Five Things Revealed by Democrats’ Rehabilitation of George W Bush

Democrats and Neocons have integrated in the age of Trump, writes Caitlin Johnstone. 

Republican former President George W. Bush with Democratic former First Lady Michelle Obama.

By Caitlin Johnstone

Former President George W. Bush is in the news and once again it’s not for the only legitimate reason that he should ever be in the news, namely a war crimes tribunal. No, it’s because his voice was used in a cutesy feel-good video about unity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Let us remember how small our differences are in the face of this shared threat,” Bush is heard saying. “We are not partisan combatants. We are human beings, equally vulnerable and equally wonderful in the sight of God.”

And, needless to say, Democrats are all over social media orgasming in their pants about it.

“This video made me ugly cry,” tweeted actress-turned-McResistance pundit Alyssa Milano.

“A REAL president,” tweeted the other Alyssa Milano, Debra Messing.

“In a million years I never thought I’d be crying watching this, thinking how much better we’d all feel if Bush were president today,” tweeted former Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill to thunderous online applause.

>>Please Donate to Consortium News’ 25th Anniversary Spring Fund Drive<<

The Intercept‘s Mehdi Hasan spent all day on Twitter defending his position that Dubya is superior to Trump, at one point even arguing “You can be a sane warmonger. You can be a warmonger but be an ok human being to your friends and family. You can be a warmonger and be able to handle a domestic public health crisis.”

For years rank-and-file Democrats have been giving the true Butcher of Baghdad a majority approval rating, running with the common narrative that while Bush perhaps made some “mistakes,” Trump is spectacularly worse. Here are five things that are highlighted by that common perspective:

No. 1. It shows how little Democrats care about the lives of human beings overseas.

By the end of his first term Bush had launched two full-scale ground invasions, murdered a million Iraqis, destabilized an entire region in a way that would shortly give rise to ISIS, and ushered in a whole new level of unprecedented U.S. military expansionism and imperialism. Trump has done none of these things. He has inflicted many evils upon our world and, like former President Barack Obama, has continued and expanded the warmongering of his predecessors. But he has done nothing that rises to the level of depravity of Bush’s wars.

The fact that Democrats see Trump’s evils as not only equal to but far in excess of Bush’s reveals as plain as day that, for all their supposed bleeding-heart liberal sensibilities, they simply do not place much value on the lives of foreigners. Sure, they might enjoy a little masturbatory melodrama over kids in cages when it shows up on their doorstep, but kids getting ripped to shreds by cluster bombs and being born severely disabled from depleted uranium munitions simply does not register for them, because they don’t have to look at it.

They do not care. Rude tweets and racism are worse than institutionalized mass murder for them, because they have to look at one but not the other.

No. 2. It shows that Trump-era Democrats are Bush-era Republicans.

“Dems have no choice but to rehabilitate George Bush because their core narrative is the US was a fundamentally good and decent land before Trump vandalized it,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted in response to Democrats’ fawning over Bush, adding, “How do you join with Bill Kristol, Nicole Wallace, Rick Wilson, David Frum and the CIA without whitewashing Bush’s crimes?”

Indeed, Bush-era neocons have been able to fully ingratiate themselves to and integrate themselves with Democrats in the age of Trump by posing as moral opposition longing for a more civilized time when presidents would politely butcher humans by the hundreds of thousands without using offensive language like “shit hole.” A gentlemanly time for gentlemanly presidents to unfold gentlemanly torture and surveillance policies all around the world without posting rude tweets about celebrities they don’t like.

Trump-era Democrats are Bush-era Republicans. That’s how far to the authoritarian right the party has moved in the last few years on important matters like foreign policy. You can see this by the shrieking, hysterical response they had to Tulsi Gabbard calling for what more or less amounted to a simple reversion back to pre-9/11 U.S. foreign policy. It has been necessary for Democrats to gaslight themselves into this position because for three presidential campaigns in a row–Obama 2012, Clinton 2016, and now Biden 2020–they’ve had to find ways of convincing themselves that a politician who has facilitated Bush’s foreign policy agendas would make a good commander-in-chief.

No. 3. It shows how the amnesia-inducing effects of the mass media news churn make it difficult to retain perspective.

Mass media propagandists are able to distort perception even while telling the truth using the news churn memory hole. Even when forced to report on uncomfortable truths like not finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or the fact that the occupation of Afghanistan has been justified by an entire generation of lies, the memory of that reporting can be made to fade into the background by frantically reporting on what’s happening right now without referring back to the previous revelations.

Russiagate alone did so much to distort people’s perceptions in mainstream liberal circles. Having the baseless narrative breathlessly promoted year after year after year that the Kremlin had literally seized control of the highest levels of the U.S. government left rank-and-file Democrats who subscribed to it without any sense of scale or proportion, because they were constantly being told that the Most Important Thing Ever was about to happen. How can you hold perspective on a million dead Iraqis when you’re being told day after day, year after year in myriad ways that Russian Hitler was controlling your country but Super Mueller is going to swoop in to the rescue any minute now? It would be very difficult.

No. 4. It shows the glaring difference between fact and narrative.

Most of the mass media reporting on Trump has been factual, it’s just had a ton of narrative spin attached to the facts. It is a fact that Trump frequently says and does dumb, obnoxious and horrible things. It is a fact that many racists think he’s the cat’s pajamas. It is a fact that there was an impeachment and a collusion investigation. But the narrative overlay that has been heaped upon those facts while they’re being reported — the urgency, the alarmism, the hyperbole — leaves viewers with the distinct impression that this U.S. president is awful in a way that is unique and historically unprecedented, and he simply isn’t.

Trump is not worse than Bush, the mass media just yell about him a lot more. If the narratives matched the facts, mass media consumers would be aware that nothing Trump has done is as evil as Bush’s invasion of Iraq alone. In reality Trump didn’t wind up being another Hitler, he wound up being another Obama (not a compliment). And if the narrative spin matched the factual reality, people would understand that.

No. 5. It shows that this simply is not working.

Imagine you’re out in the woods with a friend you trust in the dark. You know there’s a horrible monster out there stalking you, and suddenly you hear it in the distance coming crashing towards you. It has picked up your scent and it will be upon you in moments.

You turn to run, but your friend grabs you and won’t let you move. He falls to the ground grabbing your legs screaming “No! No! We must stay here! We mustn’t move an inch!”

Who do you need to fight first? The monster? Or your “friend?”

That’s why I focus so much of my criticism on the Democratic Party instead of the Republicans. Ultimately, they’re the party which could actually allow for positive changes to be made to the world, but instead they keep moving further and further into the warmongering totalitarianism they once purported to despise in George W. Bush.

Relying on either head of the two-headed one-party system to make meaningful changes simply is not working, and will not ever work. No institution that would so warmly rehabilitate and welcome a bloodthirsty monster like Bush is going to help humanity one iota. In fact, its sole purpose is to do the exact opposite.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium. Follow her work on Facebook, Twitter, or her website. She has a podcast and a book, Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers.” 

This article was re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

>>Please Donate to Consortium News’ 25th Anniversary Spring Fund Drive<<

24 comments for “Five Things Revealed by Democrats’ Rehabilitation of George W Bush

  1. dean 1000
    May 7, 2020 at 21:41

    Yes Dr. F, she is an amazingly talented and prolific writer with head and heart in the right places.

    The democrats are amazing in a really different way. Fawning and cooing over GWB. There was a TV puff piece on Bush jr recently. Couldn’t watch it. The rehabilitation of GWB is in full swing. Will dems soon be cooing they would like to live in a Hooverville?

  2. May 7, 2020 at 00:19

    Isn’t Caitlin Johnstone amazing? She has a new editorial almost every day and they are all very powerful interventions on hugely important topics! Now tell me, where else would, or could you read such a find article about the DEM establishment’s truly criminal and supine coddling of GWB and his coterie all of whom are guilty of murderous policies and legion war-crimes in one nation after another? I would effuse still more redolently about the quality of Caitlin’s prodigious output, both in poetry in prose, were I not so damn envious of it!

  3. subhuti37
    May 6, 2020 at 19:44

    For 150 years since 1776, the country had a record of oppression marked by resistance and some victories, emancipation of slaves, a labor movement, women’s suffrage, culminating wirh the New Deal and the anti war and antinuclear movements.

    Since then, it’s been one long slide into dystopia.

    Even language has become cruder, public discourse toxic, endless lies, massive corruption, elections a farce, endless war. A foreign policy under both parties like that of a petulant child, demanding and getting what it wants.

    And now the bills are coming due. As Rev. Wright said before the cool suave fake progressive Obama fired him as his pastor, “the chickens are coming home to roost”.

  4. robert e williamson jr
    May 6, 2020 at 12:55

    We all have the village idiot from crawford texas to thank for raising the bar of the “LYING CONTEST” that government has become.

    “Shrub” stood on prime time TV and lied about weapons of mass destruction. The Democratic hand of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PARTY then washed the dirty Republican hand by acquiescing to the DEEP STATES DEEPEST OF DESIRES. (ever hear of selling your soul to the devil?)

    Besides, “What could go wrong? Karma maybe?

    Ever wonder what Karma looks like. Well, right now it looks like a 70 year billionaire old asshole with a comb over and spray tan.

  5. Moi
    May 6, 2020 at 02:43

    Without going further back than Obama we saw Libya destroyed, Syria attacked by US proxies, a new Egyptian dictator in power, the China pivot, Ukraine destabilised, the Afghanistan surge, anti-Russian rhetoric turn to vitriol, etc.

    The Democrats have a worse record than the Republicans.

  6. CitizenKane
    May 6, 2020 at 00:19

    Bush is the WORST President of the United States since the time of Herbert Hoover who presided during the Great Depression.
    The rehabilitation of Bush by the Democrats is a slap in the face of the families of the thousands of U.S. military soldiers killed and the millions of Iraqi civilians slaughtered during his bogus war. Bush also presided to the Katrina disastrous response and kept repeating how a great job he did. His Presidency was a calamity to the United States leaving trillions of dollars in debt for future generations to pay.
    This article is great a reminder that hypocrisy is encroached in both parties of the American political system.

  7. Mr Boompi
    May 5, 2020 at 21:57

    I used to be a democrat. I realize I have very little in common with these people, and we remember the past in totally diametric ways. But then I remember these people have severe Trump Derangement Syndrome. They hate Trump so much they even fake swoon for Bush and support people like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. I don’t think I could ever watch anything Milano or Messing appear in. They are repulsive human beings. And they are a big reason the democrat party is divided and shrinking away. We need a third party, but if they join it I probably won’t.

  8. John R
    May 5, 2020 at 21:21

    Giant Bingo to you Sam F. The Democratic Party (and their counterparts) sucks big time and it ain’t that hard to see it.

  9. James O'Neill
    May 5, 2020 at 19:45

    One day perhaps you will turn your attention to the real danger man in that presidency, Vice President Dick Chaney. GWB was happiest riding his bike and left the real work to Chaney. I would put him in the dock first.

    • robert e williamson jr
      May 6, 2020 at 18:02

      FROM: The y0u cannot make this crap up department. Warning to the moderator: This is an adult comment and is not meant for the feeble minded or religious zealots!

      Let us all first remember how much better off we would have been not spending those trillions of dollars killing the wrong people, anyone who was innocent, hundreds of thousands of them, no mere blip on someones radar and it is ongoing.

      James O’Neill you might find someone who agrees with you but not me. Shrub was the one elected, just like the current liar in chief.

      So! Nope, I ain’t buying it. The two parties are not working in the best interest of the country, they instead are working to maintain the dominate position of the heavy handed of SUPER WEALTHY ELITISTS , the SWETS.

      Billionaires are getting richer by the second and hundreds of the poor are dying by the second. Evangelicals got their Holy War and cannot win it. Now hate filled “God Fearing ?” right wing fanatics are all pissed off that the Apocalypse didn’t happen the way they envisioned it. Regardless of the views of “himself” the start of a pandemic could hardly be a time to attack Iran?

      Folks this shyster is playing anyone who will listen to his hog spit

      Obviously we have a certain large segment of the population that come very close to filling the requirements of being found criminally insane. An example is the millions here in the U.S. who think it is perfectly fine for anyone to shoot an unarmed person in the back and make no mistake their number in the millions, this country is a big place.

      Don’t think for one minute that there will be a miracle and they all will come to their senses for one must possess metal acuity if one is to process any information in a sharp keen manner.

      SEE ” THE TRUMPSTER”, he makes it up as he goes and his followers are okay with that. No signs of keen , sharp mental acuity found in side his brain box.

      Thanks again to all at CN for I’m always sure some one reads what I write.

  10. Tarus77
    May 5, 2020 at 18:28

    The cynicism of the press and the dnc (and sychophants) is never surprising-they will go to any lengths of hypocrisy and cynicism to join a hallalujah chorus.

  11. Drew Hunkins
    May 5, 2020 at 18:18

    “Even when forced to report on uncomfortable truths like not finding any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or the fact that the occupation of Afghanistan has been justified by an entire generation of lies, the memory of that reporting can be made to fade into the background by frantically reporting on what’s happening right now without referring back to the previous revelations.”

    Similar to how Covid has relegated the news of the FBI’s undermining of General Flynn to the inside pages of most major newspapers.

  12. Realist
    May 5, 2020 at 16:17

    The Bush family, representing old money, was part of George Carlin’s “Big Club” long before they entered politics. You could see how the Clinton’s and the Obama’s, allegedly from humbler beginnings but always aspiring to that Big Club, were quite taken with the Bush ambiance, with Slick Willie chumming around with Père Bush almost in a filial relationship, and Michelle infamously horsing around with Bushbaby even during the solemn occasion of Bushdaddy’s funeral. Trump, like the Clinton’s and Obama’s, in spite of his billions has always been a grifter, especially in the eyes of his wealthy contemporaries, so they have no use for one not awestruck by their lucre and willing to do anything to curry favor with them. They much prefer the company of vetted Democratic brown-nosers.

  13. Sam F
    May 5, 2020 at 16:09

    The Democrats held both houses of Congress and the Presidency from 2008-2010 and did absolutely nothing.
    Clearly they had no intention of serving anyone but their rich paymasters, to enrich themselves.
    They had the historic opportunity to get the power of gold out of elections, mass media, and judiciary, and did nothing.
    They continued Israel’s wars in the Mideast to get more campaign bribes, and Hillary’s top ten donors were zionists.
    Plainly the “Democratic” party sold out long ago, and serves only to sheepdog the electorate into rightwing policies.
    There is one major party in the US, the DemReps, and those who entertain the charade of opposition are fooled.
    It is the party of the rich, who control all of the tools of democracy: elections, mass media, and judiciary.
    There is nothing left to restore democracy without force. So it was when the US was formed, and so it is again.

    • John Drake
      May 6, 2020 at 12:49

      May I add: Obama almost took the prize from LBJ on bait and switch. Those of us old enough can remember the 1964 election, where Goldwater(GOP) wanted to send combat troops to Vietnam. Up until then, they had been several thousand “advisors”. Johnson declared, “I’ll not send Amurican(sic) boys off to do what Asian boys ought to do for themselves. Meanwhile he was promising the Generals that if he was elected they would get their war.

      Once elected he promptly sent thousands of combat troops and continually escalated the war until 1968 when he became a political liability and was forced by the Democrat power brokers to not run again.

      Along comes Obama much later with a “hopey changy” , “help is on the way” fake progressive platform. Of course, once elected he does the opposite, escalates the drone war, destroys Libya, attacks Syria with terrorist proxies, regime changes The Ukraine and bails out the biggest criminals in the country and refuses to prosecute Bushbaby/Chaney.

      Now we have Sanders and his less than aggressive campaign against “my good friend Joe Biden”, who he said, “could beat Trump”; and here we go again. We’re stuck with a choice between a catastrophe and an apocalypse.

      If we can evict Trump in November, it is definitely time for serious third party.

    • Daniel
      May 6, 2020 at 12:56

      Bingo. In the alone-ness of the Covid19 moment, I have come to reflect on this reality and what it means while my Dem friends busy themselves with LOTE-shaming me and anyone else who refuses to cooperate with our abusers, the DNC. Can’t do it anymore.
      We need a new and moral dialogue that reflects the policies we want to see, new ideas about how to realize these policies, and leaders with the courage to call out the people and institutions that would deny us these things. The country/world are crying out for it. Not that you would read or hear about it in any mainstream newspapers or on cable news.
      The corporate-media rehabilitation of the W. and the war criminals that dominated us last decade tell us (as if we need any more examples) that those who make up the political/media cliques of DC and NY have no intention of ever considering the needs and wants of the vast majority. We do not exist in their eyes. And their W. nostalgia is no more than an elite showing their hatred for an outsider, which is about all we’ve heard about since Trump got elected – their poor feelings. It matters not that they hated W. last decade, only that rehabilitating W. in the present moment helps them with their feelings today. We must work to build and support media and community organizations that work around these immature, narcissistic fools. We must work for a world where we don’t need them. Then their power will disappear. Or, at least, we’ll have an alternative.

    • Sam F
      May 7, 2020 at 08:54

      Daniel, yes, “We must work to build and support media and community organizations that work around these immature, narcissistic fools… a world where we don’t need them.” Such organizations build the knowledge of a significant fraction of the people, although without directly changing power structures. That effort creates and sustains the seed of better government, which ultimately grows when disasters force the people to force government reform

  14. Vince in MN
    May 5, 2020 at 14:21

    I remember back in the early years of Obama’s 1st term, seeing a billboard with a picture of W next to the comment “Miss Me Yet?”. I strongly recommend to the Democrat Party to re-issue that meme for the upcoming Biden 2020 campaign.

  15. Mark Thomason
    May 5, 2020 at 13:19

    Democrats were always among the heart of the war hawks, since Sen. Scoop Jackson was a driver of Big Defense and its magnification of Threat everywhere. And he hired the young Hillary to teach her those political ropes.

  16. Anonymous
    May 5, 2020 at 12:29

    I’m pretty sure these blanket statements disparaging democrats are inaccurate stereotypes drawn from extreme cases. I’d say more but I think the author already knows this.

    • Laura Tennison
      May 5, 2020 at 13:00

      Says, “Anonymous”. I’m more than “pretty sure” there are several sources cited on Johnstone’s article

    • Anonymous
      May 5, 2020 at 14:54

      “Excellent use of quotes”. Valid point remains valid despite character smear.

    • John R
      May 5, 2020 at 21:20

      ‘ . . . inaccurate stereotypes (about those beloved Democrats) . . . ” I suggest that you get up from under the big rock you’ve been sleeping under. The Democratic Party is sure to deliver NOTHING like they always do.

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      May 5, 2020 at 22:05

      Another awesome, and to the point, piece by Caitlin. Reminds me of George Carlin.

      We have one party with two brands.

Comments are closed.