The fading Republican establishment remains unable to reconcile its ongoing collapse, and continues to scapegoat Donald Trump for all the GOP’s troubles instead of looking in the mirror.
Two weeks after an outraged George W. Bush lashed out at Trump, accusing him of emboldening “bigotry and white supremacy“, on Saturday we learn just how deep the animosity toward Trump runs within the extended Bush household. In a new book to be released this month from historian Mark Updegrove, titled “The Last Republicans“, and previewed on Saturday by the NYT and CNN, former President George H.W. Bush said he considers Trump a “blowhard,” only interested in feeding his own “ego.” Meanwhile, his son, former President George W. Bush, thinks Trump fans public anger and came to office without any understanding of the job.
When asked about Donald Trump in May 2016, GHW Bush said: “I don’t like him … I don’t know much about him, but I know he’s a blowhard. And I’m not too excited about him being a leader.”
His son was just as vocal: “Wow, this guy doesn’t know what it means to be president,” the junior Bush said, indicating that a president should not “exploit the anger, incite it” but rather “come up with ideas to deal with it.”
Which, of course, is easy for the Bushes to say: after all they – together with the Clinton and Obama administrations – spent over two decades laying the groundwork and building up the “anger” which resulted from the greatest social and political polarization and wealth inequality the US has ever seen. Perhaps the reality – as the election one year ago showed – is that the status quo simply no longer works.
In any case, both former presidents worry that Mr. Trump has blown up a Republican Party that they spent two lifetimes building; Dubya also told Updegrove: “I’m worried that I will be the last Republican president.”
Ironically, author Updegrove told the NYT that “at the time, I think he was concerned that Hillary Clinton would win … But if you look at his values and those shared by his father and Ronald Reagan, they are very much in contrast to the values of the Republican Party today, in particular the platform that Donald Trump ran on.”
So what happened? Well, as CNN adds, “George H.W. Bush confirmed that he voted for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.” His son meanwhile voted for nobody:
“George W. Bush told Updegrove he left the top of the ballot blank. ‘I voted “None of the Above” for president, and Republican down ballot in 2016.'”
In retrospect, Dubya may be correct: as Axios’ Mike Allen writes, George W. Bush is probably right that he was “the last Republican president,” as his family sees the party.
The “Republican Party” is now multiple ideological parties, awkwardly — and probably not sustainably — scrunched under one inadequate label.
Which, considering the previous “label” no longer meant anything to most Americans – except such figures as the Bushes, of course- is probably not a bad thing.