One aspect of the late President George H.W. Bush’s extraordinary political career has been getting short shrift by the media.
I refer to a nickname a young member of the U.S. House of Representatives endured while he served there.
George Bush was known to his colleagues as “Rubbers.” How’s that? Well, he was a big-time ally of Planned Parenthood, the organization devoted to family planning, which included the distribution of contraceptives . . . and so forth.
He continued his affinity for Planned Parenthood’s agenda well past his four years in Congress. He spoke to his colleagues in 1968 about Planned Parenthood.
But then he became a national politician in 1980 when Ronald Reagan selected him as his vice presidential running mate. Bush and Reagan had competed against each for the Republican presidential nomination; Bush famously labeled Reagan’s trickle-down fiscal policy “voodoo economics.” That didn’t dissuade The Gipper from tapping Bush as his running mate.
Immediately upon accepting the Republican nominee’s request to join the GOP ticket that year, Bush became a “pro-life” politician.
That immediate transformation from “pro-choice” to “pro-life” always rang hollow to me. Ronald Reagan could not possibly run for the presidency with a running mate who was such a champion for an organization that was total anathema to his political base.
Bush signed on and made a pledge — and I believe it came with a wink and a nod — that he would recite the pro-life mantra when asked to do so.
George Bush never became an outspoken advocate for the pro-life position, which I suppose tells us plenty about his actual devotion to the cause.
But you do what you gotta do . . . I suppose.