Inaugural ceremonies, George H. W. Bush
Chief Justice William Rehnquist administering the oath of office to President George H.W. Bush during Inaugural ceremonies at the US Capitol on January 20, 1989. Also pictured: Barbara Bush, Vice President Dan Quayle, House Speaker Jim Wright, and Senator Ted Stevens. Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Library of Congress / Wikimedia

Russ Baker looks into the telltale heart of George H.W. Bush and the real (and tragically under-investigated) legacy of the Bush family.

While President Donald Trump has used truculence, bluster, populism, and manufactured division to hide the true nature of his agenda, George Herbert Walker Bush used manners, civility, and grace to hide the truth of his and his family’s agenda.

Both are very similar in their objectives. Both have enabled the continued transfer of wealth to the upper echelons of society. Both have sought to protect the interests of corporations and rich friends. But as we witnessed this week, Bush and the Bush family were far more effective with honey than with vinegar.

To wrap up this week of seemingly non-stop hagiographic coverage of George H.W. Bush, Jeff Schechtman talks with Russ Baker about the Bush family and Baker’s blockbuster book Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years.

Baker notes that the job of journalism is to ask questions and present facts — NOT to be co-opted by the fawning of sycophants that today turn funerals into a form of entertainment.  

Amid the pomp and pageantry of a state funeral, Baker tells us of little-known and little-publicized aspects of Bush’s life and career: how he got a covert early start as an intelligence operative decades before becoming CIA director; how his father, on behalf of Wall Street, chose an unknown Richard Nixon to run for Congress; how he couldn’t remember where he was when John F. Kennedy was shot (Baker knows); and how he played a deep role in the illegal Iran-Contra affair while keeping his fingerprints off the official record.

Baker shows us that — from the most elite prep schools to the secret sanctum of Skull and Bones to the reinvention of this well-connected New England clan as Texas oilmen — for over a hundred years the Bush family has been about the protection, extension, and cohesion of America’s ruling class.

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Full Text Transcript:

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Jeff Schechtman: Welcome to Radio WhoWhatWhy. I’m Jeff Schechtman. Our nation was founded in opposition to dynasty and to royalty. Since the pushback to George the Third, Americans have always been suspicious of the dynastic impulse. Yet in the modern era, as we saw with the Kennedys, the Rockefellers, the Roosevelts, and certainly with the Bushes, we are still drawn to the idea of royalty.
Perhaps it’s in our DNA. So much has been made this week over the fact that the coverage of George H.W. Bush, and the Bush family, is in direct opposition to Trump. But perhaps what the Bush era and the Trump era have in common is that in both, we have often avoided the hard work of democracy.
Perhaps what unites them is our desire to be taken care of. Sometimes we have wanted the elites to take care of us, an idea that the Bushes understood well. And we were even taken in by Donald Trump’s authoritarian “I alone can fix it.”
Sitting astride this tendency, almost since the beginning of the 20th Century, has been the Bush family. In an almost Zelig-like way, the Bushes have been there for every major marker in our contemporary history.
The degree to which their influence and power have shaped events, and how it’s been left out of so much of the dialogue this week, goes to the heart of Russ Baker’s book, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last 50 Years.
Russ Baker is the founder and executive editor of It is my pleasure once again to welcome Russ Baker to Radio WhoWhatWhy. Russ, it’s been quite a difficult and complicated week for covering the Bush family. Talk a little bit first about your reaction to this hagiographic coverage we have seen of George H.W. Bush and the Bush family this week.
Russ Baker: Well, it’s extraordinary. The emotions are very powerful for me, probably not in the way that many people are thinking emotions are powerful in this particular week.
I’m a little bit traumatized by, as you say, the hagiographic coverage. Really, even though I know that the media in many respects don’t do their job on so many things, which is why I founded WhoWhatWhy, I’m still stunned, actually, at how bad the coverage is.
And I’m including, by the way, not just the conservative outlets, but the so-called liberal media, the great ones that are typically identified as being liberal or progressive or democratic. They have almost to a person, seen fit to talk about him in this very, very benign way, what a gentleman he was and this and that.
Just seeing, for example, the manipulation of images. For example, the comfort dog lying by the casket. These things are carefully choreographed. As we noted on WhoWhatWhy, Roger Ailes, who founded Fox News, had been Bush’s ad man. They stage things. And they know how to manipulate emotions.
And of course, when you raise questions and you say, “Why are we not doing our job, and asking the tough questions about him and about his family?”, people will shush you. And they’ll say, “That’s inappropriate, it’s distasteful, it’s time to honor the man.”
And my question, of course is: is that the job of journalism? Is that really the job of journalism? That’s the job of the people who speak at the funeral. And of course, we can cover the funeral. But it’s not our job necessarily to honor anybody. And certainly, not a family that has as many troubling issues that have gone unspoken for a long time. And some of the issues have gone unspoken really forever.
As you know, in my work in the five years that I spent investigating the Bush family, both George Bush Sr. and the son, I found some really stunning things that were so disturbing that traditional media organizations just really didn’t even know what do with these revelations, and basically decided not to do anything at all.
Jeff Schechtman: In many ways, so much of the coverage, the mainstream coverage, what you’re talking about comes out of this desire of, on the part of the public, to want to embrace this. Because it’s simple, because it’s easy, because as you say, it makes them feel good.
Talk a little bit about the thematic elements of the Bush legacy, the thematic elements of the Bush story that you cover in Family of Secrets that really encapsulates so much of the Bushes being at the heart of so many really tough negative markers in contemporary American history.
Russ Baker: Just bluntly speaking, regardless of one’s personal views, if you actually analyze these particular things that are well documented — in basically declassified government documents, in interviews and transcripts and letters, all kinds of things that, for example, I obtained from the George H.W. Bush Library — there really is no way to see them as benign. They’re really, as I say, shocking things.
It’s almost hard to know where to begin; it depends on how much time we have. Family of Secrets is 600 pages of stuff that you never read elsewhere. And people said, “Well, why doesn’t Family of Secrets have more on Iran-Contra?” Or, “Why don’t they have more on Bush Sr. and Willie Horton?” Where he really was using kind of a dog whistle to encourage racists to vote for him.
Well, the reason was because those things were covered. And what’s interesting is even, Jeff, if you take those things that were covered, you don’t really hear them talked about by these news organizations. So, they don’t even do their job to just resurrect things that their own organizations covered at the time.
But these deeper, deeper things go back to questions about how the Bush family got into power at all. And the backstory on that… and again, I don’t know how deeply we want to go here… but the backstory relates to my picking up on some things that others had written a little bit about. And tried to understand more.
I actually began trying to understand how George W. Bush became president. And why, given the fact that he really was in so many ways unqualified, unimpressive, really incompetent, uninterested. And really was kind of a black mark on American history, that this man was even elected at all. He’s such a goof-off, really. In his whole life, he was a goof-off.
I was just fascinated with that. And then he got us into this debilitating war in Iraq, really transformed America’s relationship with the world. Gave new impetus to the military industrial complex. And so I wanted to know what was behind that.
And of course, a number of books had been written about the son. But I didn’t find that anybody really explained why did he become president. So I went out and I asked people who knew him or had studied him closely, “Why did he become president?” And they would just stop. They didn’t know what to say.
They said, “Well, I don’t know, he ran a good campaign.” I said, “Well, but why him at all? Why was he even being pushed for the presidency?”
They said, “Well, dynasty.” Same thing you said in your intro. Dynasty. He was the son of another George Bush, who’d been president. I said, “Is that where we are, that that’s the criteria?” And they said, “Well, I guess.”
And so I then began looking at the father. And I said, “Well, why did the father become president? Because the father himself was not a particularly distinguished man. The media struggled to find anything really good to say about him. The best thing they could say was that he wasn’t Donald Trump, essentially. That he appeared to at least have more manners. And I have to say in public, he did. In private, he really was a very different person.
But in any case, I began looking at the father. And then I went out to people who knew him and I said, “Why was he president?” Because he really didn’t have a lot to say, either in terms of philosophy or accomplishments of any real note throughout his adult life.
So I asked people about that. And they said, “Well, he was president because he was vice president.” I said, “Well, is that the criteria?” And then I said, “Well, why was he vice president?”
Well, nobody really knew the answer to that. He had actually run against Ronald Reagan, and they despised each other. And yet Reagan, for some mysterious reason, chose him. When he had a lot of other options he could have chosen, chose Bush.
And then I said, “Well, why did he choose Bush, and why was he vice president?” They said, “Well, he’d been CIA director.” So then I said, “Well, how many other CIA directors became vice president or president?” And the answer was, “Zero.”
So then I said, “Well, why was he CIA director?” You see, this, Jeff, is the kind of journalism that we need. We need to ask just basic questions that maybe a child would ask, but the media never does.
Why was he made CIA director? CIA director for a single year. Apparently, no prior experience, knowledge, or qualifications to be CIA director. He was described as a briefly, a diplomat, briefly a member of the House of Representatives. For a little while, an oil man in a company that never made any money. It just didn’t make any sense.
So why would the CIA, in the mid-’70s, at the height of the scrutiny of them by Congress, they really were fearful that they were going to lose their charter altogether. Why, out of everybody they could take, would they take this guy who knew nothing about that? It just didn’t seem to make any sense.
And so I began digging in. And what I began seeing was little hints that actually there was a backstory, a secret backstory, that the CIA had a very good reason to take him. And it was that he was the right guy for the job.
That basically, he had a secret past working with the CIA undercover, in all of his past incarnations. And that that’s why they chose him, because he was essentially a statesman, secretly working for the agency. And he was able to come in and essentially manage this coverup that got the agency out of trouble at a critical point.
That is really, I think, one of the major thrusts of my book. That this family, this dynasty, was kind of created out of whole cloth, because the family and particularly the father, but also the grandfather, had been serving the interests of banks and corporations and so forth, very diligently for decades. Largely undercover. And had unknown ties to parts of what we could call the military industrial intelligence complex that were not understood.
Jeff Schechtman: To what extent was Bush simply part of this elitist element of the time, in this elitist network? And to what extent was the Bush family, and as you say, going back not just to his father, Prescott Bush, but going back to his grandfather, even during the first World War. To what extent were the Bushes separate and apart as leaders in that elitist network?
Russ Baker: They were going all the way back. And in Family of Secrets, I trace this thing. I go back five or six generations. And we see that a great-great-grandfather of H.W., I think great-great, was a minister whose congregation was extremely wealthy people in New York. And went to Yale.
They were involved with Skull and Bones, this secret society way, way back. And of course, people like to pooh-pooh secret societies as meaning nothing at all. But obviously, to those who struggle to become among the very few who are chosen to be members of it, they think it’s very important.
And so I think we make a mistake to pooh-pooh or ridicule this. These are very important cohesion mechanisms, as are memberships in country clubs and very carefully calculated marriages into other families. All of these things are the cohesion of the ruling class.
And you see this really throughout the world. United States very much has a ruling class too. The Bushes, for at least 100 years, have been part of the ruling class. And that really is the backstory.
And then of course, once you become part of the ruling class, there are different levels of the ruling class. The Bushes were not the super-wealthy. They were not the Rockefellers or the Harrimans or any of those families.
They were the next or the third rank down. And what they did, basically, was they were welcomed into these outfits like Brown Brothers Harriman, the private investment banking firm. They were welcomed into the elite schools, in the case of the Bushes, largely Yale. Skull and Bones. And then they became involved with all these mechanisms.
The great-grandfather on the mother’s side, George Herbert Walker, was the head of the New York Yacht Club. He brought golf largely to America from Scotland, in the Walker Cup. Was the head of the Tennis Association. They owned, with their friends, or their friends owned many of the major sports teams that really influence our lives greatly.
They were on the boards of the top religions. Their very close friend, Allen Dulles, the longest-serving head of the CIA, was on the board of the U.S. Presbyterian Church. Prescott Bush was on the board of the Episcopal Church. Rockefeller was involved with the board of the Baptist Church.
And so, these people just really have had, at least, you could say to some extent still they’ll have a little bit of a lock. But they had a lock on all these key institutions.
And so, whether it’s universities, and the kinds of things that they teach, and who is on the faculty, and the kind of focus and the way that minds are shaped. They were involved from A to Z.
Then you go and you look at the big companies that were involved with extracting resources all over the world. They were the lawyers. They were the bankers. They were the investors involved with all of these companies.
And then they would go in and out of the revolving door, so they’d be in government when it was time to order the Marines into somewhere in Central or South America to protect these corporate interests.
This is really, I think, the backstory of the Bush family. And of course, this is a kind of a multi-generational analysis that our media just does so poorly. Or frankly, doesn’t even do at all.
Jeff Schechtman: The other part of this story is the more contemporary part as it relates to George H.W. Bush, and this Zelig-like sense that he was at the center of so many things, including Kennedy in Dallas. Including Nixon and Watergate. Including Reagan and Iran-Contra. Talk about that history.
Russ Baker: Yeah, the backstory is that he went to Yale and he joined the Navy in World War II. He was a flyer. What he actually was, was he was working for Naval Intelligence, which his great-great-grandfather, I guess it was, James Bush, was also in Naval Intelligence. And so, served in Naval Intelligence. His father, Prescott, was in Intelligence in World War I. In France. And so that was a family tradition.
So he went in the family business, which was intelligence. And this is the backstory. And then, you flash forward and he, in the 1950s, when Allen Dulles, very close family, also very close with these as a corporate lawyer, very close with these banking institutions that the Bushes were involved with, becomes the head of the CIA.
And as I document in Family of Secrets, there’s actually correspondence where you can see the Bush business group consulting with Dulles on what to do about the Caribbean, which is a/k/a Fidel Castro. They’re all very concerned about all these things.
And then around that time, George H.W. Bush creates this company, Zapata Off-Shore, this offshore drilling company. He puts a drilling platform on a small key just off of Cuba, staffs it with Cuban exiles.
His company seems to never make any money. And yet, all these investments come in from big-time people who are friends of his father, who’s a senator, and providing critical oversight, if you want to call it that, to the CIA. That’s Prescott Bush.
And you see the publisher of the Washington Post sinking money into this no-money-making entity. You see other people doing that and you have to wonder why they’re doing that if they’re savvy business people.
You see Zapata Off-Shore with operations all over the world. Largely, or often, in places where there’s very little, if any oil, or very little offshore oil. You see Poppy Bush… That’s the nickname the family used for George H.W… You see him traveling all over the world.
And I went through all of this correspondence, these letters and things. And it really doesn’t make any sense. And then you start seeing some of the people he’s meeting with, people he’s connected with like Alfred Ulmer, who was the head of CIA coups in a whole bunch of places. Alfred Ulmer was an old friend of his.
And then we flash forward to 1963, when oilman George H.W. Bush has now gotten into politics in a sense that he’s a head of the Republican Party, out there in the Houston area. And now he’s running for US Senate.
And then, some years later, he’s interviewed. And they ask him what does he remember about the day Kennedy was shot; must have made a real impression on him. Where was he when he heard? And he, Jeff, he goes white. Stunned. He wasn’t expecting the question, doesn’t know what to say.
And so he then claims he can’t remember where he was when he heard. And of course, we all know, if we were over the age of three or something, where we were when we heard. And so that struck me as very, very interesting.
And I went back to try and figure out where was he. And so, in Family of Secrets, I’ve got five chapters, all documented, all based on their own paperwork, as to where he was and what he was doing. And this is where this sort of, what you call Zelig-like, being in the shadows with all this quasi-intelligence stuff starts coming together.
And I discover that Alfred Ulmer, Mr. CIA Coup, who was living abroad —

he was part of a group of people who left the CIA when John F. Kennedy fired them, including Allen Dulles — Al Ulmer is suddenly in Texas that week. And who was he with? He’s with George Bush.

And then George Bush can’t remember where he is. I document that actually, he was in Dallas for a so-called meeting of oil drillers, just happened to be at the same time that Kennedy was coming into town.
And then he resurfaces shortly after Kennedy is shot. A short plane flight away. He makes a very interesting phone call to the FBI, where he’s providing a claim about that he knows who… and are you ready? That he knows who may have shot Kennedy!
This is a guy who becomes President of the United States, claims he can’t remember where he was when he heard. And we have FBI documents that he called the FBI to say, “I may know who shot the President of the United States.” This is all documented in US government records.
Jeff Schechtman: Then, of course, his involvement with Nixon and Watergate is questionable as well.
Russ Baker: It is. And I just want to say I know that anyone listening, if they’re not familiar with this material, it all sounds just totally bizarre and shocking. But again, just quickly, family friend was a guy named George de Mohrenschildt, a white Russian émigré in Dallas who was Lee Harvey Oswald’s closest friend. And there’s just fascinating stuff. Just absolutely fascinating.
Allen Dulles also knew George de Mohrenschildt. It’s amazing. But anyway, moving on to Watergate. Equally fascinating. The background to that is, because I was trying to figure out how did Bush get appointed to all these things. Really, it was Nixon who was his main… because he lost. He ran twice for the Senate. He lost, he really didn’t seem to have that much of a future. But Richard Nixon gave him these opportunities.
First he made him the Ambassador to the United Nations. What Bush really wanted was he wanted to be vice president. And we have correspondence showing a big lobbying campaign by corporations and banks, trying to pressure Richard Nixon into making Poppy Bush his vice president in ’68.
Again, you won’t hear any of this in the corporate media accounts. But it’s all documented. And the backstory is that Nixon basically was beholden to the Bush family.
And through my five years of research for Family of Secrets, I found that Richard Nixon had been plucked out of obscurity by a group of people including Prescott Bush, Poppy Bush’s father. He was a politician.
Basically, they wanted to knock out a California congressman named Jerry Voorhis, who was a leader in trying to reform Wall Street practices. Didn’t want another crash to happen. And felt that there needed to be more regulation.
Well, the investment banks like Brown Brothers Harriman, where Prescott Bush had been a partner, they really saw red when they saw Jerry Voorhis. And they decided they were going to take him down. They selected Richard Nixon.
Prescott Bush flew out to California. They selected Richard Nixon and they made him a congressman, and then they made him a senator, and then they made him vice president. And then they made him president.
But Richard Nixon always resented these people. Richard Nixon came from a working-class background. They didn’t like him. He didn’t like them. And he chafed. And so he didn’t like the Bushes, but he was under pressure, supposed to make Poppy Bush’s vice president, didn’t want to do it.
If you wonder why, Richard Nixon is quoted, having been asked by, I believe it was Haldeman, “Why did you take Spiro Agnew?” The man was awful in every respect. He was corrupt, nobody liked him. He made a really bad impression. And Richard Nixon laughed and said, “Assassination insurance.”
And sure enough, that’s the kind of thing that Richard Nixon got; that John F. Kennedy had a vice president who couldn’t be trusted. And it’s very very important to make sure that whoever your vice president is, it’s not somebody the people would rather see in office.
And you see the same thing with George H.W. Bush. He takes Dan Quayle, a guy that was really so stupid that people would have been terrified to make him president. So we have this fascinating history, where Poppy Bush, Nixon feels obligated. He makes him the UN representative, and then later on he becomes the envoy to China, despite having no qualifications for that.
Then he comes back and he becomes the head of the Republican National Committee. Where again, he really didn’t have any qualifications for that. And he is there, and a group of his friends are in the White House around Nixon, as Nixon becomes associated with the burglary and the coverup. And there’s a whole backstory to that that I never knew.
I used to think it was just Richard Nixon, bad guy, was behind Watergate. And again, I’m digging, finding declassified records. And I say, “Oh my God, there’s a whole other story here.”
And I have to say, Jeff, if this all sounds unfamiliar, and when I was working on my book, somebody said to me, “You should call your book “Everything You Thought You Knew Is Wrong.” It makes sense.
Because if one part of what I’m saying is not familiar from what we hear from the major radio and television and online and newspapers and magazines. And another part that I say is unfamiliar. It either means I’m making it up. Or I’m nuts. Or it means if you read my stuff, and it’s all documented in their own records, it means that decisions have been made to avoid this.
And if decisions have been made to avoid some of this, we can realize that decisions are made to avoid all of this. And this gets us right up to today, and to the funeral. And the idea is, “Let’s just not talk about this stuff.”
The other day I was talking to a friend of mine who was a longtime journalist with one of the premier news brands in the world, in the United States. He said, “Your stuff is so amazing, but you’ll never get on any shows to talk about this.” He said, “Places like the New York Times will never touch this, because it’s too raw. It’s too delicate. It’s too shocking. And it unsettles people.”
And as you said at the beginning of our conversation, there’s a sense that people want to hear things that make them feel good. They don’t want to hear things that make them feel bad.
And finally, I would just say, George Bush, because of this representation of him as a patrician, we are told when there was the peasant uprising, and the uncouth peasant leader was doing terrible things, that we would say, “We miss the king.” And I think that’s what’s going on this week.
Jeff Schechtman: Does George H.W. Bush represent, and the Bush family, the kind of ultimate triumph of the elites? And in burying George H.W. Bush this week, are we burying that era? Or is it still very much going on?
Russ Baker: Well, I think it’s still going on. First of all, let’s remember that between the two Georges, we had Bushes in the White House for 20 out of a 24-year span. That’s pretty close to royalty. And then, you had Jeb Bush, governor of Florida for two terms, and then he runs for president. Had it not been for Donald Trump, he might have been president.
You’ve got another George Bush, George P. Bush, who now holds statewide office in Florida, has been re-elected. We can expect him to run for, and probably become governor of Texas fairly shortly. And then he’ll probably run for president. We hear things about some of the other members of the extended Bush family. So certainly they’re not gone.
I think there certainly has been a reallocation of wealth, if you want to say. Silicon Valley, Hollywood, people of other ethnicities, other backgrounds who don’t come from that kind of WASP establishment, have a lot of money. And I think a lot of power.
But I think new alliances are being formed. A lot of those people new to wealth want to get into the same clubs, end up doing business with those folks. And I think we’re going to see what you would see going back throughout history in Europe, particularly, where… and really all over the world… where various dynasties would say, “Hey, our daughter has to marry into that other dynasty.”
Which was why the King of England and the Russian Tsar and the Kaiser of Germany, all looked like they were twins, because they were so closely related by blood. And I think that’s what we’re going to see. We’re going to see this meshing of the new money and the old money. And to some extent, at least, continued power and influence.
Jeff Schechtman: And of course, it’s all done in this patina of public service. Talk about that.
Russ Baker: Well, yeah. This is the line that they use, that they were selfless and they served and the stuff that just makes me gag that we see in all of this media. Just about what a servant he was.
I mean, this stuff was self-serving. These were people who were power hungry. They benefited from it. It was a pretty good life. They made a lot of money. They had great houses. They traveled all over the world. They sat in the best boxes at the sports things. I mean, who wouldn’t want to do it?
I mean, Jeff, honestly, if somebody asked you and said, “I can guarantee you tomorrow we’ll make you president,” or any of us. I mean most of us, there’s some stress to the job. Certainly if you do it the way they did it, they didn’t work that hard. It’s not that more difficult than for those of us who already work really really hard. It’s a pretty sweet deal. So I think that’s largely B.S.
And then as far as public service, if you look at what they did, most of the stuff they did was a continued transfer of wealth and power to their own circles and their own friends. I just don’t see it.
And as to the particulars on George H.W. Bush, whether it was illegalities like Iran-Contra, which were really thumbing their nose at the American people and at Congress. Or it was his disrespect for victims of AIDS. Or you go on and on and on.
I mean, we have a piece on our site, which I think is terrific, on our blog, about how in many ways George H.W. Bush fostered the kind of resentment, the lower-class white resentment against the so-called elites and minorities that really, frankly, made him the father of Trumpism.
And so there’s the irony. That the liberal media is so upset about Trump, and I think the establishment is so upset about Trump, that they don’t realize that Trump, in many respects… not in all, but in many respects… these things he’s doing are benefiting the exact same people that George H.W. Bush was benefiting.
Jeff Schechtman: We hear all this talk this week about this artificial legacy of George H.W. Bush. Given all of the things we’ve talked about, given what you’ve written about in Family of Secrets, what do you think the real George H.W. Bush legacy should be?
Russ Baker: Wow. Well, when you consider the yawning gap between what the public generally knows about him and is put out in these authorized biographies… And by the way, I want to say, this biography by this Meacham fellow. He’s supposed to be a journalist. And yet it’s so fawning. And he’s speaking. He is speaking at the funeral. He’s one of the two main speakers. The other is the son.
So the public knows nothing about any of this stuff. You’re saying, “What should the legacy be?” I would like to say the legacy would be an accurate one, which is not to say that he didn’t do anything good ever. That he didn’t ever do a kindly thing, or he didn’t wear cool socks, or have a nice guide dog, or that they put on appearances of great gentility while being totally cutthroat in private.
There are certainly things, and there were people who I suppose politically probably were even more insensitive and tin-eared or whatever. But I think the legacy ought to be that he was a guy who failed upward to a level he shouldn’t have been at. Our country can and must do better.
Jeff Schechtman: Russ Baker. The book is Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last 50 Years. Russ Baker, Thank you so much for spending some time with us.
Russ Baker: My pleasure. Thanks, Jeff.
Jeff Schechtman: And thank you for listening and for joining us here on Radio WhoWhatWhy. I hope you join us next week for another Radio WhoWhatWhy podcast. I’m Jeff Schechtman.
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Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from George H.W. Bush (Beverly / Flickr) and flag (Presidio of Monterey / Flickr).


  • Jeff Schechtman

    Jeff Schechtman’s career spans movies, radio stations and podcasts. After spending twenty-five years in the motion picture industry as a producer and executive, he immersed himself in journalism, radio, and more recently the world of podcasts. To date he has conducted over ten-thousand interviews with authors, journalists, and thought leaders. Since March of 2015, he has conducted over 315 podcasts for

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