American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
a book by Kevin Phillips
(our site's book review)
The Amazon blurb says that The Bushes are the family nobody really knows, says Kevin Phillips. This popular lack of acquaintance—nurtured by gauzy imagery of Maine summer cottages, gray-haired national grandmothers, July Fourth sparklers, and cowboy boots—has let national politics create a dynasticized presidency that would have horrified America's founding fathers. They, after all, had led a revolution against a succession of royal Georges.
In this devastating book, onetime Republican strategist Phillips reveals how four generations of Bushes have ascended the ladder of national power since World War One, becoming entrenched within the American establishment—Yale, Wall Street, the Senate, the CIA, the vice presidency, and the presidency—through a recurrent flair for old-boy networking, national security involvement, and political deception.
By uncovering relationships and connecting facts with new clarity, Phillips comes to a stunning conclusion: The Bush family has systematically used its financial and social empire—its "aristocracy"—to gain the White House, thereby subverting the very core of American democracy. In their ambition, the Bushes ultimately reinvented themselves with brilliant timing, twisting and turning from silver spoon Yankees to born-again evangelical Texans. As America—and the world—holds its breath for the 2004 presidential election, American Dynasty explains how it happened and what it all means.
Washington would turn over in his grave if he saw what our government had become
"[A] devastating examination.... That this powerful argument has been made by Kevin Phillips should be a measure of how seriously it should be taken. He is not an idealogue of the left and he is not a conspiracy theorist.... American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush is an important, troubling book that should be read everywhere with care." —Washington Post
"Kevin Phillips is no hotheaded bomb-thrower but a seasoned wise man with deep roots in the Republican party. American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush is as depressing as it is brilliant and important." —Chicago Sun-Times
"If Howard Dean (or any other Democrat) is elected president of the United States this year, he (or she) will owe a debt of gratitude to Kevin Phillips." —New York Times Book Review
"Given this left-liberal publishing phenomenon, where evil Bushies lurk around every civic bend dismantling our constitutional rights, it is with welcome relief that political commentator and one-time GOP strategist Kevin Phillips has stepped into the fray … With great skill, Phillips illuminates how the Bush Dynasty has long used such old-boy organizations as Yale’s Skull and Bones, the CIA, Dillon Read, and most recently the Carlyle Group to further its main objective: political-economic power." —Mother Jones
Skull and Bones is an undergraduate senior secret student society at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. The oldest senior class society at the university, Skull and Bones has become a cultural institution known for its powerful alumni and various conspiracy theories. It was started in 1832. On the other hand, Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution. Prescott Bush was Skull and Bones. A lot of these people who were Skull and Bones wound up in the intelligence services or they were assistant secretaries for aviation in the war department and things like this.
King George III
When we examine the debates that occurred during the establishment of a new government and the Constitution, we begin to develop a new appreciation for the concerns of replacing the tyrannical government of England's King George III with our own government—which has by now become equally as abusive of the rights of citizens and the states.
If we ever let another Prescott Bush rake in a fortune by rearming the next Hitler’s Germany, or if we let Trump's demagoguery get out of control, all is lost and fascistic stormtroopers will be goosestepping their way to our door
The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism. His business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.
The Bush bank helped the Thyssens make the Nazi steel that killed Allied solders. As bad as financing the Nazi war machine may seem, aiding and abetting the Holocaust was worse
From the October Surprise of 1980, to international arms deals with the Germans prior to and during both World Wars, to dealings with Saddam Hussein, this book gives the reader a glimpse into the morals of the Bush clan.
The Iraqis grew enormously tired of our soldiers wrecking their country, and we'd expect to see this billboard popping up along their roads, since most citizens prefer Saddam Hussein-ruled Iraq to the horrid ISIS-infested mess there now
The book's premise is the danger of dynasties in the U.S. political system and how it was something our forefathers warned against strongly for good reason. He then illustrates this point with a detailed study of the Bush dynasty, by far the most powerful political dynasty this country has ever known. Perhaps we will be able to learn the lessons of this book so well that when we pick a president in 2024, we avoid any Bush or Trump (e.g., Don Jr.) and instead nominate Republican Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina state legislator, a former governor of South Carolina, and a former United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Trump Jr.'s qualifications are he worked as a campaigner and believes various conspiracy theories.
Phillips remembers a Republican Party whose interests were not similar to and contemporaneous with the wealthiest segment of society. To him, the Bushes are emblems of everything that's gone wrong with the GOP since then. So this is a book for Bush haters, primarily.
Phillips exposes, in amazing detail, the Bush family's ties to the Religious Right, big oil and the munitions complex and, in particular, how the family's longstanding relationships with all of these have reached full flower with Dubya Bush. Particularly incriminating is the chapter on the family's and the current president's relationship to some of the more fanatical elements of the Religious Right. Dubya managed the Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians through his father's campaign and presidency. His political skills must never be underestimated because Dubya was able to outmaneuver Jerry Falwell, Gary Bauer, and Pat Robertson to become the head of the religious right.
Dubya the Crusader—Dubya managed the Evangelical Fundamentalist Christians through his father's campaign and presidency, getting the religious right backing him as he told them what they wanted to hear, like our military in the Mideast is a Crusade against Islam, only to make it palatable he had to say Islamic extremists
The original Crusades
Something is very, very wrong with our Mideast War strategy, as it is exactly demonstrating the truth of Islamic claims that the U.S. is at war with Islam, which is a wrong and evil activity for us to pursue. Why do we want another Crusade? Upon further investigation we find the Religious Right extremists in the U.S. are backing this Crusade and they are a potent political force in this country and politicians snub them at their peril. They even got Dubya thinking in Crusades terms as in a speech he called the war effort a Crusade. He even hired Blackwater as Crusading soldiers since the Blackwater leader also believes he wants to engage in a Crusade in the name of Christendom. Leading the religious Right, Dubya portrays America as a new Rome beset by barbarians, and Iraq as Babylon. The bible thumpers eat this stuff up.
Leading the religious Right, Dubya portrays America as a new Rome beset by barbarians, and Iraq as Babylon. The bible thumpers eat this stuff up
It's easy to see why Phillips would be so bothered by a family—the Bushes—that embodies all the worst elements of the modern Republican Party, given Phillips' history and the Bushes' ugly history of hypocrisy, warmongering, avoiding responsibility, and war crimes. American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush is a heavily researched history of the Bush family going way back to the early 20th century. Phillips discusses how the rise of both Bush, Sr and Bush, Jr to the White House typifies a frightening trend towards family dynasties in American politics, one that the Founding Fathers warned strongly against. He also makes a convincing case that lies, misinformation and financial self-interest have become the hallmarks of the two Bush administrations.
Phillips makes a convincing case that lies, misinformation and financial self-interest have become the hallmarks of the two Bush administrations—maybe that's where Obozo and Trump got the idea that spewing lies is expected and even acceptable
Phillips makes the rather obvious point that power and wealth are passed along in a way that resembles a dynasty. This seems obvious. The sons and daughters of the rich go to the best schools; the rich are networked in such a way as to ensure family and friends get special privleges and jobs. As a result of all this, insiders know how to work the system. They end up convinced that their poop doesn't stink.
The rich end up convinced that their poop doesn't stink
Conservatives used to be fiscally cautious, conservationist, and champions of the Constitution. Even though these attributes once defined Conservatives, nowadays they have degenerated into neoconservative, propaganda-manipulating, neoliberal, warmongering, and obsessed with welfare for the super-rich AT ANY PRICE: even at the cost of the loss of American prosperity and freedom. Free market policies that are Neoliberalism at its worst are not the answer, in spite of the great public relations efforts which have propagandized this into the public consciousness. And the idea that neoliberalism's benefits will eventually trickle down to the have-nots was a covertly mean-spirited scam from day one. The have-nots did not get trickled TO—they got trickled ON.
The idea that neoliberalism's benefits will eventually trickle down to the have-nots was a covertly mean-spirited scam from day one. The have-nots did not get trickled TO—they got trickled ON
Mr. Phillips has joined the growing exodus of intelligent Americans out of the Republican Party, leaving behind hicks, bubbas, and the basket of deplorables.
Mr. Phillips has joined the growing exodus of intelligent Americans out of the Republican Party, leaving behind hicks, bubbas, and the basket of deplorables
There is an exodus of intelligent Americans out of the Republican Party, leaving behind hicks, bubbas, and fools
The CIA (at the turn of the century) estimated that by 2015 75% of Gulf oil would be going to Asia, especially China, and the U.S. would be dry, so why not invent a few lame pretexts and lay American hands on that oil before the Chinese beat us to it? "Mushroom clouds over Manhattan," was Cheney's lying-through-his-teeth phrase. Why did we let these lying crooked thugs get away with this crap?
The Bushes, as portrayed by Phillips, could write the manual on how to be Marx's prototypical 'capitalist pig': how to hide outrageous profits, use them to buy the political favors needed for more outrageous profits, how to reward, inspire, or force loyalty, and how to keep it all under wraps; they gorge themselves and save only a few scraps for us
As mentioned before, Washington would turn over in his grave if he saw what our government had become. The Bush dynasty has traditionally considered itself above the law and above the basic democratic process (as in the 2000 election), all the while pretending to represent regular working people. It would be closer to reality to say the Bushes thought of the citizens as sheep to shear—and shear they did, with unwanted wars and welfare and tax breaks for the rich.
The Bushes thought of the citizens as sheep to shear—and shear they did, with unwanted wars and welfare and tax breaks for the rich
Eisenhower's farewell address is quoted throughout American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush: "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can complete the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense ... so that security and liberty may prosper together." Suffice it to say that our citizens were neither alert nor knowledgeable, and all this corruption, conspiracy, and exploitation of citizens and government by the Bush thugs went mostly unnoticed and completely unpunished.
Eisenhower's farewell address is quoted throughout the book, warning us to watch out for misplaced power; We didn't. Now we are drowning in debt and fighting unwanted wars we cannot begin to afford while the Bushes luxuriate in glorious mansions
Now we are drowning in debt and fighting unwanted wars we cannot begin to afford while the Bushes luxuriate in glorious mansions (here's the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine)
Phillips makes a strong argument that the Bush family's economic stance is inherently elitist-- the recent veneer of Texas populism notwithstanding (that's just photo-ops, PR, and election strategy)
This book is a wonderfully useful study, not just of the Bush crime family, but of the brutal and rapacious U.S. ruling class, with power bases which are Wall Street, the Pentagon, the CIA, the Texas-based oil business and the British alliance. Its corporatist fascism is destroying America's democratic and republican traditions. See also Bush Crime Family: The Inside Story of an American Dynasty and Democracy—an American Delusion.
People speak of a Kennedy dynasty but, until now, not a Bush dynasty. Yet, as Phillips shows, the Bush dynasty is vastly more powerful, vastly more egotistical, vastly more clandestine and vastly more corrupt. Dubya acted like a king who could invade other kingdoms if he wanted to, and the citizens let him get away with his war crimes
Phillip's discussion of George H.W. Bush was illuminating. He fraudulently created and maintained deeply misleading stories about who he is and what he has accomplished with his life. The fake myth of the Bush family presents a sharp contrast to the ugly reality
Phillip's discussion of George H.W. Bush was illuminating. He fraudulently created and maintained deeply misleading stories about who he is and what he has accomplished with his life. The fake myth of the Bush family presents a sharp contrast to the reality
"The twentieth century, he argues, saw a fusion of three major interests: the energy industry, Wall Street, and the defense industry. Four generations of Bushes have participated in and furthered the emergence of this finance-security-hydrocarbon complex, and the domestic and foreign policies of the second Bush administration emerge from this background." (Source: American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, Walter Russell Mead, Foreign Affairs)
"American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush is an important, troubling book that should be read everywhere with care, nowhere more so than in this city (Washington D.C.)."—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
"The book makes two basic and interlocking arguments. The first is that the United States has entered a period of what Phillips calls dynastic politics, in which the spouses and offspring of political figures are picking up where their relatives left off, to the detriment of democracy. The second is that the most important example of this phenomenon is not the Kennedys but the Bushes, who, beginning with George W. Bush's great-grandfathers, Samuel P. Bush and George H. Walker, assembled wealth and power by exploiting ties to Wall Street, arms merchants, the American intelligence apparatus and foreign dictators including Hitler. That wealth and power, and those connections, are why Bush is president today, Phillips says . . ." (Source: Family Lies, Michael Oreskes, NY Times)
Much of the Bush fortune is tied to oil and the spilling of blood in its name
The Bush name spelled death to thousands of innocent human beings
Of course Oreskes cites the policies of Reagan-Bush as a key factor in dynastic politics' detriment to democracy, the economy, inequality, politics, etc. These policies are better known as the ugliness known as neoliberalism. The greedy Bushes were obsessed with welfare for the super-rich AT ANY PRICE: even at the cost of the loss of American prosperity and freedom, as mentioned. The Founders are cringing in their graves as they watch the continuation of this dynastiness wrecking the government of and for and by the people to be replaced by aristocracy politics that sees people as stupid cash cows for the elite of the corporatocracy to milk.
The Founders are cringing in their graves as they watch the continuation of this dynastiness wrecking the government of and for and by the people to be replaced by aristocracy politics that sees people as stupid cash cows for the elite of the corporatocracy to milk
Phillips traces the Bush dynasty back four generations to expose a mind-boggling Hydra of family interests in international finance, the energy industry, religious fundamentalism, covert intelligence services and the military-industrial complex dating from World War I to Gulf War II. To say that the Bush presidencies have been the most corrupt and scandal-ridden since that of Warren G. Harding is both an understatement and an insult to Harding. (Source: american dynasty: aristocracy, fortune and the politics of deceit in the house of bush, Matt Buckingham, Willamette Week)
Phillips traces the corrupt and scandal-ridden Bush dynasty back four generations to expose a mind-boggling Hydra of family interests in international finance, the energy industry, religious fundamentalism, covert intelligence services and the military-industrial complex dating from World War I to Gulf War II
The Prince, Machiavelli's most important work, includes "The ends justify the means". Fraud and deceit are held by Machiavelli as necessary for a prince to use. Violence may be necessary for the successful stabilization of power and introduction of new political institutions. Force may be used to eliminate political rivals, to destroy resistant populations, and to purge the community of other men strong enough of a character to rule, who will inevitably attempt to replace the ruler. Machiavelli has become infamous for such political advice, ensuring that he would be remembered in history through the adjective, "Machiavellian". (Source: Niccolò Machiavelli, Wikipedia)
Machiavelli, the father of modern political philosophy and political science, recommended not just opportunism and self-serving and ruthlessness, but also mendacity, bribes, threats, and immorality of any kind. He also notably encouraged politicians to engage in evil when it would be necessary for political expediency. Apparently, all politicians since FDR have read his works and owe their success to his advice. The Bush clan were certainly among the most avid Machiavellians. Morals and politics do not go together, although if you listen to and believe the speeches and campaign ads of politicians, you'll end up believing that these people are without sin. The religious right thinks Trump was sent by God and Dubya is their holy crusader. Wouldn't it be great if politicians modeled their behavior on the writings of the Founders, who saw politics as public service, rather than on Machiavelli, who saw politics as self service!
A Fox News poll found 'nearly half of Republicans believe Trump was chosen by God to be president'
The religious right thinks Trump was sent by God. Trump entered politics brilliantly, desending the Trump Tower escalator like a savior coming down from the heavens to announce his candidacy