“I know nothing
about Iran Contra. I was out of the loop.” George Herbert Walker Bush
said, as Vice-president under Reagan, when asked about Ollie North.
“Our intelligence showed weapons of mass
destruction. Not my fault.” George W. Bush said, when asked how he got
it so wrong.
“Was that wrong?” Reggie Bush asked, when told
accepting money from an agent while he was at USC could land him and
his school in trouble.
Above are examples of the Bush Defense, meaning that
if your name is Bush you can claim a lack of knowledge about things you
should know about, therefore absolving you of all guilt. For instance
in example number one, when the elder Bush, who was director of the CIA
prior to being Vice-President, says he is out of the loop, he means he
has no knowledge, even though he appointed many of the intelligence
gatherers at the Agency and even though he sat in on meetings with Mr.
Carry this further. When the younger Bush
says he invaded Iraq on false intelligence he is using the Bush
Defense, a nice maneuver considering one of the platforms he ran on was
strengthening the CIA and its fact gathering capacity.
Now with Reggie, the Bush Defense comes to college at a
private school where being connected and mingling with those in the
know is one of its appeals. So when Reggie says he didn’t know about
any dealings his step-dad had with Micheal Micheals (the agent’s real
name) he’s using the Bush Defense. In this case it’s the “it happened
under my nose but my nose happens to be big so I can’t know everything
going on under it” version. Where USC uses the Bush Defense is when
they say “Well, yeah, we knew there was an agent in the locker room but
there’s no law against that. Besides we can’t be expected to know what
parents and step-dads are doing behind closed doors.” That is similar
to George the Elder’s Iran-Contra denial. “Yes, I heard Ollie talking
about freeing the hostages and yes, I heard Ollie talking about
possible arms for Iran but I shouldn’t be expected to put two and two
The Bush Defense only works if you assume the
defendants have a certain head-in-the-clouds manner about them. When
describing George and George, Jr., yes, a case can be made but as for
Reggie, when he had hotel and credit card receipts, not as much.
And when USC tries to trot out the
Bush Defense of the George Senior – “out of the loop, how could we have
known?” variety, it’s embarrassing. It’s especially embarrassing if you
bill yourself as “The World’s Leading Private Research University.” How
can you call yourself a leader in research when you don’t even know
what the most famous student on your campus is doing? We’re saying this
to the president, Stephen B. Sample. Yes, just like the Michael
Michaels name above, Stephen B. Sample is a real name… and also the
president of a RESEARCH university!
It is embarrassing, yes, if USC
relies on the Bush Defense too much. For one, it’s hard to claim to be
a smart, sharp going-to-find-out-the-information institution and yet
say “Duh, we were in the dark.” For two, a sharp, smart private
research institution has to compete for contracts from other smart,
sharp schools and one of those schools is up-the-road Stanford. And
here’s the kicker. You know who broke the Bush story, the guys who
found out about Reggie and parents receiving nearly $ 280,000 in cash,
rent and gifts? Yahoo Sports, that’s the who. These guys found out
information people at USC couldn’t find. To what school did the nerds
at Yahoo Sports go? You guessed it – Stanford. Uh, oh… rock and hard