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Assault on America, Day 496: George W. Bush shouldn’t be lecturing Trump on human behavior

Message from George W Bush
Republicans need to treat political enemies and the media like humans encountering bears


“If it's black, fight back. If it's brown, lay down… and if it’s white, goodnight.”

Fans of the outdoors will recognize this keen little saying devised by animal behavior experts to assist with spur-of-the-moment bear encounters. It doesn’t take a genius -- or an experienced guide -- to realize there won’t be much time to figure out what to do if you’re in the wild and run across a mother bear and her cubs or startle a wild creature plodding along on a hiking trail. Bears react on instinct -- and human visitors just quake in their boots. But a second or two can mean the difference between life and death for the bipedal territorial invaders.

The same wisdom could easily be applied to some Republicans, especially those who have difficulty recognizing an enemy when they see one. Too many GOPers of the establishment variety figure every media interviewer or political opponent will adhere to a sense of comity and fairness. But like with the different colored bears, not everyone is the same and lots of times it’s too late to react before you determine which type of antagonist you’re up against.

Former president George W. Bush is/was a classic example of a clueless Republican whose elitist upbringing and pampered background robbed him of the necessary brawling spirit and willingness to fight back with everything he had . Bush made headlines recently by calling for bipartisan cooperation on meeting the challenges posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus. The gentle-to-a-fault former chief executive apparently didn’t learn -- or simply forgot -- how to treat potentially dangerous opponents.

Bush’s enemies charged at every opportunity and no amount of accommodation or “playing dead” would get them to leave him alone. He left Washington as one of the most unpopular presidents in history. Has he forgotten?

Emily Larsen wrote at The Washington Examiner last week, “Critics of President Trump got caught in an awkward position as they expressed nostalgia for George W. Bush's presidency and leadership style before being scolded by liberals. Praise for the 43rd president followed a professionally produced video for the ‘Call to Unite’ project in which he talked about the coronavirus crisis...

“The praise represents a nationwide change of popular opinion about Bush since Trump became a major force in Republican politics. A January 2018 CNN poll found that 61% of the public had a favorable view of Bush, nearly double the 33% who had a favorable opinion of him when he left office in January 2009. Feel-good nostalgia for Bush, however, was quickly shut down...”

That was a no-brainer. Larsen detailed the “praise” expressed for Bush by a couple notable liberals who were then quickly slapped down and forced to backtrack and explain what they meant by saying nice things about the man who left office well over eleven years ago. It didn’t matter a lick that Bush was basically saying what is deemed permissible by the politically correct smart set -- but to the small-minded, if you’re once guilty of some perceived transgression to the liberal code, it makes you culpable for life.

For his part, it’s not surprising Bush’s favorability rating has risen slowly over the years. As was amply demonstrated numerous times during the past quarter century, Americans don’t have the longest of political memories and the more time goes by between a president’s tenure and the current date, the more people tend to look back with warm and fuzzy feelings towards him regardless of what he did -- or didn’t do -- in office. Heck, even the buck-toothed, straw-haired peanut munching Jimmy Carter has his own following these days. Whenever the 90-something year-old ex-pres says something anti-Trump, the media jumps all over it.

Bill Clinton’s favorability remains strong with certain sectors because his backers associate him with good economic times rather than his conspicuous nose-thumbing to the portion of the American public that expects presidents to be more preoccupied with their duties of the office than fulfilling a part-time skirt chasing philanderer role. And Barack Obama similarly retains his popularity despite not having accomplished anything that persists from his eight years (Obamacare’s being dismantled and the Iran Deal is history).

Bush’s 61 percent polling number likely represents conservatives and Republicans who forgave him his betrayal of the limited government cause plus some independents or apathetic people who can’t recall exactly what it was that was so awful about the second Bush president in the first place. Therefore, when he made a video calling on everybody to be nice to each other, folks responded to it positively.

But like with combatting bears, not all of Bush’s opponents are of the same variety.

Bears -- or at least some of them -- are genetically predisposed with an aggressive nature that kicks in when threats are detected. But not all bears are created equal. Brown bears (think grizzlies) relish a fight, so it’s best just to play dead. Black bears, on the other hand, may seem imposing but shy away from confrontation when the situation calls for it. White bears (yes, polar bears) are said to be among the nastiest and orneriest critters on earth. There ain’t no reasoning that’ll deter them. You’d better bring a large and very powerful firearm with you -- and have good aim. Or use bear spray.

Some Democrats are at least open to looking back on George W. kindly primarily because the last Republican president has never hidden his contempt for the current GOP White House occupant. Once he left the national capital Bush largely disappeared from the American radar screen, but the bitterness and animosity from serving as the media’s whipping boy and passive punching bag is still in evidence. Donald Trump the candidate all-but destroyed brother Jeb’s campaign four years ago by closely associating him with his older sibling’s neoconservative policies.

It was enough to eliminate any chance there would be a third Bush administration (of course there’s no way America would’ve elected Jeb, even against Crooked Hillary). As mother Barbara once observed, “We’ve had enough Bushes.” Trump agreed, and in his characteristic style, went after Jeb with pointed rhetorical barbs that ripped flesh and opened gaping wounds in the ruling elites’ favored next-in-line. Father George H.W. Bush strongly hinted that he would vote for Hillary Clinton. Jeb never did endorse Trump and pops up every now and then to snipe at something the president does. Similarly, George W. barely hides his disdain for the new direction of the GOP.

No worries. The feelings are definitely mutual. Larsen additionally reported, “Trump also scoffed at his fellow Republican president's video. ‘He was nowhere to be found in speaking up against the greatest Hoax in American history!’ the president tweeted Sunday. He continued his criticism of Bush in an interview on Monday that echoed some liberals, calling the invasion of Iraq ‘the worst decision made in the history of our country.’”

Was Trump simply being mean? Many observers, myself included, have argued Trump never does or says anything without knowing how to spin it. Trump’s critics chide him for being hot-tempered, sensitive and reactionary, but this is far too basic an explanation. In this example, Trump understood that he couldn’t let Bush’s slight go unnoticed and commented upon. George W. shouldn’t be talking about “unity” and “bipartisanship” when he wasn’t willing to support the right side during impeachment.

He and other #NeverTrumpers either kept silent or joined with the Trump haters to try and derail Trump’s successful political career. We can add Mitt Romney’s name to the list, the only Republican in either chamber who joined with the opposition in February to say Trump was guilty and deserved removal from office.

George W. Bush could’ve defeated his attackers, but didn’t adhere to the simple rules

George W. Bush shouldn’t be providing lectures on presidential norms and behaviors when he wasn’t capable of handling his own public relations during his presidency. Unlike with Trump, perhaps if he’d had a little more “fight” during his eight years, some of his enemies might’ve backed off (like black bears). Or if he’d stood his ground and pretended to play dead when they assaulted him (like with brown bears) they would’ve grown disinterested and left him alone.

One other thing -- Larsen’s article was unintentionally funny in one sense. Most of the liberals who went out of their way to long for the good ‘ol days of George W. Bush inevitably watered down their flattery once the leftist social media gestapo got wind of them actually saying something positive about a Republican.

Democrats and so-called “conservative” #NeverTrumpers share at least one thing in common: both groups associate Bush 43 with the Iraq War. Liberals hated the conflict because of their anti-American nature and natural, knee-jerk opposition to everything Bush advocated for (like they do with Trump today). Those Republicans who think America should act as policeman to the world and try to solve every regional problem at the point of a gun loved Bush because of his pro-intervention orientation. When Trump said he was against the Bush-ian wars, there was no way to reconcile with him for these dreamers.

Trump has stayed away from regime change and nation-building. The longer he’s in office and reverses the GOP’s militaristic trends, the more disgraced is the old viewpoint. And George W. Bush will be exposed for the failure he was/is.

Just like they did when he was president, Democrats and liberals see George W. Bush as a convenient stooge when he criticizes President Trump or conservatives in Congress. When he stops being useful, they’ll toss him (again) on the trash heap. Do some folks never learn?

Trump offends liberals and #NeverTrumpers because he’s effective

George W. Bush was hardly liked by everyone in America, but even his enemies would probably concede he was a good, decent man. Not so where Donald Trump is concerned. His antagonists have caricatured Trump as a loud, blunt, intentionally offensive lout. But is he?

Madison Dibble reported at The Washington Examiner, “[Rep. Peter] King, a retiring Republican, hasn't had the closest relationship with Trump and has often distanced himself from the president. While the two don't always agree, King told the New Yorker … that he doesn't believe Trump is trying to offend people despite his tendency toward controversial remarks.

“’I didn’t see any malice in it, any of that,’ King said after being asked about Trump's controversial spat with ‘the squad,’ when he told Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley to ‘go back’ to other countries to solve their problems. He later added, ‘I mean, I’ve never seen malice in him.’

“’I don’t see it,’ the lawmaker continued. ‘Now, again, others may, but he seems sometimes genuinely surprised when people take offense to everything. To him, you have an argument, you’re back-and-forthing. You’re solid the next day.’”

After observing Trump practically every day since he announced his political candidacy five years ago, King’s impression largely rings true, with a token few exceptions. Trump genuinely appeared to dislike rival Ted Cruz towards the end of the Texas senator’s run against him, seemingly taken aback by the ugly personal turn in the campaign (remember the digs at each other’s families?).

Cruz was clearly stung by it too. There was no love lost when Ted didn’t endorse Trump at the party convention, but the GOP runner-up did eventually endorse him. Today, the two seem fine with each other.

Trump also doesn’t want anything to do with Nancy Pelosi. Yes, it seems personal. And the antipathy is well-merited since Pelosi is one of the most obstructive partisan rhymes-with-rich-es in Washington. And that’s saying something considering her competition.

As far as the Bush family goes, I doubt Trump personally dislikes them and only responds when provoked, like with the George W. Bush video.

The only reason why some liberals praised George W. Bush last week was to score a backhanded slap at President Trump. Trump’s political enemies aren’t always easily identified but they seem to act in predictable ways. Like with different colored bears in the wild, they need to be separated accordingly.

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