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Gov. Sununu on Pres. George H.W. Bush

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Gov. Sununu at the Reagan Presidential Library Gov. Sununu at the Reagan Presidential Library

John Sununu, a former governor of New Hampshire, was Chief of Staff for the first President Bush. On July 9 he gave a talk at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, and Sun News Miami was there to report on the event.

Sununu made the bold statement that the Bush presidency “was one of the most productive one-term presidencies we have ever had. I truly believe Bush’s four years was the finest single-term presidency.”

So why didn’t he win re-election? Sununu attributed it in part to the “Churchill effect”. He was referring to Winston Churchill’s defeat at the election of 1945, even before World War II ended. “Fast forward to Bush. We exhale and say it’s time for a president that will look forward. There was a wave of believing we no longer had to worry about international security. That was the psychology of the moment,” he said.

The security factor came into play because the Berlin Wall had fallen in 1989, and the Cold War had ended. Bush was identified with the past. Sununu also said “Bush would have won without Ross Perot” draining votes away from him.

Sununu said he took the title of his book from Bush’s 1988 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. In it, he described himself as “the quiet man.” The governor said Bush got that from his Mother, who told him not to brag. He just went out and did it.

She also told him “bend your knees when you volley.” Sununu explained that as meaning “there is a right way to do it. That defined the Bush I knew very well. He tried to get results and got them by doing it quietly. This book defines what I believe are his amazing accomplishments as president.”

Sununu said “Bush is remembered the most as being a foreign policy president. One of the reasons I wrote this book is to remember his domestic legislation. He did more in that area than any presidents except FDR and LBJ. Bush created budget surpluses in the 90s that Clinton loves to take credit for. Bush took the political penalty and gave the country what it needed.” Among other things in his talk at the Presidential library, Sununu discussed agricultural reform, a crime bill, immigration, the Nafta bill, Americans with Disabilities Act and the Brady plan.

On his biggest foreign policy gambit, the first Iraqi War, Sununu said that “when Bush drew a line in the sand he stuck with it.” This was a pointed jab at Pres. Obama, who backed away from an incursion in Syria.

He related an evening when Gen. Colin Powell visited the Oval Office. “He came in very serious, saying we need much more in terms of manpower. I watched Bush. When Powell finished, he said ‘If that’s what you need you have it.’ In my opinion it was one of the most important decisions a commander-in-chief has made since Vietnam. President Johnson stimulated an excuse for failure by giving the military less than what it asked for. Bush’s decision made all the difference in the world.”

On being chief of staff, he said it was not as onerous as many believed. “I had more fun at that than anything else I’ve ever done. Resources were virtually infinite, and I could go home at night with a cleaner desk than any other job I’ve done.”

On the 2016 Presidential election race, Sununu slammed Hillary Clinton. “She is not a good candidate or manager and certainly would not make a good president.”

His book, The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H. W. Bush (412 pages) is published by Broadside Books for $28.99.

An extensive TV interview with Gov. Sununu was done yesterday (July 19) in Boston. In it he talks about his book. See the interview at this link:

http://www.wcvb.com/politics/on-the-record-sununu-segment-1/34198390

 

Photo of Gov. Sununu copyright by C. Cunningham

For more about the Presidential Library, visit their website: www.reaganlibrary.com

 

Upcoming events include a talk and book signing by Vice Pres. Dick Cheney & his daughter Liz on Sept. 9, 2015

David Gegory on Sept. 21

Terry Bradshaw on Oct. 9

Craig Shirley on Oct. 14

Newt Gingerich and his wife Callista  on Oct. 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clifford Cunningham

Dr. Clifford Cunningham is a planetary scientist. He earned his PhD in the history of astronomy at the University of Southern Queensland, and has undergraduate degrees in science and ancient history from the University of Waterloo. In 2014 he was named a contributor to Encyclopedia Britannica. He is the author of 14 books on asteroids and the history of science. In 1999 he appeared on the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Asteroid 4276 was named in his honor in 1990 by the International Astronomical Union based on the recommendation of its bureau located at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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