Perspective

It Ain't Me?

George W. Bush comes as close as anyone to representing the current American aristocracy. It is not that the Bushes are old family or even old money. The family fortunes are usually traced back to great-grandfather Samuel Bush, a middleweight railroad magnate in Columbus, Ohio. Samuel's son Prescott raised the family to national prominence by allying his fortunes with fellow Yalie (and fellow Bonesman) Averell Harriman and his family with Harriman's top banker, Bert Walker. With the Harriman connection, it seemed almost natural for the U.S. government to put old Samuel in charge of munitions manufacturing during World War I, and ever since, the Bush family has faithfully represented the interests of what fellow Republican Dwight Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex."

George II has been a blue chip off of George I's portfolio, both in his loyalty to multinational interests and in his curious inability to speak a coherent sentence that has not been rehearsed a dozen times. As Ann Richards (or her speechwriter) said so memorably of George Herbert Walker Bush, "He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Perhaps it is a learning disability; perhaps it is the result of being in so privileged a position that it is impossible to speak directly of anything. Either way, the Georges "come by it honest," since Sen. Prescott Bush (as Gary Wills pointed out some years ago) was almost as...

Join now to access the full article and gain access to other exclusive features.

Get Started

Already a member? Sign in here

X