This one pains me. I voted for “Dubya.” Twice. Bush began cuddling up to Democrats—literally—not long after he left office. Why? Was this an attempt to save a tattered legacy in the wake of his failed policies in the Middle East? Or was it a quid pro quo with Democrats who were increasingly demanding he be prosecuted as a war criminal? Perhaps that cuddle with Michelle Obama wasn’t for nothing: her husband’s justice department granted Bush final immunity in 2012.
Whatever the reason, Bush is a collaborator. His speech in Shanksville, Pennsylvania last month memorializing the dead on the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was as collaborationist as it gets. In it, the former president said:
And we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within. There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit.
Given the larger context of this speech in which Bush somehow thought it appropriate to criticize Americans on a day when they mourned the massive loss of American life, it becomes clear that this was not a reference to Antifa or Black Lives Matter, groups that have repeatedly demonstrated that they are violent extremists driven by the “foul spirit” of Marxism. Bush was essentially comparing the January 6th protesters with the 9/11 hijackers. Byron York called it an endorsement of a “Rachel Maddow-esque argument.”
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