Five Quick Things: Giving Bush the Brush-Off - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Five Quick Things: Giving Bush the Brush-Off
George W. Bush discusses his latest project painting immigrants on CBS Sunday Morning, April 18, 2021 (YouTube screenshot)

We haven’t done a Five Quick Things in this space in a while, and as this has been a long week taxing to the mental energies it seems this is a good time for a 5QT return to the ring.

Ali-style, perhaps.

Beginning with an ex-president who most certainly is not The Greatest.

1. Get back in the bushes, George

One reason why people seemed to like George W. Bush better as an ex-president than when he was on the job was that he largely retreated into obscurity and kept his mouth shut.

That lasted eight years. When 2016 came along and it became very obvious that W.’s brand of Republicanism, which he inherited from his father, was dead, he commenced a campaign of occasional passive-aggressive sniping against those candidates seeking to build a successor, perhaps more successful, style of politics.

There was his “I just don’t like the guy” remark trashing Ted Cruz. And then there were more pointed remarks about Donald Trump.

Those didn’t really go well within the party, and so W. kept quiet for a blessed while.

Until a few days ago, when this happened:

Former President George W. Bush, who has mostly stayed on the political sidelines after the White House, has reemerged with criticism of his Republican successor as he advocates for a sharply different immigration policy from former President Donald Trump.

“The problem with the immigration debate is that it, one, can create a lot of fear. ‘They’re coming after you,'” Mr. Bush said during a recent interview with CBS News at his 1,600-acre ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Mr. Bush, whose book of paintings “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants,” is being published by Crown, hopes his voice can make the debate less fearful after four years of Mr. Trump’s policies. Proceeds from his book are going to charities that help immigrants resettle.

“The country was very divided during that period of time. And, you know, as a result, he wasn’t reelected,” Mr. Bush said of Mr. Trump.

Apparently we’re supposed to thank Bush for not joining the lynch mob blaming Trump for the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, particularly given that it’s obvious the entire narrative the media has built around that event has been fraudulent:

“That made me sick. I couldn’t believe it. Neither could you. Most Americans are sitting there going, ‘What the hell is going on?'” Mr. Bush said. “Trying to guess the motivations of riled-up people — history is going to assess the blame when time goes on.”

Bush said his former campaign manager Ken Mehlman tried to get him to weigh in against Trump’s side of the immigration debate, and he declined. Then Mehlman suggested he paint portraits of immigrants, and that he said yes to. “And I’m now involved in the immigration discussion,” he says.

You don’t say.

Cute story notwithstanding, it’s the same irritating construct the Bushes have always laid on us, it’s old and tired, and we don’t have to put up with it anymore.

It’s this “compassionate conservative” crap. With his father it was the “kinder, gentler nation” line.

The message being that conservatives, who are statistically the most charitable, nonviolent, church-going, civic-minded, law-abiding people in the country, are somehow not compassionate.

And because conservatives have surveyed two decades of hard data that show pretty clearly that working-class Americans, and particularly working-class Americans of color, have suffered from mass immigration and bad trade arrangements that incentivize moving our supply chain overseas and particularly to China, and Trump’s proposal to change our national policy on both issues therefore resonated with them, that there is somehow a moral failing inherent in conservatism to be rebuked by their betters.

It’s not “compassionate conservatism.” It’s apologetic conservatism. It’s insulting to the people who voted for Bush. And he all but destroyed the party with a pair of wars in which our troops stayed far too long attempting to impose Western social democracy while enshrining sharia law, which is one reason everybody was happy to see him fade into the bushes when he went back home to Texas.

Bush is even continuing to push the economic argument for increased immigration, saying it’s hard to find people who’ll put in roofing tile in Dallas in August without ever recognizing the obvious — namely, that when the pay rises to the point where it’s preferable to sitting on a front stoop drawing a welfare check, something his administration never bothered to address, that problem will get solved. And he never utters a word about the fact the other side is using immigration as a means of seizing political power they couldn’t get otherwise.

It was such an unwanted reemergence that even Rich Lowry, who helped to engineer National Review‘s mass rejection of Trump as the GOP nominee during the 2016 cycle, couldn’t take it:

It’s not 2007 again. But apparently no one has told George W. Bush.

To coincide with the release of a book of his paintings of immigrants, “Out of Many, One,” the former president wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post plugging the sort of immigration package that went down to defeat in both his administration and in the administration of his successor, President Barack Obama.

Bush is an unusually earnest politician whose views on immigration are deeply felt and honestly come by — they are just anachronistic, or should be.

If there is any lesson that everyone should have learned from former President Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP, it’s that the party’s old consensus on immigration is no longer sustainable.

Yet there is still a reflex toward the lazy conventional wisdom that all that ails the country on immigration is lack of an agreement to give an amnesty to illegal immigrants already here and to increase numbers of legal immigrants, in exchange for more bells and whistles at the border — what is commonly known as “comprehensive immigration reform.”

One reason this column hasn’t given up on the Republican Party is that its more modern leaders, the ones who come from Generation X rather than the baby boomer generation, grew up as Reagan kids and know that small-government conservatism, American exceptionalism, and national self-confidence never need to be apologized for. That’s why instead of sitting around and letting a lowlife loudmouth like Chuck Schumer spread unanswered calumnies daily in the national media until most of the country instinctively believed “Bush lied; people died,” you have a Ron DeSantis who lustily eviscerates 60 Minutes for a dishonest hit piece against him.

We’ll take passionate conservatism over compassionate conservatism any day, George. Go back to the art studio and lecture us no more.

2.  “Ima stab the f*** out you, b***h!”

This space covered the Ma’Khia Bryant cavalcade, or at least its opening stages, on Thursday. But the home surveillance video from a neighbor really should put to bed most of the stupid race-grifting the Left has inflicted on us in the aftermath of — I’ll say it — the heroic efforts by Columbus police officer Nicholas Reardon in saving the life of a young black woman Bryant was about to kill.

In that video Bryant can be heard threatening the young woman, who was wearing a pink sweatsuit, just before she attempts to make good on those threats. But for Reardon’s quick action it would have happened.

The reaction to this from the race-outrage industry shows just how shameless a grift this is. Black Lives Matter activist Bree Newsome actually said that knife fights are cool.

“Teenagers have been having fights including fights involving knives for eons,” she tweeted. “We do not need police to address these situations by showing up to the scene & using a weapon against one of the teenagers. Y’all need help. I mean that sincerely.”

Hey Bree, have you ever thought that if all the people who you think “need help” saw the Ma’Khia Bryant incident so differently than you do, maybe it’s because they come from a culture in which teenagers having knife fights is not normal? And maybe the non-knife-fighting culture tends to be more successful than the one in which getting stabbed by foster-home angels is a rite of passage?

Just a thought. Another quick thought: a lot more people are stabbed to death than shot to death in this country and everywhere else in the world.

If rejecting stabbings by teenage girls as a valid mode of conflict resolution is a sign of racism, or “white privilege,” people could well decide that being a racist might not actually make one so irredeemable. Right now that young woman in the pink sweatsuit likely doesn’t have all that much of a problem with “racist” Officer Reardon.

3. Elect a clown, get a circus

Did you notice the stock market took an elephant-sized dump Thursday? Hey, maybe that came from the fact that the president was busily conducting a Green New Deal summit with the likes of Greta “Scoldilocks” Thunberg Skyping in with her “how dare you” juvenile-Cassandra routine.

Or maybe it was Biden’s 43.4 percent capital gains tax proposal that sent the money running for the hills.

One of the key achievements of the Trump administration was bringing home a large chunk of the capital that had been parked overseas by American companies owing to our uncompetitive tax code. Biden is clearly out to reverse that achievement, which should surprise not a soul.

So why are these corporate executive and Wall Street types getting in bed with the Democrats?

As DeSantis told Tucker Carlson, the day of the GOP giving these people any kind of special treatment has come and gone. They deserve everything they get, and maybe it’s time we start to rethink investing with an eye toward decentralizing it from the current oligarchy and giving people a lot more options.

4. Kudos to Stephen Green

Thursday in his Insanity Wrap at PJ Media, the excellent Stephen Green, who’s known as Vodkapundit, posted this:

Is there a single Leftist cause, just one — Insanity Wrap is asking this question without snark or rancor — that isn’t at its most basic level nothing more than a justification for theft or vandalism?

Just so. Just so.

In a future column I’ll have to expand on this, but the Left loves to cast the world in different iterations of the grifter John Edwards’ “Two Americas” narrative: oppressor and oppressed. That formulation is the basis of Marxist thought, and it’s absolutely the basis of cultural Marxism and critical theory.

But the real binary divide isn’t oppressor and oppressed. It’s those who make money and those who steal it.

It’s the villagers raising crops and making things they can sell, and the Mongol or Hun horsemen who come to sack the village.

You can’t get away with sacking villages anymore — well, OK, you can in places like Seattle and Portland and Minneapolis — but if you’re willing to be a little more sophisticated, there are still ample opportunities to have at those villagers and take all their stuff. And as Stephen accurately recognizes, accessing those opportunities is the essence of American leftism.

5. To hell with Facebook’s “Supreme Court”

You heard about this, right?:

The upcoming decision from Facebook’s independent Oversight Board on whether to uphold or reverse Facebook’s indefinite suspension of former President Trump’s profiles has policymakers on edge.

Why it matters: The decision will set a historic precedent for how the tech giant treats accounts of world leaders, and could be a litmus test for the board’s power.

At Ace of Spades, Ace notes that this is essentially a decision about whether Trump will be “allowed” to run for president in 2024.

That is largely correct, I would guess. But to the extent it’s true, it’s unacceptable. Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow social media tyrant cretin Jack Dorsey are not qualified to arbitrate our political process.

We’ve got to drain these people of their influence.

The only real way to do that is to get off Facebook and Twitter and find an alternative.

Here’s where I plug the one I’ve been working on. It’s called The Speakeasy, and it’s a free-speech social app with benefits. The user interface is, according to our customers, better than Parler and Gab, plus the conversation is a lot more wide-ranging — content is broken up into 16 groups by subject matter, and only one of them is political. On Parler all anybody ever talks about is politics, and that gets boring; at The Speakeasy there’s a movies/TV/books/music group, a sports group, a stock-trading group, a home improvement group, a group for jokes, one for memes, and so on.

It’s free to sign up now. Eventually it’ll carry a minimal subscription fee of $2.99 a month, but not for a while yet, as we’re still building up our user base. When it’s a subscription app later, we’ll share the revenue with people who build channels on the app, and in that way you’ll be supporting independent content creators by subscribing.

In the meantime we’ve got to stand up a conservative — or just non-leftist — social app that isn’t a chore to be on. Check out The Speakeasy, and I think you might agree that it could be what we’re looking for.

Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is a contributing editor at The American Spectator  and publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics, and, a national political news aggregation and opinion site. Additionally, he's the author of the new book The Revivalist Manifesto: How Patriots Can Win The Next American Era, available at He’s also a writer of fiction — check out his three Tales of Ardenia novels Animus, Perdition and Retribution at Amazon. Scott's other project is The Speakeasy, a free-speech social and news app with benefits - check it out here.
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