Bush Sr. Lobbied to Replace Rumsfeld

Sidney Blumenthal reports that former President George H.W. Bush, who some readers will recall is the father of the current president, “waged a secret campaign over several months early this year to remove Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The elder Bush went so far as to recruit Rumsfeld’s potential replacement, personally asking a retired four-star general if he would accept the position, a reliable source close to the general told me.”

Skipping ahead a bit, we find that Rumsfeld still has his job. This makes Blumenthal very angry. The rest of the rather longish story follows the theme set by this paragraph:

The elder Bush’s intervention was an extraordinary attempt to rescue simultaneously his son, the family legacy and the country. The current president had previously rejected entreaties from party establishment figures to revamp his administration with new appointments. There was no one left to approach him except his father. This effort to pluck George W. from his troubles is the latest episode in a recurrent drama — from the drunken young man challenging his father to go “mano a mano” on the front lawn of the family home in Kennebunkport, Maine, to the father pulling strings to get the son into the Texas Air National Guard and helping salvage his finances from George W.’s mismanagement of Harken Energy. For the father, parental responsibility never ends. But for the son, rebellion continues. When journalist Bob Woodward asked George W. Bush if he had consulted his father before invading Iraq, he replied, “He is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher father that I appeal to.”

While there’s not much doubt that Bush the Younger is a very different man than his father, lacking both some of his strengths and his weaknesses, the suggestion that it would be a good thing if a grown man in his second term as President of these here United States did what his daddy told him rather than following his own instincts is quite odd. And the insinuation that this means he doesn’t deeply respect the Old Man is not only an outrageous slander but quite obviously false to any who have ever seen the Bush family together.

Like Blumenthal, my foreign policy preferences more closely align with those of Bush 41. But the stubborness and self-confidence of Bush 43, while having some drawbacks, are good qualities in a Commander-in-Chief.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    Bush 41 wanted Bush 43 to replace his SecDef?

    Somebody refresh my memory: which Bush got re-elected?

  2. Steven Plunk says:

    Why should I believe anything Sid Vicious has to say? Partisan hack through and through.

  3. Ugh says:

    Actually, I think the two words you were looking for are “hardheadedness and delusion.”