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“Tory Men and Trumpy Measures”

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Good piece by Eve Peyser about how George W. Bush’s veiled shots at Trump don’t mean anything:

Before Trump took office, there was concern that his administration would create a database of Muslims, which he repeatedly threatened to do (before denying he made those threats). But Bush did actually create such a database, called the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), that, according to CNN, “disproportionately targeted Arabs and Muslims and was a point of contention between rights groups and the federal government for nearly a decade.” (Barack Obama’s administration ended the system, saying it had become outdated.)

Trump has created a commission to study “voter fraud” in an obvious effort to intimidate voters and drive turnout down—Bush did the same thing. Trump has appointed unqualified cronies to important posts—Bush nominated his White House counsel, who had never been a judge, to the Supreme Court. Trump’s administration denies climate change is a problem—so did Bush’s.

Bush’s implicit criticism of Trump’s bigotry and vulgarity ignores the fact that the GOP’s racism problem runs much deeper than Trump. In Virginia, middle-of-the-road Republican Ed Gillespie is currently running for a governor using race-baiting ads that claim his opponent is enabling the Central American gang MS-12. What’s Bush doing about that? He’s raising money for Gillespie.

After Bush finished his speech on Thursday, a reporter asked him if he thought his message would be heard in the White House. He reportedly smiled with a slight nod and said, “I think it will.” It seems Trump’s White House has already heard Bush’s message—not the platitudes he’s preaching now, but the racist and authoritarian policies he enacted during his time in office.

The point about Bush assisting Gillespie’s thoroughly Trumpist campaign is particularly damning. As Yglesias puts it:

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