So, after eight-plus years of silence by a former Republican president, and eight-plus months of silence by the former Democrat president, what prompted both to come out after President Trump, on the same day?

George W. Bush’s Speech on Trumpism

By —— Bio and Archives--October 23, 2017

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Bush, Obama, Trump

After eight years of political silence, what prompted former President George W. Bush’s speech on 29 October 2017, at the “Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World” event in New York, described, in the words of CNN, as “a major smackdown on Trumpism?”

“Smackdown” is a gross exaggeration. It was less than that. And it was more than that.


Bush’s speech wasn’t about the “The Spirit of Liberty.” It was about his perception of the absence of that Spirit today among western democracies.

He focused on the loss of “confidence” – not just in America, but throughout Europe, saying: 

“These matters [of various international threats] are further complicated by a trend in western countries away from global engagement and democratic confidence.”

“The great democracies face new and serious threats – yet seem to be losing confidence in their own calling and competence.”

“In recent decades, public confidence in our [America’s] institutions has declined.”

“We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade – forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.”

“Ten years ago, I attended a Conference on Democracy and Security in Prague… Little did we know that, a decade later, a crisis of confidence would be developing within the core democracies, making the message of freedom more inhibited and wavering.”

CNN leapt to the conclusion that Bush was blaming Trump

Near the end of his speech, Bush emphasized his main theme:

“Right now, one of our worst national problems is a deficit of confidence.”

So who, and what, are to blame for this “fading, declining, losing, crisis, and deficit, of democratic confidence?”  (Shall we blame the Russians?)

CNN leapt to the conclusion that Bush was blaming Trump. And while Bush did hint at some blame there, the evidence is scant and brief. It comes nowhere near documenting a “smackdown.”  But emphasizing strife and conflict is what sells “news” these days. Particularly at CNN.

Had Bush said during the Obama regime, “Our governing class has often been paralyzed in the face of obvious and pressing needs,” he would have been accused of blaming Obama for problems created by his, Bush’s, administration.  But throughout the Obama years, Bush was mute.  And now we hear from him?

So whose “governing class” has been paralyzed? Trump’s been President for less than a year, and “paralyzed” can’t be attributed to his administration.  He’s still trying to put one together, with little support from the Legislative Branch – an active paralyzing agent today – and big resistance from the real Fourth Estate – the D.C. entrenched bureaucracy.


If the “democratic spirit itself” is sick, it’s not because Trump is President

Perhaps Bush’s most overt criticism of Trump comes here: “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism – forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.” It’s fair to say that the immigration policy from 2001-2016 was generally one of open borders.  Trump intends to reverse that policy.

If, as Bush stated, “The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue,” that decline didn’t just begin last January 20th when Trump was inaugurated.  The patient was on the road to ill-health from 2001-2016, enabled by the two successive Executive Branches that ate away at monetary stability, drank federal deficits to excess, and engaged in permanent war.

If the “democratic spirit itself” is sick, it’s not because Trump is President.

Bush’s four steps to fix the confidence issue are: “First, America must harden its own defenses;” “…second…maintaining America’s role in sustaining and defending an international order rooted in freedom and free markets;” “…third…strengthening democratic citizenship;” “Finally, the Call to Action calls on the major institutions of our democracy, public and private, to consciously and urgently attend to the problem of declining trust.” 

And what are these “major institutions” that need to “step up and provide cultural and moral leadership for this nation?” Bush lists three:

“[O]ur democracy needs a media that is transparent, accurate and fair. Our democracy needs religious institutions that demonstrate integrity and champion civil discourse. Our democracy needs institutions of higher learning that are examples of truth and free expression.”


Amidst the flourishes that accompany the platitudinous bromides of boilerplate politico-speech

We do that, and – bingo – confidence is restored. 

What’s conspicuous by its absence, amidst the flourishes that accompany the platitudinous bromides of boilerplate politico-speech, is what was largely missing, mis-directed, or abused throughout the Bush and Obama administrations. 

Effective, constructive, governmental leadership.  The fish dies from the head.

That’s why Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States today.  And neither major political party can get over that. 

He is the President because they failed.

On the same day that Bush delivered his speech, former President Barack Obama, in his first public speech since leaving office, said,

“What we can’t have is the same old politics of division that we have seen so many times before that dates back centuries. Some of the things we see now, we thought we put that to bed. That’s folks looking 50 years back. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century.”

So, after eight-plus years of silence by a former Republican president, and eight-plus months of silence by the former Democrat president, what prompted both to come out after President Trump, on the same day?

It wouldn’t be because they both think his agenda is failing.

It might be because they both think it’s succeeding – and neither wants that to happen.


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Lee Cary -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Since November 2007, Lee Cary has written hundreds of articles for several websites including the American Thinker, and Breitbart’s Big Journalism and Big Government (as “Archy Cary”).  His work has been quoted on national television (Sean Hannity) and on nationally syndicated radio (Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin).  He is quoted in Jerome Corsi’s book “The Obama Nation,” in Mark Levin’s “Liberty and Tyranny.”  His pieces have posted on the Drudge Report and on the website Real Clear Politics.  Cary holds a B.S. in Economics from Northern Illinois University, and a Masters and a Doctorate in Theology from the Methodist seminary at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.  He served in Vietnam with the U.S. Army in Military Intelligence. Cary lives in Texas.

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