George Bush In His Own Words,
compiled by John McGrath
(Click for Amazon book review)
Click here for 27 full quotes from George Bush Sr. in the book Heartbeat, by Jim McGrath.
OR click on an issue category below for a subset.
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
This book is a compilation of excerpts from key speeches and spoken materials made by Pres. George Bush Sr. both during and after his presidency. The book complements All the Best, which is a compilation of letters and written materials by Pres. George Bush Sr. This book feels a little weird because it limits itself to almost only speeches (with a few texts for context) -- and of course Bush is famously an "awkward" speaker. The book preserves all of that awkwardness. Jim McGrath, the "compiler" (he doesn't call himself the "author") provides a little bit more context for each speech excerpt, like where it was made and what it was about. It doesn't feel like you're reading a book, but it reads reasonably smoothly.
McGrath manages to get past the problems of transcribing snippets of the spoken word, but cannot get past problems of selecting which snippets to include. McGrath's goal seems to be to capture Bush's historic words in response to major world events -- that might be useful for historians in the future -- but also to capture Bush's non-historic words at meaningless events. Here's an example:
A mother told her son, "I have a pretty good idea that you skipped your piano lesson and played baseball." The son said he hadn't, and the mother said, "Are you sure?" And the son said, "Yes, and I have the fish to prove it."
-- Remarks at the White House briefing for conservative leaders, Old Executive Office Building, Room 450, April 26, 1990
There is no additional context -- that's all there is. What is the point of that excerpt? Is it important for history to know that Bush told that particular joke at that particular venue? Does that joke reveal something about Bush's character? Did Bush even write the joke, or don't presidents use jokewriters? The book has dozens and dozens of excerpts like that -- sure, they're fun, but they leave the reader to wonder why they're reading the book. We guess that most readers intend, like us, to get some insight into President Bush -- but we cannot guess what the writer intends.
-- Jesse Gordon, OnTheIssues editor-in-chief, January 2013
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
ADA is first declaration of equality for disabled people.
Legislation is not enough to eliminate discrimination.
1990: Declaration of Cartagena to fight war on drugs.
America 2000: accountable schools with parental choice.
Energy & Oil|
Pioneer in the offshore drilling industry.
Supports environmentally-responsive access to ANWR.
Earth will be preserved by millions of small daily decisions.
Families & Children|
Moral sense comes from your family, not Big Brother.
Best environment for kids is two-parent family.
Panama: stealing elections requires response.
Dissolution of USSR is death knell for Communist movement.
Thaw in Cold War revives repressed ethnic tensions.
US-China relationship needs to be preserved post-Tiananmen.
Make Americas a zone of peace, free trade, and democracy.
Cooperate with USSR to cancel Peacekeeper ICBMs.
Agrees with prohibition on assassination of foreign leaders.
Principles & Values|
We are not the sum of our possessions.
Flag Amendment: about unique symbol of one nation under God.
Parachute jumps about making up for tragedy of WWII jump.
Better to enact tax increase than to have recession.
War & Peace|
Diplomacy & military capability are complementary.
Panama: If Americans in Canal Zone are touched, force is OK.
Fall of Berlin Wall leaves Europe whole and free.
I never accepted that Vietnam was immoral.
Don't measure military victory by increased body count.
Welfare & Poverty|
Thousand Points of Light: volunteers better than government.
Places of worship lead members to light of service.
The above quotations are from Heartbeat
George Bush In His Own Words,
compiled by John McGrath.
Related books, debates, and candidates relevant to George H. W. Bush:
- All the Best, My Life in Letters, by George Bush Sr.
- The Family, (the Bushes) by Kitty Kelley
- The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw
- The Clinton-Bush-Perot Debates, Oct. 1992
- My Father, My President, by Doro Bush Koch
- In the President`s Secret Service, by Ronald Kessler
- George Bush Sr.'s main page
- George W. Bush's main page
- Jeb Bush's main page