio static hiss between stations as you drive past the vast wah of an endless Kansas cornfield. Sure, there are more Bushes down the family line, young scions of this muscular family out there lurking in the tall grass seeking their shot at high office. Eugene O’Neill said, “There is no present or future, only the past happening over and over again – now.” Who knows? The very idea makes me want to drink paint, but the fact remains that they may be back someday. There is, after all, nothing new under the sun.
The engorged national humiliation Jeb just absorbed, however, will hopefully give them pause. The “Bush” brand is a jug of poison from which no one wants to sip. Seek life elsewhere, Bush clan. Finally, thank God and sonny Jesus, your rancid run through the halls of power has been bricked. The Bush family is an empty socket, a spent battery, a failed idea, a flushed toilet. Jeb dropping out of the race with a muffled whimper sealed the deal. We witnessed tall history when that last sad Bush tucked tail and scurried away. He is the period at the end of a long, filthy sentence.
What happens to your fist when you open your hand?