George H. W. Bush apparently won’t vote for Donald Trump and reportedly “harbors a deep disgust” for him. Still, according to The Washington Monthly’s D. R. Tucker, the “race-baiting on steroids” of Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign paved the way for Trump’s current approach. Tucker was referring to two television ads: the so-called Willie Horton ad, from a pro-Bush PAC, and the Bush campaign’s “Revolving Doors,” which skewered the prison-furlough policy of Bush’s Democratic opponent, Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, and, in Tucker’s view, “engaged in sick racial stereotyping.”
On Sunday's CNN Newsroom, during a segment previewing the Race to the White House special on the 1988 Bush-Dukakis presidential race, after host Poppy Harlow recalled claims that the George H.W. Bush campaign used "racial fear" against Democrat Michael Dukakis, historian Tim Naftali went on to claim that the Bush team "played on racist fears" because of the Willie Horton issue.
The panel did not even make a distinction between the ad designed by the Bush campaign -- which did not use Horton's image but instead employed white actors to play the parts of convicts -- and a different ad run an independent group which did use Horton's mug shot, which was the ad that CNN showed on screen.
New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal appeared on a nytimes.com podcast and insulted every Republican candidate in nasty, personal terms, throwing around the words "idiot" and "xenophobic" and insulting Justice Clarence Thomas in a racially loaded fashion. Rosenthal then accused the 1988 George H.W. Bush using the Pledge of Allegiance as an issue "deliberately and specifically intended to remind Americans that Michael Dukakis was of Greek descent and therefore suspect."
NewsBusters reported Wednesday that MSNBC's Martin Bashir disgracefully accused Republicans of using the acronym "IRS" as the latest racist dog whistle in their "war against the black man in the White House."
It turns out that Bashir used a selectively edited quote of former Reagan aide Lee Atwater to make his pathetic case.
In the days leading up to the GOP primary in South Carolina, all three networks have aggressively attacked the state and its supposedly "dirty," "nasty," "notorious" politics. Echoing many other journalists, CBS's Jan Crawford warned on January 12: "Down here in South Carolina, the weather is warm, that tea is cold, and the politics can get down right dirty."
On January 15, Chris Matthews repeatedly smeared the Palmetto state: "Why are South Carolina politics always so down and dirty?...What makes this state, for everyone who wants to be president, the messiest stop of all?" Quoting "Time" magazine, the "Chris Matthews Show" host mocked, "...They don't call South Carolina the low country for nothing." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]