The Corner


The First Mention of George H. W. Bush in National Review

The first mention — at least that I could find — of George H. W. Bush in National Review’s archives was this item from the front section of the November 10, 1964 issue:

STRUGGLE FOR THE GOP The main contenders for leadership of the GOP, if Goldwater loses, will come from the midwestern heartland and the mighty Lone Star empire: provided that the knights survive the preliminary trial of the elections.

One electoral joust will be fought out in Michigan by the offbeat, uncategorizable but personally formidable George Romney. No one has been able to figure out what Romney or his policies are like by looking at the printed record of what he has said and done, tut he makes himself felt. If he fails in his bid for re-election as governor, he is out for good. If he wins—especially if he wins in the face of a Johnson sweep—he will have to be reckoned with.

The other three are amateurs bidding for professional rank. In Ohio, Robert A. Taft Jr. steps with remarkable fidelity in his father’s footsteps, and is expected to follow them to the floor of the Senate no matter what happens to the national ticket. He has conducted his campaign against the bumbling Stephen Young skillfully and carefully. If he has Ohio with him as it was with his father, he will have to be counted in—though, in this, too, like his father, he has little of the glamor or charisma that may be a necessity for a political chieftain in the age of the masses. In Illinois, the gubernatorial race between Charles Percy and Democratic incumbent Otto Kerner enters the stretch neck and neck. If Percy wins, he moves instantly to the Republican front rank. And Percy is very nearly unique among Republican politicians in at least one possibly significant respect: he has thought and studied much about the problems—theoretical as well as practical —of political life, and has sought the company of trained minds, a number of them shaped under the influence of Chicago University’s remarkable professor of political philosophy, Leo Strauss. In Texas, young George Bush, son of Connecticut’s former Senator Prescott Bush, has proved in his battle for the Senate against the far-out Liberal Ralph Yarborough that he is a hard, able fighter and flexible tactician as well as an eloquent conservative.

By the way, it’s interesting how even this little item shows what a role dynasties played  — and play — in American politics. Tafts, Bushes, Romneys, oh my. Charles Percy, who I only vaguely remembered, went on to become a senator from Illinois. He didn’t quite launch a dynasty, but his daughter, Sharon Percy Rockefeller married into one.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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