Bush Backers Prep for 2016 Race Despite Dynasty's Scandals

Bush Family 2005 at White House 60th Anniversary Wikimedia

Momentum is building for the nomination of Jeb Bush to become president despite the family's record of secret and scandalous actions enriching themselves and their cronies.

Developments abounded this month of positive media treatment of Bush family gatherings and announcements. Shown below is a sample of recent clippings. Several are from the Washington Post, including After years in the political wilderness, Bush family returns to the spotlight.

This influence with the media at the owner level is part of Bush family's dynastic power that is unmatched by rivals. The connections make Jeb Bush the overwhelming favorite for the nomination. We at the Justice Integrity Project have long predicted that Bush will be the nominee regardless of the widespread disapproval of George W. Bush by the end of his term in 2009.

The photo shows the family gathered at the White House in 2005 to celebrate the 60th wedding anniversary of former President George H. W. and Barbara Bush. At their right and left are, respectively, their children George and Jeb.

The family's secrets are a major focus of my recent book, Presidential Puppetry: Obama, Romney and Their Masters.

In three chapters beginning with "The Roots of the Bushes," Puppetry documents the family's central positioning within the banking, military, intelligence, energy and media sectors. The book connects the dots.

Eugene MeyerDuring World War I, for example, Bush patriarch Samuel Bush and future Washington Post owner Eugene Meyer, left, each held prominent government posts that developed a close relationship between their families for generations.

Prescott BushSamuel's son Prescott Bush, a native of Ohio, was a product of Yale's Skull and Bones secret society. Prescott would use his dynastic connections with other elite families such as the Walkers and Harrimans for marriage and wealth. Bush became the leading United States financial representative for German industrialist Fritz Thyssen, the top funding source for Germany's Adolf Hitler and his Nazi movement during the 1930s.

Harriman was heir to one of the nation's largest fortunes ever (inflation-adjusted). A Bonesman at Yale, Harriman went on to become a banker, diplomat, New York governor, media-owner and political kingmaker, primarily within the Democratic Party.

During World War II, Harriman wrote a friend that he would not permit "a hired man" at his Newsweek to opine on important matters contrary to Harriman's views as the magazine's owner. The language illustrates a contemptuous attitude prevalent, upon close inspection, of thought leaders in both major parties and the media. 

Prescott Bush, shown at right, went on to help lead the racist eugenics movement and become elected as a Republican U.S. Senator from Connecticut. As senator, he was a key foreign policy advisor to President Eisenhower, a frequent golfing partner.

Bush, his descendants and their biographers have been able to keep the Nazi connection hidden or noted merely in vague terms. In fact, it is a important part of the family's track record that should be examined in light of more recent events.

One challenge for voters, however, is that the nation's establishment media are owned and managed for the most part (especially on such sensitive matters) by those who have overlapping ties with banking and intelligence elites.

The Yale-educated Meyer, for example, chaired the Federal Reserve Bank and also the World Bank at times. 

Meyer, as he was building the Post into a unique Washington media powerhouse, offered Prescott Bush's son, George H.W. Bush, his first job after graduation from Yale. But the younger Bush, himself a Skull and Bones member, made his fortune instead in the Texas energy and banking industries.

George H.W. Bush was also during those years a covert operative for the Central Intelligence Agency almost from the beginning of his career and the agency's founding.

The Spartacus Educational Encyclopedia on the assassination of President Kennedy, among other places, reveals documents on that history.

Encyclopedia archivist John Simkin summarized documents on a major government Cold War secret initiative, Operation 40. Operation 40, led by Vice President Richard Nixon, was created following a 1959 memo to CIA Director Allen Dulles from Col. J.C. King, chief of CIA operations for the Western Hemisphere. Bush's status as a CIA operative is described in those documents.

Puppetry identifies my late mother Margaret Kreig, a well-known author, as also working on lower-profile special assignments for King and the CIA.

Such efforts were widely regarded as patriotic, anti-communist efforts during the Cold War. I try to provide a nuanced portrait. George H.W. Bush, unlike his two sons, served in combat and has a better reputation for thoughtful communications with those less fortunate whom he encounters. In this descriptive and largely non-judgmental fashion, my book expands the historical record often neglected by such mainstream publications that were heavily involved in covert Cold War activities and thus not in a position to describe the roles of other covert players.

Strong evidence exists also that George H.W. Bush was deeply involved in supervising Iran-Contra activities during the Reagan presidency, although the vice president denied a role and was never formally charged. As he left the presidency, he pardoned six leading figures, thereby helping to thwart future investigations and the defendants to continue their careers.

Jeb Bush, George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama at White HouseMy book also compiles the evidence that Jeb Bush was far more involved than commonly known in the 2000 election theft in Florida that resulted in the presidency of his brother, George W. Bush for two terms, 2001 to 2009. This augurs well for the family's success in 2016, even though conventional wisdom is that a Democratic nominee would be the early favorite.

History thus shows that the events now underway could have easily foreseeable results, even though conventional wisdom is that many of the country are weary of the Bush and Clinton dynasties.

Jeb Bush also faces criticism from the right as he positions himself both to prevail during the primary season and general election. On April 12, his stance of immigration brought forth boos from a conservative New Hampshire crowd, as described by the Post in iDonald Trump mentions Jeb Bush at tea party event, gets boos from the audience.

Ultimately, however, no single ultra-right can match the Bush firepower as the primary season advances and the main center-right rival to Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, implodes under sustained Democratic criticism, investigations and, quite likely, below-the-radar torpedoes from his GOP rivals.

A White House photo at right shows Jeb and George H.W. Bush meeting President Obama at the White House in 2012.
 
Later, all three attended the annual dinner of the Alfalfa Club, which the Washington Post described as the capital city's most elite black-tie gathering of public and private sector officials at the highest level. It was the first visit for Obama and it came on the night when Jeb Bush was humorously nominated (in a humorous tradition) as the club's choice for president.
 
The photo and its accompanying gossip page news brief in the Post doubtless passed at the time of publication as a routine display of bipartisan bonhomie in an otherwise partisan city. And on the whole, it is a good thing that these men from different parties are able to converse.
 
But they are also bonded with many mutual secrets and powers, with little scrutiny from the public. The public needs to know those secrets.

 

Editor's Note: This column was updated after initial publication to include material summarized from Presidential Puppetry.

 

Contact the author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 

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Justice Integrity Project Coverage

Chris ChristieJustice Integrity Project, How Christie’s Bridge Scandal Helps Jeb Bush Win in 2016, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 12, 2014. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a big winner so far in the political scandal and cover-up engulfing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Mitt RomneyJustice Integrity Project, Christie Faces Probes, Smears Like He Inflicted On Foes, Andrew Kreig, Jan. 20, 2014.  Misconduct allegations mounted over the weekend against embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie despite his attempt to blame the George Washington Bridge scandal on underlings. New Jersey's U.S. Attorney office met Jan. 19 for several hours with Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer regarding her claim against two top Christie aides. Zimmer has alleged that the aides threatened last spring to hinder federal relief for her city's Hurricane Sandy damage unless she supported Christie's picks among Wall Street investors for a Hoboken redevelopment plan advocated by the Rockefeller interests.

Justice Integrity Project, A Mitt Romney Nomination In 2016? Andrew Kreig, Feb. 9, 2014. Don't rule out a Mitt Romney presidential candidacy in 2016. Romney might prove to be the default candidate as in 2012 even though I predict Jeb Bush will win the nomination as a late entry.

Justice Integrity Project, Political, Legal Pressure Tightens For Christie, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 3, 2014. Political and legal pressure is tightening on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie following a former aide's claim Christie knew of the George Washington Bridge closing scandal last September.


Bush Family and 2016 Presidential Race

Allen DullesSpartacus Educational Encyclopedia, Operation 40, compiled by John Simkin, 2014. On 11th December, 1959, Colonel J. C. King, chief of CIA's Western Hemisphere Division, sent a confidential memorandum to Allen W. Dulles, right, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. King argued that in Cuba there existed a "far-left dictatorship, which if allowed to remain will encourage similar actions against U.S. holdings in other Latin American countries." As a result of this memorandum Dulles established Operation 40. It obtained this name because originally there were 40 agents involved in the operation. Later this was expanded to 70 agents. The group was presided over by Richard Nixon. Tracy Barnes became operating officer of what was also called the Cuban Task Force. The first meeting chaired by Barnes took place in his office on 18th January, 1960, and was attended by David Atlee Phillips, E. Howard Hunt, Jack Esterline, and Frank Bender. According to Fabian Escalante, a senior officer of the Cuban Department of State Security (G-2), in 1960 Richard Nixon recruited an "important group of businessmen headed by George Bush (Snr.) and Jack Crichton, both Texas oilmen, to gather the CIA Logonecessary funds for the operation." This suggests that Operation 40 agents were involved in freelance work. It is known that at this time that George Bush and Jack Crichton were involved in covert right-wing activities. In 1990 The Common Cause magazine argued that: "The CIA put millionaire and agent George Bush in charge of recruiting exiled Cubans for the CIA’s invading army; Bush was working with another Texan oil magnate, Jack Crichton, who helped him in terms of the invasion." This story was linked to the release of "a memorandum in that context addressed to FBI chief J. Edward Hoover and signed November 1963, which reads: Mr. George Bush of the CIA."

Washington Post, Getting the gang back together: Bush family, friends convene in Texas to celebrate H.W., Ben Terris, April 6, 2014. "It's like a combination between a college reunion and 'The Big Chill,'" said an aide to the 41st president.

Washington Post, Donald Trump mentions Jeb Bush at tea party event, gets boos from the audience, Jaime Fuller, April 12, 2014.  At Saturday's Freedom Summit in Manchester, N.H., Donald Trump talked about Obamacare, foreign policy, immigration and the economy, and he earned cheers and much applause from the audience. The event, organized by Americans for Prosperity and Citizens United, attracted a crowd of conservatives and tea party members from New Hampshire. They came out to hear potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates like Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) and many other GOP  politicians and pundits. When Trump mentioned former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who has been mentioned as a possible moderate Republican presidential candidate, the audience loudly booed and groaned. The boos crescendoed when he mentioned Bush's comment that people who illegally immigrated to the United States may have “broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.” Trump went on to extensively criticize Bush for his immigration stance. Trump also blasted Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). He said Ryan "is a very nice person" but that Ryan is trying to dismantle Medicare.

Washington Post, Jeb Bush says he’ll decide on candidacy by end of year, Ed O’Keefe, April 6, 2014. Bush, a Republican and former governor of Florida, is thinking about running for president in 2016.

Washington Post, After years in the political wilderness, Bush family returns to the spotlight, Katie Zezima, April 4, 2014. The Bushes, one of America’s most prominent political dynasties, have spent the better part of the past few years under the radar after George W. Bush left office amid dismal approval ratings and as his father battled health problems. The family’s surge back into the spotlight comes at an opportune time. George H.W. Bush has seen his reputation morph during the past quarter century from a defeated one-term president who broke his promise on raising taxes to an esteemed leader who deftly steered the country out of the Cold War. The photo, via Wikimedia and Creative Commons, portrays the family in 2005 at the White House on the 60th wedding anniversary of George H.W. and Barbara Bush.

Washington Post, Top Republicans court Jeb Bush for 2016 run, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa, March 29, 2014. Conservative leaders, seeing problems with Chris Christie and fearing a run by Rand Paul, consider the former Florida governor the GOP’s brightest hope. 

Washington Post, Bob Schieffer: Romney may consider 2016 run if Jeb Bush doesn’t, Wesley Lowery, April 27, 2014. Mitt Romney has said time and time again that he has no interest in running for president a third time. But, on Sunday morning, CBS' Bob Schieffer said not to write off the idea of a 2016 campaign by Romney so quickly. "I have a source that told me that if Jeb Bush decides not to run, that Mitt Romney may actually try it again," Schieffer said. During a political panel discussion, the "Face the Nation" host said that he has been told that Romney will consider seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency in 2016 if former Florida governor Jeb Bush chooses to sit the race out.

Washington Post, Romney to fundraise with Christie for GOP governors, Robert Costa, Feb. 22, 2014. Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney will fundraise alongside New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Thursday in Boston. The joint appearance is a signal by Romney to the Republican establishment that he remains an ally of the embattled Garden State governor, whose administration has become engulfed by a bridge-closing scandal.

Washington Post, These are the GOP candidates who might benefit from Romney’s donors, Wesley Lowery, Feb. 28, 2013. Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie and Rand Paul have the most buzz for 2016. Every single Romney donor we spoke with this week listed the former Florida governor as their top choice. Mitt Romney knows how to raise money. He collected more than $1.1 billion in the 2012 campaign, relying  on contacts he built during his time as Massachusetts governor, head of the Salt Lake City Olympics, years working in private equity, and as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. And now, with Romney insisting that he will not run again in 2016, literally hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of Republican money is up for grabs -- and donors say that they are already being courted by several potential presidential candidates. The donors said that -- like Romney -- Bush's time as governor proved he can be an effective leader and manager. His willingness to tackle (or attempt to, at least) tough policy initiatives such as education and criminal justice reform remind them of Romney's work on health care at the state level.Also, with solid name recognition and the Bush political machine behind him, Romney donors believe Jeb is the most electable of the potential Republican candidates. For Romney donors, electability is the single most important trait.

New York Magazine, Bush in the Wilderness, Staff report, Oct. 16, 2012. Jeb was the clear favorite to win his race. But he was hit by a series of late-breaking robocalls by his Democratic opponent, incumbent governor Lawton Chiles, warning that Bush was a tax cheat and his running mate wanted to abolish Social Security. The family was shocked when the family clown won his race and Jeb, the meticulous wonk, lost his. George H.W. and Barbara were inordinately disappointed for Jeb, and George injured W.’s feelings when he lamented Jeb’s loss in the same phone call he congratulated W. for his win. What Jeb didn’t have that W. did, of course, was a Karl Rove. “Jeb is smarter than George W. and has greater talent,” says a former White House official in 43’s administration who has worked closely with Jeb, “but he obviously suffers from those types of smart people who don’t delegate enough responsibility to others.”

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

John Rymer IG Defense DepartmentFireDogLake/Dissenter, Pentagon Inspector General Moving to Shut Down Key Whistleblower Advocate in Washington, Kevin Gosztola, April 5, 2014. Pentagon inspector general, Jon Rymer, shown in his official photo, is reportedly moving to shut down Dan Meyer, an advocate for whistleblowers in the Defense Department. The inspector general is suspending Meyer and revoking his top secret security clearance in possible retaliation for his diligent efforts to represent whistleblowers, according to McClatchy Newspapers. The actions, McClatchy wrote, were because “Meyer and other Pentagon inspector general employees were grilled about whether they leaked a draft of a report that concluded that former CIA Director Leon Panetta and the Defense Department’s top intelligence official disclosed sensitive information” to Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers. The report was not classified, but the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) obtain a copy and posted it in 2013.

New York Times, Delays in Effort to Refocus C.I.A. From Drone War, Mark Mazetti, April 5, 2014. Despite avowals about the need to refocus the agency on its original missions of analysis, intelligence collecting and espionage, the paramilitary operations have proven hard to give up.