Tuesday, May 18, 2010

At Least One Bush Can Write a Book

Laura Bush. Spoken From the Heart. New York: Schribner, (2010)

The author grew up in Midland, Texas. Her father served in World War II. She writes that students in her high school all smoked but that few drank. She was in a bad car accident that flung her from the car and killed a high school friend in the other car. She writes about dealing with this trauma and how it continues to haunt her.

Laura Bush went to college and became an elementary school teacher. She learned the trials of controlling rowdy young students. She then became a school librarian. She met George Bush and agreed to marry him after six or seven weeks of dating. She notes that had known each other somewhat since childhood, so they did know each other well. Soon after the honeymoon, George tried to follow in the footsteps of his father, who had served three terms in Congress, by running for Congress. Laura joined George in campaigning across the West Texas district. George won the primary but lost the general election.

George Bush then went into the oil business by owning a small oil company. His father was then elected Vice President. Lauran then gave birth to twins.

George and Laura seldom when to D.C. during his father’s first term as Vice President. They spent their time with their children in Texas even while most of the rest of the Bush family was active in national politics. Laura Bush notes drinking was socially acceptable were they lived. George finally decided to stop drinking and so did. As it became apparent that Vice President Bush would run for President, Laura and George moved to D.C. so George could campaign for his father.

When the Bushes spent Christmas at the White House in 1992, Laura never expected to return to the White House. Yet, a few months later, George decided to retry politics. He announced for Governor of Texas and campaigned for the position for 22 months. Meanwhile, his brother Jeb ran for Governor of Florida. At this time, Laura Bush’s father’s health began failing. He developed Alzheimer’s and couldn’t remember who had been President before, even though it was his daughter’s father-in-law.

George Bush won his election. Jeb Bush lost his. George and Laura moved into the Governor’s Mansion, where they learned in 1859 that Sam Houston’s five year old son, Andrew Jackson Houston, once locked several legislators in a room and refused to let them out until his father threatened to arrest him.

As First Lady of Texas, Lauran Bush worked on education and family abuse issues/ She helped create Rainbow Rooms, safe havens with items a family needs during stays. She also helped create a book festival at the Capitol. She was worried when the first festival was held at the same time as a beer festival and a gun and knife show. After 14 years, the book festival has raised $2.3 million for Texas libraries.

George was reelected Governor with 68% of the vote. He then decided to run for President in 2000. George Bush developed an appreciation for advice from Dick Cheney, who was Defense Secretary under his father. George Bush asked Cheney to be his running mate.

On election day, Al Gore called to conceded the election and then called back 20 minutes later to take back the concession as the remaining decisive state, Florida, went from the Bush victory column to uncertainty. It was not until several weeks later when Bush was declared the winner.

First Lady Hillary Clinton advised Laura Bush to accept attending special events. Her regret was being unable to attend interesting events.

Tony Blair of English was the first international guest to the Bush White House. Blair had been close to Clinton. Laura Bush states she always got along well with Tony Blair’s wife, Cherie.

Laura Bush learned subtle things, like not having to have a museum’s staircase lined with musicians along the side, as some guests have a need to reach the handrails.

Presidents and First Ladie pay for their personal costs. Thus, food, hair care, and laundry costs can be high. She also found clothing costs were high, especially since she was judged daily at what she was wearing. The press would make a story out of her wearing the same thing twice.

The author’s daughter, Jenna, made the news for being cited for underage drinking. Former White House child Luci Johnson advised “don’t’ do anything that you wouldn’t want to read about on the front page of the New York Times, because if you do, it will be.” Laura Bush denies the rumors her daughters were into partying. Jenna worked with AIDS patients in Central America and Barbara worked in public health in Africa.

Laura Bush carried her Texas traditional forward and created a National Book Festival.

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, Laura Bush was taken to a safe room designed to survive an explosion. Much false information came through, such as reports that Camp David and the Bush family ranch in Crawford, Texas being hit. Communications were so bad that President Bush on Air Force One and Laura in a Secret Service room could not reach each other until the third try.

Laura Bush went to the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, an underground command center built for President Franklin Roosevelt. Vice President Cheney was there with key aides. Lynne Cheney, Dick’s wife, informed her that the plane that hit the Pentagon had circled the White House. It is believed the plane could not find a way to hit the White House.

Mail stopped being delivered to the White House for security reasons. Some mail was lost for three years.

The Chinese government later told they had information that the Bush family ranch was going to be attacked while they were there. Laura had to spend a disturbing night in complete darkness with security vehicles ready to whisk her away should the information prove true. She was evacuated from the White House once in 205 when a plane accidentally flew into White House airspace.

Tom Ridge began working in the White House as the head of Homeland Security. He was given a small office with no windows that fit just two chairs.

Laura Bush worked for human rights campaigns, especially for women’s rights in countries such as Afghanistan where women’s rights were repressed.

Nancy Brinker, U.S. Ambassador to Hungary as well as Susan Komen’s sister, worked with Laura Bush on breast cancer prevention awareness. They worked on awareness in Hungary and Czech Republic.

Condi Rice had dinners and traveled with the Bushes and was considered part of the family.

Saddam Hussein killed probably tens of thousands of Kurds with chemical weapons and executed hundreds of Kuwaitis. He tortured and killed opponents. Human Rights Watch estimated 290,000 Iraqis had “disappeared”. President Bush tried to get Hussein to step down and he was offered refuge if he did. Hussein declined the offer. Bush and Blair prepared for war against Iraq. Several former coalition countries such as France and Germany refused to join.

The White House Social Office often had to protect its guests. This included hiding from press view a drunk Congressional leader who vomited in the bushes.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi was a close ally to President Bush. This shows how quick two former enemies can become friends, noting how the fathers of both Koizumi and Bush had fought against each other in World War II.

Laura Bush made news by stating she did not believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned. She also advised her husband not to speak out against gay marriage. Gay marriage, though, became a key issue for Republicans to campaign against in the 2004 elections where Bush was reelected.

Laura Bush was active in Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. She learned of the devastation this disease causes.

During a visit in Heiligendamm, Germany, all of the American delegation fell ill, including herself and the President. One delegation member developed permanent hearing loss and another never gained full mobility walking. The best guess physicians gave was a rare inner ear virus. Yet Laura Bush wonders if there wasn’t a deliberate virus attack on the American delegation.

3 Comments:

Blogger Lo11211ganO_Kellam said...

may the blessing be always with you!! ...............................

6:18 PM  
Blogger M12aeganT_Moe12 said...

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6:44 PM  
Blogger Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny said...

Thank you Kellam for the blessings and Moe, we can't read what you wrote, but we see the words sex, jealousy, and foxy, so we hope all is fine with you.

3:11 PM  

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