Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford
During the past Republican primary in South Carolina, I noticed a very sad thing. Candidate Donald Trump attacked candidate Jeb Bush by referring to his brother former President George W. Bush. When you get challenged by referring to someone close to you don’t rattle on. Cut the debate on that topic and get back to the subject at hand – leading America as President. The worst part of this engagement is that Trump was not accurate on a lot of the accusations about the 43rd President. If that wasn’t enough, Jeb asked for more by including his mother and father in the argument. Trump ate it up.
It was truly sad to see former First Lady Barbara Bush slowly moving with the help of a walker in freezing New Hampshire weather showing support for her son. The 90-year-old great-grandmother didn’t have to do this. I shook my head looking at this and said to myself, “You are going too far Jeb. People are going to wonder about your strength – bringing in your aging mother to fight your battles. Trump wisely avoided any bad words to or about her. It is the visual that said it all.
However, Trump saw an opening by Jeb bringing in his brother to South Carolina. He wrongly referred to George W. Bush as a “liar who wrongly led us into the Iraq War. He claimed there were weapons of mass destruction and there weren’t. Thousands of our soldiers died because of that.” Jeb had no comeback. He could have if he would have thought about the claim. Iraq had plenty of weapons of mass destruction – mainly chemical weapons which it would use from time to time against rebelling Kurds and Shiites. I believe this fact didn’t come to Jeb’s mind. All he was apparently thinking was the subject of nuclear weapons. He should have ignored the thought of nuclear weapons and concentrated on chemical weapons and scud missiles that could reach our ships and Israel.
He should have turned this around by eloquently explaining the legacy of the Bush name. His grandfather, Prescott Bush, was a senator from New Hampshire and a strong advocate for civil rights. In fact, he played a very valuable role in the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. He valiantly fought the Democratic senators who opposed it and he convinced President Eisenhower to support it. This encouraged President Eisenhower to begin integrating southern schools – an event he failed to do for our troops while managing World War II.
From there he could have gone to his father, President George Prescott Walker Bush. Who furthered the implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Most of the minority business programs that we have today where implemented during his terms of Vice President and then of President. More Black millionaires evolved under the government programs such as the 8a Program during those three terms.
Then he could have spoken of the great things his brother, President George W. Bush accomplished. During the 43rd President’s term Black business turned around. Under his predecessor, William J. Clinton had a less than glamorous period for Black owned firms. The 8a program started reversing as the Department of Defense started directing their 8a contracts to Alaskan Native Corporations, which was a total sham. White firms could claim some type of relationship with one of the Alaskan tribes and then get no bid billion dollar contracts over the years. We started noticing a drop of a billion dollars per year for Black 8a firms beginning in the mid – 1990’s.
He could have stated that during the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding (after a meeting with the National Black Chamber of Commerce), President George W. Bush opened the doors for Black contractors. Within three years more than $3 billion dollars were earned by Black participating companies.
I remember getting per my request weekly reports from FEMA stating the dollar amount, name of contractors and contact info to verify from that contractor. By contrast when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, the current Administration claimed they didn’t keep such numbers – TOTAL LIE.
In terms of Capital Access, under George W. Bush SBA loans grew from 4% to 8%. Since then, the current administration has decreased that amount to 2%.
President George W. Bush proclaimed all government contractual projects to be “Right to Work.” The first Executive Order by President Obama was to reverse that order and make all projects over $1 million to be union only which drastically reduced contracts and hiring of Blacks.
Jeb, all you had to do was stand tall and eloquently describe the brilliant legacy of the Bush family – your family. You have a whole lot to be proud of and there is no need to hesitate. But you didn’t do this and got hustled. Your run for President is now suspended.
Mr. Alford is the President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www. nationalbcc.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org .