Have you ever experienced a “Duh!” Moment where you slap your forehead upon seeing something painfully obvious? I had such a moment last evening.
Go back to the year 2000, and the presidential election. Normally, the parties just take turns. The person holding the office is a ribbon cutter, not much more. Some, like Clinton and Obama, are very good at it, having good memories and stage presence being very good at making speeches. They seem presidential, and that is the only real job requirement.
Those two were groomed for the office. The fact that each changed their names at a young age is a hint that they were being prepared for big things ahead. (Oddly, Gerald Ford changed his name at a young age too.) They were on the calendar, so to speak, scheduled to burst on the scene, as if spontaneous.
George Herbert Walker Bush is a powerful man, and apparently a talented man as well. He must be a very efficient administrator, a “gets the job done” kind of guy. He served as president unofficially for eight years, and officially for four. He was then moved aside by Ross Perot to make way for Clinton. But he never lost touch, never really left the realm of power, or so it appears.
His son, George W. Bush was a clown, a man who lacked gravitas, abhorred study and had to be puffed up by PR staff to be electable. In a real world if these men, the candidates, were more than images in a TV screen, he could not have been elected constable of Podunk county. But he was chosen, and more than chosen, was forced on us. When it became apparent that Al Gore was going to win in 2000, the Supreme Court stepped in and just outright handed the office to Bush. It mattered a whole lot to some very powerful people that Bush, and not Gore, hold that fake office.
Why? Here is my “duh!” moment. It was not about electing W, but rather returning HW to power. 9/11 was on the calendar, and they wanted a man with a proven track record to manage the Oval Office end of it. The government was only a small part of the events of that day, but it required someone with brains and administrative skill to make sure that end of the operation held together. No screw ups!
George Herbert Walker Bush may be one if the most important men ever to crawl about in the alleys of power in this country. He was there for the Bay of Pigs, for JFK’s departure, for Watergate, Iran Contra, Reagan’s departure, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq attacks. He ran the CIA while Ford was president. He was de facto president from ’80 to 88, and then for real for four years after that. And now I realize that he was there for 9/11 too.
He’s an old man now, soon to depart, and I won’t shed a tear. But I am in awe of his accomplishments. He’s been like a ghostly presence in all of the important [public] events in this country for the last fifty years or more.