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a glimpse inside the Bush family...scary

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  • Nick Bayus
    How to be hounded & hated by the Bushitistas or what Dubya did(or didn t do) on his National Guard vacation ... George W. Bush s Missing Year By Mary Jacoby
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 3, 2004
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      How to be hounded & hated by the Bushitistas or what Dubya did(or didn't do) on his National Guard "vacation"...

      George W. Bush's Missing Year
      By Mary Jacoby

      Thursday 02 September 2004

      The widow of a Bush family confidant says her
      husband gave the future president
      an Alabama Senate campaign job as a favor to his
      worried father. Did they see
      him do any National Guard service? "Good lord,

      Before there was Karl Rove, Lee Atwater or even
      James Baker, the Bush family's political guru was
      a gregarious newspaper owner and campaign consultant
      from Midland, Texas, named Jimmy Allison.
      In the spring of 1972, George H.W. Bush phoned his
      friend and asked a favor: Could Allison find a
      place on the Senate campaign he was managing in
      Alabama for his troublesome eldest son, the
      25-year-old George W. Bush?

      "The impression I had was that Georgie was raising a
      lot of hell in Houston, getting in trouble and
      embarrassing the family, and they just really wanted
      to get him out of Houston and under Jimmy's
      wing," Allison's widow, Linda, told me. "And Jimmy
      said, 'Sure.' He was so loyal."

      Linda Allison's story, never before published,
      contradicts the Bush campaign's assertion that
      George W. Bush transferred from the Texas Air National
      Guard to the Alabama National Guard in
      1972 because he received an irresistible offer to gain
      high-level experience on the campaign of Bush
      family friend Winton "Red" Blount. In fact, according
      to what Allison says her late husband told her,
      the younger Bush had become a political liability for
      his father, who was then the United States
      ambassador to the United Nations, and the family
      wanted him out of Texas. "I think they wanted
      someone they trusted to keep an eye on him," Linda
      Allison said.

      After more than three decades of silence, Allison
      spoke with Salon over several days before and
      during the Republican National Convention this week -
      motivated, as she acknowledged, by a
      complex mixture of emotions. They include pride in her
      late husband's accomplishments, a desire to
      see him remembered, and concern about the apparent
      double standard in Bush surrogates attacking
      John Kerry's Vietnam War record while ignoring the
      president's irresponsible conduct during the war.
      She also admits to bewilderment and hurt over the
      rupture her husband experienced in his friendship
      with George and Barbara Bush. To this day, Allison is
      unsure what caused the break, though she
      suspects it had something to do with her husband's
      opposition to the elder Bush becoming chairman
      of the Republican National Committee under President

      "Something happened that I don't know about. But I
      do know that Jimmy didn't expect it, and it
      broke his heart," she said, describing a ruthless side
      to the genial Bush clan of which few outsiders
      are aware.

      Personal history aside, Allison's recollections of
      the young George Bush in Alabama in 1972 are
      relevant as a contrast to the medals for valor and
      bravery that Kerry won in Vietnam in the same era.
      An apparent front group for the Bush campaign, Swift
      Boat Veterans for Truth, has attacked Kerry in
      television ads as a liar and traitor to veterans for
      later opposing a war that cost 58,000 American lives.
      Bush, who has resisted calls from former Vietnam War
      POW John McCain, R-Ariz., to repudiate the
      Swift Boat ads, has said he served honorably in the
      National Guard.

      Allison's account corroborates a Washington Post
      investigation in February that found no credible
      witnesses to the service in the Alabama National Guard
      that Bush maintains he performed, despite a
      lack of documentary evidence. Asked if she'd ever seen
      Bush in a uniform, Allison said: "Good lord,
      no. I had no idea that the National Guard was involved
      in his life in any way." Allison also confirmed
      previously published accounts that Bush often showed
      up in the Blount campaign offices around
      noon, boasting about how much alcohol he had consumed
      the night before. (Bush has admitted that
      he was a heavy drinker in those years, but he has
      refused to say whether he also used drugs).

      "After about a month I asked Jimmy what was
      Georgie's job, because I couldn't figure it out. I never
      saw him do anything. He told me it basically consisted
      of him contacting people who were impressed
      by his name and asking for contributions and support,"
      Allison said.

      C. Murphy Archibald, a nephew of Red Blount by
      marriage and a Vietnam veteran who volunteered
      on the campaign from September 1972 until election
      night, corroborated Allison's recollections,
      though he doesn't recall that the Bush name carried
      much cachet in Alabama at the time. "I say that
      because the scuttlebutt on the campaign was that
      Allison was very sharp and might actually be able
      to pull off this difficult race" against the incumbent
      Democrat, Sen. John Sparkman, Archibald said.
      "But then no one understood why he brought this young
      guy from Texas along. It was like, 'Who was
      this guy who comes in late and leaves early? And why
      would Jimmy Allison, who was so impressive,
      bring him on?'"

      Bush, who had a paid slot as Allison's deputy in a
      campaign staffed largely by volunteers, sat in a
      little office next to Allison's, said Archibald, a
      workers compensation lawyer in Charlotte, N.C. Indeed,
      when Bush was actually there, he did make phone calls
      to county chairmen. But he neglected his
      other duty: the mundane but important task of mailing
      out campaign materials to the county
      campaign chairs. Archibald took up the slack, at
      Allison's request. "Jimmy didn't say anything about
      George. He just said, 'These materials are not getting
      out. It's causing the candidate problems. Will
      you take it over?'"

      While Kerry earned a Silver Star and a Bronze Star
      after saving a crewmate's life under fire on the
      Mekong River in Vietnam, by contrast, the Georgie that
      Allison knew was a young man whose
      parents did not allow him to live with the
      consequences of his own mistakes. His powerful father -
      whom the son seemed to both idolize and resent - was a
      lifeline for Bush out of predicaments. After
      Bush graduated from Yale in 1968, his slot in the
      Texas Air National Guard allowed him to avoid
      active duty service in Vietnam. The former speaker of
      the Texas state House, Democrat Ben Barnes,
      now admits he pulled strings to get Bush his coveted
      guard slot, and says he's "ashamed" of the
      deed. "60 Minutes" will air an interview with Barnes
      next Wednesday, but George H.W. Bush
      denounced Barnes' claims in an interview aired on
      CBS. "They keep saying that and it's a lie, a total
      lie. Nobody's come up with any evidence, and yet it's
      repeated all the time," the former president
      said, in what could just as well describe the playbook
      for the Swift Boat Veterans ads.

      Yet, after receiving unusual permission to transfer
      to the Alabama Guard from Texas, Bush has
      produced no evidence he showed up for service for
      anything other than a dental exam. Later, Bush
      would trade on his father's connections to enter the
      oil business, and when his ventures failed, trade
      on more connections to find investors to bail him out.
      Linda Allison's story fills in the details about a
      missing chapter in the story of how George Bush Sr.'s
      friends helped his wastrel son. The Bush
      campaign, decamped to New York for the convention, did
      not return a phone call by late Wednesday.

      A graceful blonde with a Texas drawl, Linda Allison
      now lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan,
      in an apartment decorated in the dusky tones of
      Tuscany with a magnificent view of the high-rises
      framing Central Park. I visited her there Monday on
      the opening night of the Republican National
      Convention as she related publicly for the first time
      her long and ultimately painful history with the
      Bush family. On the table between us were two
      photographs of her late husband - an elfin man with
      curly hair, shown in animated conversation. From her
      drawers she pulled out old letters and notes
      from Barbara Bush, George H.W. Bush and even one from
      George W. Bush, written to Jimmy in 1978
      as he was dying of cancer.

      Jimmy Allison's family owned the Midland Reporter-
      Telegram and other small-town newspapers, and
      they were part of the establishment in the West Texas
      oil town where Bush senior made his fortune
      and Bush junior grew up. Still, Allison has been
      almost completely forgotten in the semi-official
      stories of the Bush dynasty's rise; his role as
      political fixer and family friend has been airbrushed out
      of Barbara Bush's autobiography and other accounts.
      But he was one of the originators of what
      evolved into the GOP's "Southern strategy," helping
      George H.W. Bush win election to Congress in
      1966 at a time when Republicans in Texas were
      virtually unheard of.

      The Blount Senate campaign he ran against the
      Democrat, Sparkman, in 1972 was notable for a
      dirty racial trick: The Blount side edited a
      transcript of a radio interview Sparkman had given to make
      it appear he supported busing, a poison position at
      that time in the South. When Sparkman found an
      unedited script and exposed the trick, the Blount
      campaign was finished. But it was an early
      introduction for Bush to the kinds of tricks that
      later Republican strategists associated with the Bush
      political machine, from Lee Atwater to Karl Rove,
      would use against Democrats, often to victorious

      After Bush won a House seat in 1966, Allison
      followed his patron to Washington as the top staffer in
      his congressional office and served as deputy director
      of the Republican National Committee in 1969
      and 1970 under President Nixon. It was Allison who
      advised George W. Bush to return to Midland
      after Harvard Business School to seek his business
      fortune in the booming oil industry, advice that
      Bush recalled fondly in a 2001 speech in Midland. When
      Allison died at age 46, after an agonizing
      battle with lymphoma, both George H.W. Bush and George
      W. Bush served as pallbearers.

      "Aide, confidant, campaign manager, source of joke
      material, alter ego - Allison and Bush were
      bonded by an uncommon loyalty," former Reagan White
      House deputy press secretary Peter
      Roussel, who got his start in politics when Allison
      invited him to work for Bush's 1968 congressional
      reelection campaign, wrote in a 1988 newspaper column
      dedicated to Allison.

      Linda, too, had a long, though not as close,
      relationship with the Bushes. She remembers watching
      Bush in 1964 at a campaign appearance at the Adolphus
      Hotel in Dallas, when she was 32 years old
      and he was running for the Republican nomination for
      U.S. Senate. "He was so appealing to me. He
      said all the things that I believed in, and he wasn't
      like all the other Republicans running in Texas at
      that time, who were real right-wingers. He had a
      bigger vision of what the Republican Party could be. I
      volunteered for his campaign that day, and that's how
      I ended up being his Dallas County
      headquarters chairman." Over the years, Linda kept
      volunteering with the local Republican Party.
      "And they gave me bigger and bigger things to do. They
      appreciated me. And I felt like I belonged to
      something," she said.

      But it was also this sense of being connected to a
      larger, more powerful force that seduced the
      Allisons - a trap that many aides and friends of
      important politicians fall into. The dynamic allowed the
      Bushes - Barbara especially, Allison said - to
      manipulate the friends and supporters they needed to
      further their ambitions, a lesson she says could not
      have been lost on the young George. "They had a
      way of anointing you, then pushing you out," she
      said. "It was like a mind game. It was very subtle,
      very hard to describe. But when you were out, you
      wanted desperately to be let back in." It was how
      she and Jimmy felt when, in 1973, they experienced a
      strange and, to Allison, never fully explained
      rupture with the Bushes, which took place against the
      backdrop of boorish behavior by their son that
      persisted during the time he was nominally under the
      Allisons' care.

      The break happened not long after a boozy election-
      night wake for Blount, who lost his Senate bid
      to the incumbent Democrat, John Sparkman. Leaving the
      election-night "celebration," Allison
      remembers encountering George W. Bush in the parking
      lot, urinating on a car, and hearing later
      about how he'd yelled obscenities at police officers
      that night. Bush left a house he'd rented in
      Montgomery trashed - the furniture broken, walls
      damaged and a chandelier destroyed, the
      Birmingham News reported in February. "He was just a
      rich kid who had no respect for other people's
      possessions," Mary Smith, a member of the family who
      rented the house, told the newspaper, adding
      that a bill sent to Bush for repairs was never paid.
      And a month later, in December, during a visit to
      his parents' home in Washington, Bush drunkenly
      challenged his father to go "mano a mano," as has
      often been reported.

      Around the same time, for the 1972 Christmas
      holiday, the Allisons met up with the Bushes on
      vacation in Hobe Sound, Fla. Tension was still evident
      between Bush and his parents. Linda was a
      passenger in a car driven by Barbara Bush as they
      headed to lunch at the local beach club. Bush,
      who was 26 years old, got on a bicycle and rode in
      front of the car in a slow, serpentine manner,
      forcing his mother to crawl along. "He rode so slowly
      that he kept having to put his foot down to get
      his balance, and he kept in a weaving pattern so we
      couldn't get past," Allison recalled. "He was
      obviously furious with his mother about something, and
      she was furious at him, too."

      Jimmy, meanwhile, had larger issues on his mind.
      According to Linda, he was hoping to use the
      visit in Florida to convince Bush to turn down the
      chairmanship of the Republican National Committee
      because he didn't trust Nixon or his palace guard. "He
      had been so appalled at the Ehrlichman,
      Haldeman, Colson group, and he thought they'd
      sacrifice George. He just wanted to warn him, as a
      friend," Allison told me.

      Apparently, Jimmy Allison's advice was not
      appreciated. In Hobe Sound, Bush senior kept trying to
      avoid talking with Jimmy about the RNC, Allison said.
      Then later, as the Allisons took their leave,
      Barbara "thanked" them for their Christmas present
      with unexpected cruelty. "She said, 'I'm so sorry,
      but we've been so busy this year that we didn't have
      time to do anything for our political
      acquaintances.' I swear to God, I'll never forget
      those two words as long as I live. For her to say that
      was absolutely appalling. Mind you, Jimmy was an old,
      old friend. And I had stayed as a houseguest
      with the Bushes, been invited in my pajamas into their
      bedroom to read the papers and drink coffee
      while Bar rode her exercise bicycle.

      "Big George was just stricken by this," Allison
      continued. "There was a wet bar in the hall on the
      way to the front door. He grabbed this moldy bottle of
      Mai Tai that he said had been given to him by
      the president of China, and he said we just had to
      have it. Then he plucked this ostrich egg in a
      beaded bag from a shelf that he said had been given to
      him by the ambassador to the U.N. from
      Nigeria or someplace, and gave it to us. Can you
      imagine how embarrassing that was?"

      The Allisons found they were no longer being invited
      to the Sunday cookouts the Bushes held to
      chew over the week's political events. And though
      Jimmy had once been deputy chairman of the
      RNC, when Bush chaired the committee, he "couldn't
      even get invited to a cocktail party there,"
      Allison said. The freeze-out was subtle and
      surgical. "It took us some time to realize we'd been
      lopped off," she said. At home, the Allisons once
      decided to try that dusty bottle of Mai Tai from
      China that Bush had thrust into their hands in Hobe
      Sound. They were unable to drink the liquor. "It
      was so foul. The smell that came out of that thing! We
      just looked at each other," Allison said.

      By 1978, Jimmy was dying. Whether out of guilt,
      genuine affection for old times or a desire to
      maintain appearances with a revered member of the
      Midland establishment, the Bushes responded
      with warmth. Jimmy's heart soared, Allison said.

      George W. Bush, then running unsuccessfully for
      Congress, wrote his old mentor a letter. "Every
      person I see in Midland asks about you and sends their
      regards," Bush wrote. "Like a younger
      brother, I have treasured your advice, your guidance
      and most importantly your never selfish
      friendship." And shortly before he died, George H.W.
      Bush -­ by then an executive at a bank in
      Houston after having served as head of the Central
      Intelligence Agency -­ invited Jimmy back to his
      home. Elated, Jimmy persuaded the doctors to discharge
      him for the visit, Linda said. But Linda, who
      was not consulted, was incensed. Though she drove him
      to the Bushes, she refused to go in. "I was
      so furious. I had no way to take care of him. He was
      so weak, and they had taken him off the
      morphine, and he was in great pain," she said.

      In a letter to the editor of Allison's newspaper in
      Midland after his death, Bush recalled that day: "He
      swam and relaxed. He was very weak but the warm water
      soothed him. He gave us hope. 'I'm going
      to make it,' he said."

      But soon after Linda picked him up, Jimmy
      crashed. "He was in so much pain. It was unreal." At
      the emergency room, he waited 10 hours for medical
      attention. "I begged them to do something. I
      begged," she said, wiping tears from her eyes. "He was
      in so much pain. I was so angry." Jimmy
      died about a week later.

      More than a quarter century later, George W. Bush is
      running for reelection as a "war" president. At
      the Republican Convention, delegates pass out Purple
      Heart stickers mocking Kerry's Vietnam
      wounds as "a self-inflicted scratch," and George H.W.
      Bush, speaking on CNN, lauds the Swift Boat
      Veterans' claims against Kerry as "rather compelling."
      Karl Rove tells the Associated Press that
      Kerry's opposition to a war that Bush avoided had
      served to "tarnish the records and service of people
      who were defending our country and fighting
      communism." Barbara Bush tells USA Today: "I die over
      every untruth that I hear about George - I mean, every

      Linda Allison watches it all from her New York
      apartment. About George W. Bush's disputed
      sojourn in Alabama, she asks simply: "Can we all be


      Jump to TO Features for Friday September 3, 2004

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