April 14, 2003
Clash of the SonsIn an interview with Salon, Ron Reagan, son of the former president, had some fiery words to say about the Bush mob, who have gotten quite a bit of mileage playing off Reagan's popularity, calling themselves "Reagan conservatives".
"The Bush people have no right to speak for my father, particularly because of the position he's in now," said Reagan Jr. "Yes, some of the current policies are an extension of the '80s. But the overall thrust of this administration is not my father's -- these people are overly reaching, overly aggressive, overly secretive, and just plain corrupt. I don't trust these people."
The buddy-buddy relationship of Reagan and Bush may have been largely a public show. John Judge has some very interesting theories about the relationship between Reagan and Bush. According to Judge's theory, Bush Sr., who was the former CIA chief with deep roots in the National Security elite, was essentially acting president from the shooting of Reagan in March 1981 throughout Reagan's term.
Reagan was in his 70s when he was shot and the injury, according to Judge's theory, was more severe than publicly revealed. Reagan's convalescence took place in the early months of his administration, when the foundations are always laid in the creation of a new administration. During the early days of the Reagan administration Bush did put mechanisms into place that would later produce the Iran Contra scandal. He became head of several newly formed, and shady, organs of government, including the Special Situation Group and its subordinate Standing Crisis Pre-Planning Group created on May 14, 1982, the Crisis Management Center in February 1983, the Terrorist Incident Working Group on April 3, 1984, and the Task Force on Combating Terrorism or simply Terrorism Task Force in July 1985.
Bush actually signed some of the "findings" required to start a covert action during the time he was acting as president while Reagan was in the hospital. According to Judge, Reagan functioned primarily as a figurehead, while Bush was pulling strings in the background. It could be that when Reagan testified to not being able to remember what happened with the Iran Contra affair, it was partly because he didn't know about some of those things in the first place.
Bush originally ran aggressively against Reagan, calling his economic plans "voodoo" and so forth. But he himself described how he realized at one point that Reagan's appeal to the voters was too great for him to fight. So he latched onto Reagan's coattails as candidate for vice president. Then barely over a month after Reagan took office, he was shot. The shooter was allegedly John Hinckley Jr., who was an errant son of John Hinckley, who was closely tied to the Bush family. In fact, according to the Houston Post of March 31, 1981, Neil Bush, son of George Herbert Walker Bush, had a dinner date with Scott Hinckley the night of the shooting. According to Judge, Bush was behind the assassination attempt. He just couldn't wait to get control.
For some well-documented background on the seedy side of George Senior, see George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography. For the Bush-Hinckley connection and the assassination attempt, see Chapter 17, "The Attempted Coup of March 30, 1981". For more on Bush's establishment of new mechanisms for covert activities under Reagan, see Chapter 18 "Iran Contra".