Dear Friend,

This year Democracy Now! is celebrating our 25th anniversary—that’s 25 years of bringing you fearless, independent journalism. Since our first broadcast in 1996, Democracy Now! has refused to take corporate or government funding, because nothing is more important to us than our editorial independence. But that means we rely on you, our audience, for support. If everyone who tunes in to Democracy Now! gave just $4, we could cover our operating expenses for the entire year. Really, that’s all it would take. Right now a generous donor will DOUBLE your donation, making it twice as valuable to Democracy Now! Please do your part today, and thank you so much.
-Amy Goodman

Non-commercial news needs your support.

We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.

Please do your part today.


American Dynasty: Fmr. Top Republican Strategist Discusses The Bush Family’s Rise To Power Since WWI

Media Options

We speak with Kevin Phillips, a former top Republican strategist, who was generally acknowledged as the Republican party’s principal electoral theoretician after Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980. His latest book, American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics in the House of Bush examines how the Bush family has been consolidating its power for four generations. [includes transcript]

We speak with Kevin Phillips is a former top Republican strategist. He first became well known in 1969 with the publication of his book his book The Emerging Republican Majority which Newsweek described as “the political bible of the Nixon Administration.”

After Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, Phillips was generally acknowledged as the Republican party’s principal electoral theoretician. In 1982, the Wall Street Journal described him as “the leading conservative electoral analyst — the man who invented the Sun Belt, named the New Right, and prophesied 'The Emerging Republican Majority' in 1969.”

He has since become a prolific writer and a critic of the current state of the Republican Party. Among his books are Wealth and Democracy and The Politics of Rich and Poor.

His latest book is American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics in the House of Bush. It examines how the Bush family has been consolidating its power for four generations and how the Bushes have been staging their ascent to national power since World War I.

Related Story

StoryNov 29, 2021Self-Defense? After Rittenhouse, Calls to Drop Murder Charges Against Black Teen Chrystul Kizer
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Today we turn to Kevin Phillips, talking about American dynasty, aristocracy, fortune, and the politics of deceit in the house of Bush. Phillips is a former top Republican strategist. He first became well known in 1969 with the publication of his book, ?he Emerging Republican Majority,?which Newsweek described as the political bible of the Nixon administration. After Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, Phillips was generally acknowledged as the Republican Party’s principle electoral theoretician. In 1982, the Wall Street Journal described him as the leading conservative electoral analyst, the man who invented the Sun Belt, named the New Right and prophesied ?he Emerging Republican Majority?in 1969. He since has become a prolific writer and a critic of the current state of the Republican Party. Among his books are ?ealth and Democracy and The Politics of Rich and Poor.?He game into our new studios here at Downtown Community Television in the bottom floor of the firehouse, where the engines used to come in and out. He came in last week to talk about his book, ?merican Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: It’s kind of amazing because it really did fly in under the radar. The biographies that were written about George H. W. Bush in the 1980’s, where actually, one was written by a fellow who had worked for him at the United Nations and the second was by a social chum from Rhode Island who had a C.I.A. connection, like I think Bush did. Oddly enough, nothing was ever really done by somebody else, and the up shot of this was, as you say, that nobody looked at the two previous generations in any depth. Now, they have had scatterings, but — what really happened where the Bush dynasty started was the role of the current president’s two great grandfathers in the period around World War I. Now, the one who was really the founding father, George Herbert Walker, that’s a familiar set names in terms of the names of the 41st and 43rd presidents. He was a financier from St. Louis, very hard-charging and very successful, was very much involved in his earlier days before World War I in repackaging companies in the south central United States, railroads, gas companies and so forth. He became known to the Harrimans who were Union Pacific and railroad people, at very large scale in that role. Ultimately, Averell Harriman lined him up as Harriman’s partner in 1919. But before that, he and his chums from St. Louis were very much involved in the wartime finance and the relations with the allies. The United States provided huge amounts of materiel for the British and French. George H. Walker ultimately came out of all of this as a major, major player on Wall Street in the 1920’s and 1930’s. What he did in that role with Harriman was that they did a lot of business in France — a little in France and mostly in Germany and Russia. Some of these episodes were really diplomacy on a pretty grand scale, because George H. Walker and Harriman went in and developed and tried to fix up the Russian oil industry in the Caucasus as things would happen 400 miles from Iraq where we are now. That didn’t go over too well with some of the people in Washington, but they practically had under Harriman and Walker a kind of little intelligence operation in the investment business. Through one of the companies that they were involved in, the American International Corporation, which had played a considerable role in World War I they actually hired as one of their directors, the fellow who had been the number two in the State Department intelligence operation. To make a long story short, his role in international business, George H. Walker’s, was huge: ties to Russia and Germany and the ties to Germany will swim back into the portrait a little later. Samuel Prescott Bush, who was another great grandfather of the current president’s was a major steel executive in Ohio. And his connection was to the Rockefellers. Because Standard Oil of Ohio, the famous Standard Oil of the history books, owned some of the shares in Buckeye Casting, which was the business of Sam Bush.

So, he was connected to the Rockefellers, and Standard Oil used its power over the railroad industry through carrying oil to get their business for Buckeye Castings, which was mostly a railroad equipment. But during World War I, Buckeye Castings did war manufacturing, barrels for guns and casings for shells and so forth. But Sam Bush went to Washington and he was the — in charge of the section of the war industry’s board that regulated small arms, ammunition, and ordinance, ordinance being guns, basically, of an artillery nature. He was a major player in the wartime regulation of who was selling what in terms munitions. By the time the two streams converge, you get Samuel Bush’s son, Prescott, marrying George H. Walker’s daughter, Dorothy in St. Louis in 1921. What you have got is a family union that had more than a little bit to do with the emergence of the military industrial complex in the United States. And I was on a couple of St. Louis radio stations on the day that the president went out to St. Louis, and I was asked by one of them, had I noticed that he never introduces himself as having had any tie to St. Louis. I said, I wasn’t too surprised, because St. Louis was the — takes you back into the George H. Walker and the whole role of that family, and I went through what the role was. So, that’s a very cursory look at Sam Bush and George H. Walker. These were big-time players behind the scenes in Washington, in World War I, and then especially George H. Walker in the 1920’s, and Prescott Bush, who is the current president’s grandfather was George H. Walker’s assistant and prot?g? in the W. A. Harriman firm and then in Brown Brothers Harriman, and he, too, had a lot of dealings with the intelligence services in Russia and Germany.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about that as we move to the second World War, as we move to the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency where he comes from, and where the secret societies that all of the Bushes seem to be a part of, particularly at Yale, Skull and Bones, fits into this?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: I hate to overdo the secret societies, because the average person has no idea of this. And I went to Harvard Law School and then Harvard has these secret societies, too. But the ones at Yale, I think, if anything, are more influential it’s hard to cold turkey reign in and say, my god, Skull and Bones, this is virtually like a diplomatic or international business piracy. You can almost see the pirate flag. But they all took it very serious because admiral Harriman had, instead of going to Harvard and getting involved in The Porks, so to speak, which was the club up at Harvard, he went to Yale and did Skull and Bones. A crowd of people who were involved in operations like National City Bank, and Guaranteed Trust and just a whole lot of people that were major players in finance were Skull and Bones. The crowd that was at W.A. Harriman was full of Skull and Bones people and Prescott Bush was Skull and Bones. A lot of these people who were Skull and Bones wound up in the intelligence services or they were assistant secretaries for aviation in the war department and things like this. It was a whole network.

AMY GOODMAN: But for people who don’t know what Skull and Bones is, what you are referring to…

KEVIN PHILLIPS: It’s a Yale secret society. And Yale has other secret societies. Another one was called Book and Snake. So, they came up with these names. But these people took secrecy incredibly seriously. Books that have been written about Skull and Bones, they have got a vault at Yale and nobody is supposed to be able to get in there. You cannot even tell your wife about Skull and Bones. Averell Harriman, his wife received a letter that was in hieroglyphics, and she didn’t know what to make of this, and Averell Harriman said, well, that’s Skull and Bones, and I have got to tell you about that, and he said, oh, no, I cannot tell you about that. If you want to know why they deal in secrecy and all of this, it’s because, (A), you have got Skull and Bones, and (B), so many of them were also in the intelligence services and that whole side of Washington and New York.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, can you talk about that, the beginning of intelligence and how the Bush family fits into the beginning of intelligence agencies?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well this gets complicated because nobody quite agrees when the Intelligence Agency started. But Yale was front and center because the statue that’s in front of the C.I.A. is Nathan Hale. Nathan Hale’s statue that they copied that from appears in front of Connecticut Hall at Yale in New Haven. If you go back to the revolution you have Yale and the secret service.

AMY GOODMAN: And it also goes over to Andover where Bush went as well.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Andover was really in the thick of this sort of stuff. They had a secret society sort of junior grade where you practiced to be a Skull and Bones type at Yale when you were at Andover. It all sounds like a joke today, but it certainly wasn’t back then. What happened was the crowd that was in with Prescott Bush and George H. Walker with W. A. Harriman, a number of them became prominent in the intelligence community and then when you get to the firm that was merged out of W. A. Harriman, which was Brown Brothers Harriman, one of the partners there was Robert A. Lovett, who was the son of one of the big cheeses in Harriman’s railroad operation. I mean it all fits together. Robert A. Lovett was the man who came up with the blueprint for the C.I.A. after World War II, which was never acknowledged and only became public knowledge — maybe 15, 20 years ago. So, he was a major player, and Prescott Bush, I have no doubt, was very close to the intelligence agencies during World War II. He was a director of two companies, one was Dresser Industries, which is now part of Halliburton, and the second was Vanadium Corporation of America. They were both involved in the atomic energy project. Prescott Bush was a friend of Alan Dulles, who went on to be the C.I.A. director, but he was also a lawyer in the 1930’s for some of the Brown Bros. Harriman international gamesmanship, so to speak. They were very tightly knit into all of this. The real thing about the Bushes is how far back they go in this loose combination of investment banking, Wall Street law, the intelligence community, the international business, the state department, and the war department.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to former top republican strategist Kevin Phillips. His new book is called, ?merican Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.?We’ll be back with him in a minute.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, the War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. As we continue our conversation with Kevin Phillips, who has written a new book called “American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.” He talks about how the world is fully aware of the family ties between the 41st and 43rd American presidents, but Phillips shows how not two, but four generations of Bushes have mounted the ladder of national power since World War I. Since then, through a recurrent flair for old boy networking at Yale, on Wall Street, in the Senate and the C.I.A., and through their involvement in finance, energy and national security, three key enterprises of the American 20th century, the Bush family has moved to the forefront. Phillips argues the Bush family has parlayed its financial and social credentials, its aristocracy into political and dynastic clout, thereby subverting the very core of democracy, he says. We continued the conversation when I asked him about the Bush family generations, and their relationship with Cuba.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: George H. Walker was a real piece of work. I mean, he was a buccaneer. He was sort of a Joe Kennedy, but with a social register type qualification. He got involved in the 1920’s with a bunch of Cuban companies, because of his ties to Percy Rockefeller and the National City Bank. They handled a lot of investments in Cuba. He was a director during the 1920’s of eight or nine Cuban companies. George H. Walker had ties to the — investment ties that were independent, so he had invested in some of these companies. One of them turned out several — several turned out to merge into something called West Indies Sugar. West Indies Sugar became one of the major American companies in Cuba, and George H. Walker Jr., the son of George H. Walker and Prescott, Bush’s cousin was a director, held a family seat on West Indies Sugar. Now during the late 1950’s, West Indies Sugar was based in the Indy province in Cuba. That’s where the Castro insurgency was developing. Castro and his people sort of shook down West Indies Sugar. They used their trucks and hit them up for money and so forth. They were unhappy with the Castro movement. In 1959 or 1960, I forget which year, Castro’s people nationalized West Indies Sugar, and at this time George H. W. Bush’s uncle was Director of West Indies Sugar. The value of West Indies sugar had been about $50 million and it wound up being virtually peanuts. I don’t know how much their stake was. I couldn’t begin to guess. It may not have been nearly as much as one would suggest from the bigger numbers. They were an unhappy set of campers when West Indies Sugar went bye-bye.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the date, November 29, 1963.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: That was the date, I believe, when a document came out of the F.B.I. in which they mentioned having briefed a George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency on the rest of this in Miami after the Kennedy assassination. The C.I.A. and “The Nation” magazine had a couple of articles about this. This is where that came from. The C.I.A. said, well, it’s a different George Bush. And it turned out they were talking about a fellow who was a G.S.5, a low-grade federal classification, was an analyst that he analyzed coastlines, so it couldn’t have been the same. They were coming up with a red herring there. The allegations of George H. W. Bush’s involvement in the C.I.A. often come back to something in the Caribbean and something involving the Bay of Pigs. This is just another suggestion of the probable C.I.A. connections of some sort of George H. W. Bush.

AMY GOODMAN: This was just a week after President Kennedy was assassinated?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: That’s right.

AMY GOODMAN: You seem to have evolved yourself during this book. You write about your dismay and disillusionment, you said, as you were writing, more than you have imagined. The result, an unusual and unflattering portrait of a great family, great in power, not morality, that has built a base over the course of the 20th century in the back corridors of the new Military Industrial Complex and in close association with the growing intelligence and national security establishments. You talk about the three presidents from Texas and their three wars, Lyndon Johnson? Vietnam, and the Bushes?Iraq, Iraq and how unusual that is. The two Bushes, one carrying on the legacy of the other.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: There are a bunch of questions in that question. It’s difficult for me to know where to start slicing it. The emergence of the Military Industrial Complex is often something that the average American may think is an unfair term that rose with the left and so forth. In fact, Dwight Eisenhower when he gave his farewell address in 1961, in leaving the presidency, good Republican President from my standpoint of my old politics, warned against the Military Industrial Complex and the danger it would pose to the United States if it gained power. I was a little bit appalled as I got into all of this to see that probably the Bushes were connected with the rise of exactly what Eisenhower had warned against. And the Republican I work for, Richard Nixon, when I wrote a book called ?he Politics of Rich and Poor?that came out in 1990, which attacked Bush economic policies, he gave me the lead quote on the back of the book jacket, and the Bush people didn’t like that at all. I would say that anybody that figures that the Republicans were complicit in doing all of this or another bunch of Republicans that were against it. In no sense does this represent, I think, what a lot of the people I knew in the Republican party in the 1960’s, and even in the 1970’s wanted to see happen. And what’s happening with the emergence of this Military Industrial Intelligence Complex is that you have had a family able to create a dynasty, and the dynasty has become the first family in American politics to basically pass the presidency to the eldest son eight years after his father left office. That’s a major change in democratic — with a small d, and republican with a small r, governance in the United States. And as the further I got into this, the more that I found that it wasn’t simply a phenomenon of dynasty, but it had all of these underlying connections. I had thought there were probably things like this, because George H. W., as he rose through the ranks of politics in Washington, he never seemed to win elections. He was defeated twice in Texas senate races, but, you know, he continued to thrive. What he had were these connections to the establishment and a kind of permanent government that kept him going even though he didn’t really have the elections success. And I always thought that, but as I got into this book, and I could see the family background, and how the economics and the corporate connections interacted with the intelligence and war departments and so forth, I really began to be convinced that there was something pretty big here.

AMY GOODMAN: You have appendixes in this book. Appendix B reviews the family’s penchant for secrecy and for cleaning and locking up government records. Can you talk about not just the secrecy of the intelligence agency, but this idea of — well of wiping things out, information.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, you have a whole set of factors that add up to — have made the Bushes favor this sort of disinformational clandestine approach. The first is simply that they were — both of the great grandparents were involved in this backstage World War I. A lot of it would have been quite secret. They were involved in munitions. They were involved in supplies for the British and the French and what have you. They basically didn’t talk about it a lot. That’s not unreasonable if you come out of that. Then, when their businesses in the 1920’s, or George Herbert Walker’s businesses, they were clandestine because he was doing stuff that the government didn’t know about, and in some cases when they knew about it, they didn’t like it. If so, you have the sense of being closemouthed. Prescott Bush was in Skull and Bones. And all of the Skull and Bones people, that was secrecy to the end degree. Averill Harriman, he used his Skull and Bones code number on his briefcase and all of this, and I mean, here we’re talking about a Democrat. I mean it was bipartisan. So, they had that whole sense of secrecy from Skull and Bones. They had the intelligence communities. The C.I.A. obviously is an institution that has indulged enormously in disinformation and deceit. Sometimes they probably had a good reason. Other times they did not have a good reason. The Bushes absorbed after lot of this, but the Bushes would also — let’s call it deceive about their economic status. The President’s grandfather, Prescott Bush was actually quoted, and I have it in there somewhere, about how his father couldn’t afford to send him to law school. He didn’t have enough money. His father had been a business partner of John D. Rockefeller’s brother. He made a lot of money during the war. I was able to get — World War I. I was able to get a book on business that included something about Buckeye Steel Castings. That was a very successful company based on war contracts. So, Prescott Bush’s father had plenty of money, but he didn’t want people to know that. He didn’t want people to know about the Rockefeller connection. He did all of this poor mouthing because George H. W. would talk about when he interviewed for a job. I don’t think he ever interviewed for a job in his life. His father had all of these connections. So, there was a major misrepresentation there, too. The last thing they did, which was involved in this kind of secrecy disinformation, and I don’t know when it started, but they got into Machiavelli. I was always interested in Machiavelli from the stand point of he was influential in change in Renaissance politics in Europe and in Italy. But interestingly enough, both of the Bush presidents have had political advisers who read Machiavelli. Karl Rove, the advisor to George W., and Lee Atwater was the adviser to George H. W. Now, Rove was quoted in one of the books that came out recently as saying that Lee Atwater, who was his friend, reread Machiavelli’s “The Prince” once a year to sort of keep up on the wisdom of the master, so it speak What Machiavelli says in one of these book, most notefully, the prince, is that the prince has to be all talk about humanity and religion and fairness and nice-nice type of things, but what really makes a prince a success is to deceive, because you can basically pull the wool over most people’s eyes most of the time. His historical analysis is that people like Pope Alexander VI and others there were successful because they deceived. And his analysis in the discourse is Machiavelli is the — is that the history of success sort of in the Renaissance period didn’t come from force as a way of getting leadership positions. Fraud was how you got leadership positions. I don’t know how many copies of Machiavelli? ?he Prince?are at the C.I.A. It? possible that C.I.A. George H. W. got this from his C.I.A. connections. They would think in terms of keeping things quiet and deceiving. You had the advisers that fed on Machiavelli.

AMY GOODMAN: Would you call President Bush now a liar?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, I would say if it’s a lie to talk about things that involve the C.I.A. with a large degree of falsity, then you probably had a list of liars that began with Woodrow Wilson with the intelligence community went through all of the Republicans in the 1920’s to F.D.R. to Harry Truman to everybody, because the C.I.A. Presidents have not discussed that with candor. In fact, you could probably say with great certainty, if you knew what they really knew, that they had lied. So, you know, I would say that the Bushes have lied about things like this, but I wouldn’t say only the Bushes.

AMY GOODMAN: The Enron-Halliburton state.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, this is again kind of mind boggling to me, because the Enron connection spreads across two generations. Enron through Ken Lay, who was the big cheese at Enron, got involved with George H. W. Bush when he was running for President in 1980. This was before Ken Lay was at Enron. He was at another company. He wasn’t a major force then, but after the 1984 election, when Bush was Vice President, he was working on energy deregulation in the Reagan administration, and Lay, who was interested in deregulating the natural gas industry got a little closer to Bush. I wouldn’t say they were buddies or anything, but Lay was involved in Republican fund raising. When George Bush senior was elected in 1988, he was again closer to Lay. He named Lay as one of the members of the President’s Export Council. He appointed him to head the preparation for one of the economic summits in Texas. This helped Lay’s credibility enormously in terms of expanding overseas and getting support from the Export-Import Bank, which is a government agency that supports foreign operations. Then you pass the baton to George W., who was very close to Ken Lay, in the mid 1980’s. One of the episodes with George W. and Ken Lay is that apparently right after his father was elected in 1988, he is alleged to have gotten on the phone to the minister of whatever it was in Argentina to say that they wanted this contract —- or this pipeline or whatever it was to go to Enron in Argentina, and George W. Appears to have had some relationship according to the Chicago Tribune with gas properties in Texas, where the gas was bought by Enron, but with certainty, as George W. was Governor of Texas, he got very close to Enron again, and of course, when he came to Washington in 2000, Enron was just omni present in terms of appointments in the Commerce Department and the Trade Operations and especially the Energy Department and even the Department of the Army because they were expecting to privatize military procurement of energy, one of the Enron executives went in as Secretary of the Army. So, it’s just quite a relationship. And Halliburton, of course, that was the Dick Cheney company, but Halliburton bought Dresser, which was the industry that Prescott Bush first—-that was the company where he got involved with the oil industry in 1930. So, what Prescott Bush had been involved with Dresser Industries became part of Halliburton, which was the Cheney company, and it all became one group of happy people connected to the Enron-Halliburton administration also known as the Bush-Cheney administration.

AMY GOODMAN: And you talk about how you had independent prosecutor for Clinton, then certainly one should have been appointed when it comes to the Bushes and Enron.

KEVIN PHILLIPS: What you have to bear in mind is that the Republicans were all over Clinton big-time. I didn’t like Bill Clinton, and I thought he disgraced the presidency in the way that he behaved, but the Republicans were trying to nail him 25 hours of every day. And the Democrats are a very feckless crowd by Careson. They just didn’t really go in like sharks for the kill. I think partly because Enron had financed more than a few Democrats, too.

AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to Kevin Phillips, who is a Republican strategist, who has written a very damning book about the Bushes, “American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush,” saying that dynasty subverts democracy. You can talk more about that?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: I think it does. The implicit aspect of dynasty is you get an office by factors and forces that are related to heredity, and a line of descent and a power structure outside of the democratic, small d, and republican, small r, framework. I think that’s what we have seen. The whole notion that the Bushes could put in George W. Bush in 2000, I think, part of that was because there was this enormous religious reaction against Clinton, which is something I try to measure in several portions of the book, too. And Al Gore, who had been a very active Southern Baptist, was sufficiently tainted by the Clinton connection. He couldn’t carry a single southern state. The Bushes orchestrated — I’m not suggesting there was a great nefarious plot, but I think clearly there was an attempt to harness the whole Bush apparatus from his father to get George W. into the White House. Now, you have to go back and look at the family. George H. Walker, four generations in the beginning, was a great believer in politics as the vehicle of real power. And his son-in-lay, Prescott Bush, who in 1952, became a senator from Connecticut, by the late 1950’s was saying to his wife that he wished he had gotten into politics earlier. So, he thought he could have been president. She said that in sources and so she acknowledged that her husband thought he might have become president. This in the early 1960’s, George W., when he was at Andover, said that his father wanted to be president. This was even before he ran for the Senate in 1964. So, they have had the oval office up there in the secret ink on the wall of the house of Bush for a long time. And it was tied in to all of these connections, and to me, that is not what you want to have in the United States. That is not what Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and John Adams basically helped set the country up for. I mean, we just dumped two Georges throwing the — George I George II, and George III, and we dumped George II, and now we have George I — we dumped George III, and now we have George the I and George II. You talk about John Adams’ son, too, became president.

AMY GOODMAN: Yeah, but that doesn’t matter much because it was 24 years after his father left office, and they shared no machinery, and they were in different parties. How did they differ from the Kennedys?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: The Kennedys never became a dynasty that elected more than one president. Now, they certainly tried in 1968 and they tried in 1980. They didn’t pull it off. I think the big difference is that the Kennedys had some connections that they never wanted people to realize. John Kennedy shared a girlfriend with a mob leader, and they obviously bought a couple of ever estates that they carried in 1960. Nobody can debate that now. They were never a dynasty that A. ever got two presidents and B., had this whole tie to the real power structure of United States in investment banking and oil and defense and the old line social upper crust. Because that wasn’t what the Kennedys were. They were outsiders. Joe Kennedy made his money out of bootlegging whiskey.

AMY GOODMAN: Then you have Jeb Bush, who seems to be in the wings?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, Albie is not in the wings. He is actual the one that his parents thought would be the serious presidential candidate. In the 2000 inauguration, his son, George P., actually commented and was quoted by one of the newspapers as saying, you know, nobody ever believed that his uncle would be the one who ran. I don’t think people thought he had the temperament. I’m not certain that Jeb had any temperament either. He? been involved in a lot of cute stuff but hopefully he’s not waiting in the wings.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Bush, the current president, George W., how he rose to power. His re-inventing himself from a silver spoon Yankee WASP to a bible-thumping Texan and how he started his oil company, Arbustos, Spanish for Bush, and the connections for perhaps the Bin Laden family?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, there’s probably not much doubt about this. The Bin Laden family is not the same thing as Osama in the sense that Osama is a black sheep who rebelled against them. But it’s absolutely true that the Arbusto package involved a $50,000 investment by a fellow named James Bath, who was the U.S. representative of the Bin Ladens, and the Khalid Bin-Mafuse, who was also distantly related, because they had all had four wives, and the concubines kids could get in the pie and everything. A lot of people were related. These two are said by some of the experts to have actually been the ones who provided the money that Bath gave to Bush in 1979, and then in his later business, Harkin Energy, which was in the late 1980’s, B.C.C.I., the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, which was mixed up in Iran contra and a lot of other scandals was front and center in Harkin. You have a tie to two of Bush’s oil investments that bring you to the Persian Gulf types. The Bin Laden family was also involved in the Carlysle group, which George H. W., after he left office in 1993, became very prominently affiliated with the Carlysle group. There are these ties.

AMY GOODMAN: What about the fact that the Carlysle group has benefited so handsomely. In other words, George H. W. Bush the father of the President, has benefited so handsomely from the war in Iraq, from the whole militarization after 9-11?

KEVIN PHILLIPS: Well, there were 12 Saudi families who were involved in Carlysle, so you can say that the Saudi establishment also benefited from a lot of this. I have no idea how much money George Bush has taken out of the Carlysle group. I have no idea of the size of his investment. You cannot get these numbers. There’s just no way to get them. So, it’s not fair to say hugely. You can just say it’s pretty probable that he made a fair amount of money on it. Nobody really knows.

AMY GOODMAN: Former White House Represent Strategist, Kevin Phillips. His new book is, “American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.” 5XÌ?

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

Next story from this daily show

DC Holds Early, Non-Binding Primary Election To Focus Attention On Non-Voting Rights Of Residents

Non-commercial news needs your support

We rely on contributions from our viewers and listeners to do our work.
Please do your part today.
Make a donation