A man who once served in a Republican White House said he is “embarrassed” by that building’s current resident in a visit to UCSB Sunday.
A near-full Campbell Hall heard political analyst and author Kevin Phillips give a lecture titled “American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush” after his newly released book of the same name. Covering four generations of family history, Phillips argued that the Bushes have systematically used financial power, crafty networking and outright deceit to form a modern, hereditary “aristocracy.”
Phillips, who worked as a political adviser for President Richard Nixon, has authored six books, beginning with “The Emerging Republican Majority” in 1969.
The lecture focused on the long-standing connections, official and otherwise, between the Bush family and the national war and intelligence communities. George W. Bush’s great-grandfather George Herbert Walker, a St. Louis financier who also served on the War Industries Board and the Allied Purchasing Commission, had oil dealings in western Russia in the early 1920s, about 400 miles from Iraq, Phillips said.
“They’ve really had their eye on oil in that part of the world for eight decades,” he said.
Another great-grandfather of George W. Bush, Samuel Bush, headed a steel company in business with Remington Arms while also serving as director of the small arms ammunition and ordinance section of the War Industries Board, Phillips said.
“By the 1920s and 1930s, what you had was a family that had gotten its start in the early stages of the evolution of the military-industrial complex,” he said.
Phillips said that George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, served as director of a company alongside “six or seven” people who would go on to positions of power in the war or intelligence communities. He said that George H.W. Bush might have been granted early admittance to the Navy’s pilot training program before World War II as a favor to Prescott Bush by old friends from Yale’s Skull and Bones Society.
Phillips discussed alleged connections between the Bushes and current United States adversaries, saying that George W. Bush’s first company, Arbusto Energy Inc., received a $50,000 investment from the North American representative of the billionaire bin Laden family of Saudi Arabia.
In reference to Iraq, Phillips read from a Ted Koppel news broadcast from 1992, “It is becoming increasingly clear that George Bush, operating largely behind the scenes in the 1980s, initiated and supported much of the financing, intelligence and military help that built Saddam’s Iraq into the aggressive military power the United States ultimately had to destroy.”
Phillips called the Bush family a “dynasty” and outlined what he considered the dangers of their long stay in power.
“What you get with politics like this is continuity, persisting biases, persisting grudges and persisting commitments.”
The republican was clearly speaking to an almost entirely anti-Bush crowd as he was interrupted by applause after saying that 38 percent of Americans believe that George W. Bush was not legitimately elected in 2000.
In the question-and-answer session following the lecture, Phillips was asked if he thought Bush would be re-elected in 2004. The audience moaned when he said, “I think so,” and called the Democrats “incredibly inept.”