George H.W. Bush: Tweets before Twitter, his personal notes

The Forty First president, George H. W. Bush, has reissued his book All the Best.  And with the new publication come another trove of personal notes and observations.  These were tweets before twitter.  Here is my take.
What do you think of the notes and personal letters of GHWB?

I think the presidents’ notes and letters constitute some of the most valuable writings of any president in all of American history.   And by the way, only a fraction of those notes are in the book.

And why do you think they are important?

Well, they are more than “stream of conscious” they are “stream of heart.”  As he conducts business, congratulating a birthday or issuing instructions to a staffer, he is also talking about what is going on around him.  It’s a twitter diary before twitter.  Communications reduced to a few words.  But they reveal more than dates and times, they reveal how the president feels about what is happening and what is being said.  And most presidents and politicians guard their feelings.

Give me some examples.

His mounting disgust over Saddam Hussein’s treatment of Kuwait.  Which led to a great miscalculation on the latter’s part.  It was the same miscalculation that Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega made.  Bush, Sr. has a tender heart but a will of iron.  You can read the notes and see that war was coming.

What notes in the book are the most revealing to you?

The president’s constant comments on his pain and deep feelings about the criticism of his son.  Both men, father and son, would rather be attacked themselves than to see the other attacked.

And there are layers of irony in that because some historians will judge one or the other president wrong on Iraq.    Either the father was right to leave well enough alone, after driving Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.  Or the son was right to have a war and get rid of the tyrant, even though Iraq became an Islamic Republic and with that unintended consequences, such as Christians being drven out for the first time in 2,000 years.  One can argue either way.

How will history judge Bush, Sr.?

In the interest of full disclosure, I served in his White House.  But I can tell you that observers in the former Soviet Union credit him as much as Reagan with the collapse of their empire which for us meant the end of The Cold War, and the end of the threat of nuclear annihilation.

Under Bush, Sr. there was a very real chance of a counter revolution.  And he had pressure on every side to act.  But he wisely invoked Napoleon’s dictum, “never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”  And in the end, he finished what Reagan started.

There are many football teams that do well for three quarters and then lose the game at the end.  George H. W. Bush, won the last quarter of the Cold War and that sealed the deal.

See Doug Wead on CNN speaking to this topic.

Bush '41' opens up about Bush '43' in new book – author Doug Wead shares the highlights


Published by Doug Wead

Doug Wead is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest book, Game of Thorns, is about the Trump-Clinton 2016 election. He served as an adviser to two American presidents and was a special assistant to the president in the George H.W. Bush White House.

7 thoughts on “George H.W. Bush: Tweets before Twitter, his personal notes

  1. Doug

    According to our Constitution, both the father and the son were entirely wrong. Neither president secured a Declaration of War from Congress (the Representatives of We-the-People). Thus, as their predecessors before them (ever since WW2), both of these men, by USURPING the Constitution, made the “Slippery Slope” of Preemptive and Perpetual War steeper and steeper – so that now, it’s “completely automatic” for presidents to use “Dictatorial Powers” and to bring in the military FIRST. The results have been horrendous by the sheer cost of human life alone. Not only does this leave Diplomacy begging at the door, it enables the Government to remove our Freedoms and Liberties through FEAR. America is no longer seen by the rest of the world as a Nation of Laws, but rather a “force” for perpetual war and death.

    Hitler and the Nazis did it this way – Japan’s Emperor Hirohito did it this way – and now the Neocons and the Zionists do it this way. History does repeat itself – and We-the-People look like “smucks” for letting it happen.

      1. Why did Ron Paul never push “End the IRS” instead of End the Fed and liberty?

        You have to tell people what’s in it for them if you want their vote.

        Most people don’t understand why the Fed is such a bad thing (and the root cause of the problems) and they don’t understand liberty – they think they are already free – instead of being debt slaves.

        Just about every Republican and most Independents pay taxes and would like to pay far less of them, preferably zero.

        End the IRS – zero Federal income taxes.
        WSJ’s chief economics editor Stephen Moore says it can be done and “would be the biggest job creator in history”.
        Why wasn’t this the main campaign message?
        I would of been repeating it every five minutes.

      2. Ian

        I remember Ron Paul making many statements regarding abolishing the IRS and doing away with the Federal Income Tax. I specifically remember Dr. Paul stating the very same thing that Stephen Moore is now saying. In fact, Dr. Paul said that if we did away with the Federal Income Tax, the inflow of foreign capital would be so great, that the United States Economy would experience the largest economic growth in human history.

        So…with that said….Why do you think it wasn’t an issue in the campaign, Ian? Better yet, why was Dr. Paul made-fun-of, marginalized and not allowed to get that part of his message out?

        I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count.

  2. The times obviously required a man with George’s character to successfully negotiate the challenges presented. He, being the incumbent, as voted by the people, stopped short of deposing Saddam, perhaps mindful of the possibility of sectarian/religious troubles that may have, subsequently proven to have, arisen.
    What is your view on the apparent inaction or even lack of acknowledgement of the plight of the Assyrian populace in Iraq, reportedly one of the first if not THE first of the Christian churches.
    Churches are routinely destroyed, people murdered, cut up and left back on doorsteps of their homes as encouragement to move on. They are the indigenous people of Iraq, for goodness sake!
    What actions do you know of that are being undertaken by occupying forces or the countries they emanate from to immediate this issue? I would be pleased to know.
    Kindest regards,

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