George Bush Sr. on Government Reform
President of the U.S., 1989-1993; Former Republican Rep. (TX)
Dodd's financial misconduct led the Senate to enact laws governing the use of political funds for private use, which, fortunately for Richard Nixon and Prescott Bush, had not existed during their slush fund years. George, who was in the House or Representatives at the time, gleefully denounced Dodd. In a letter dated April 8, 1967, defended political fund raisers:
"A party needs money to run: it's that simple-- just dough for the party. .I don't agree that fundraising dinners are corrupt--directly or indirectly. If you Tom Dodd it and add on to the house or send the kids somewhere on the proceeds--that is a horse of a different shade."
Years later George Bush published his letter without a care toward the unseemly comment deriding Tom Dodd.
He won an overwhelming victory--by default. He became the Republican chairman of Harris County in 1962 when his opponent withdrew. As county chairman, he immediately launched an aggressive lawsuit to force legislative reapportionment in Texas to get a winnable district for the Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction. The one big city that Richard Nixon carried in 1960 was Houston.
The lawsuit George lodged rocketed to the US Supreme Court, and in 1964 their ruling of "one man, one vote" fell back in his lap like a bowl of rich cream The ruling required the city of Houston, previously one congressional district, to be divided into 3. One of the new districts--the 7th--was predominantly rich, white, and Republican: that was the district George wanted to represent in Congress.
During George's hearings before the Senate, he would not withdraw from consideration as VP, which inflamed resistance on both sides of the aisle.
Even so, the Senate committee voted 12-4 to confirm George as director of the CIA. After the President read the minority report [from the 4 dissenters], he sensed trouble for full confirmation. He drafted a letter stating: "If Ambassador Bush is confirmed by the Senate as Director of Central Intelligence, I will not consider him as my V.P. running mate in 1976."
George, who later wondered if he had not played into a wily scheme by Ford to deprive him of the vice presidency, was confirmed by the Senate (64-27).
Any more serious efforts to limit the power of the courts will run in to the familiar refrain that this would threaten our liberties. To the contrary, it is now clear that it is the courts that threaten our liberty--the liberty to govern ourselves--more profoundly than does any legislation.
CLINTON: The deficit now has been building up for 12 years. I think we can bring it down by 50 percent in 4 years and grow the economy.
BUSH: Here's some things that will help. Give us a balanced budget amendment. Clinton always talks about Arkansas having a balanced budget. I'd like the [federal] Government to have that. I think it would discipline not only the Congress, which needs it, but also the executive branch. I'd like to have what 43 Governors have, the line-item veto. So if we've got a reckless spending Congress, let the President have a shot at it by wiping out things that are pork barrel. I've proposed another one. Say, you're going to pay a tax of $1,000; you can check 10% of that if you want to, and that 10%, $100, check it off, and make the Government lower the deficit by that amount. If the Congress won't do it, if they can't get together and negotiate how to do that, then you'd have a sequester across the board.
BUSH: I strongly support term limits for Members of Congress. I believe it would return the Government closer to the people. The President's terms are limited to two, a total of 8 years. What's wrong with limiting the terms of Members of Congress to 12? Congress has gotten kind of institutionalized. I think you get a certain bureaucratic arrogance if people stay there too long. So I strongly favor term limits. And how to get them passed? Actually, you'd have to have some amendments to the Constitution because of the way the Constitution reads.
CLINTON: I know they're popular, but I'm against them. It would pose a real problem for a lot of smaller States in the Congress.
PEROT: If you put term limits in and don't reform Government, you won't get the benefit you thought. It takes both. So we need to do the reforms and the term limits. And after we reform it, it won't be a lifetime career opportunity.
|Other past presidents on Government Reform:||George Bush Sr. on other issues:|
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)
Past Vice Presidents:
Natural Law Party