Beyond the Bush League

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, at the very spot where United 93 went down, George W. Bush basically ignored the Islamic terrorist perpetrators and targeted those he views as domestic extremists. That prompted Lane Scott to wonder if anyone worse than Bush had shown up over the past 20 years. As it happens, one strong candidate just weighed in.

 “Have you noticed how strikingly similar both the mindsets and actions between the suicide bombers at Kabul’s airport, and the anti-mask and anti-vax people here? They both blow themselves up, inflict harm on those around them, and are convinced they are fighting for freedom.”

 As Sir Bedivere (Terry Jones) put it in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” movie, “Who are you who is so wise in the ways of science?” And could the speaker be a scholar with expertise on terrorism, the Middle East, and the warring tribes of Afghanistan? Turns out, it’s former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who graduated from Harvard with a degree in, yes, sociology. 

 Duncan’s bio shows no degrees in public health, medicine, molecular biology, biochemistry, or anything else that would qualify him to pronounce on the pandemic. The former Ed boss evidently is unware that so-called “social science” has nothing to do with medical science or the dynamics of terrorism. On the other hand, Arne Duncan can boast similarities with southern segregationist governors. 

 At Harvard, Duncan wrote a thesis on “The values, aspirations, and opportunities of the urban underclass” and went on to play professional basketball in Australia. In 2001, Chicago mayor Richard Daley tapped the hoopster for Chicago’s post of school boss. In 2008, the composite character David Garrow described in Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama picked Duncan for education secretary. 

 In Washington D.C., the urban underclass, primarily African American, must endure some of the most dysfunctional and dangerous schools in the nation. The Sidwell Friends School, where the composite character president sent his own children, is out of reach to them. The best alternative used to be the D.C. Opportunity Scholarships Program, a school-choice program run by Congress. Teacher unions and federal educrats oppose all school-choice programs and Arne Duncan captained their squad.

 As the Washington Post said in a 2009 editorial, “Mr. Duncan decided—disappointingly to our mind—to rescind scholarships awarded to 216 families for this upcoming school year.” The privileged, pasty-faced Harvard man ejected poor black students from the schools they wanted to attend. Duncan also blocked the doorway of the dysfunctional government schools, trapping students inside. If any of the parents thought Duncan was kind of a racist it would be hard to blame them. 

 This is the man who equates jihadist suicide bombers with critics of mask and vaccine mandates, implying that both groups deserve similar punishment. On that theme, consider a recent statement from Dr. Scott Kellermann, the public health officer of Nevada County, California, once home to the late Peter Collier

 In a zoom video last month, Kellermann recalled the Spanish flu epidemic, when a San Francisco board of health officer shot a man, and two bystanders, for not wearing a mask. This was for the purpose of “keeping people safe” and an example of “swift justice.” Kellerman passed it off as a joke but the locals weren’t laughing. 

 Embattled Americans may find another challenger for Bush in White House medical advisor Anthony Fauci. To avoid treating wounded American soldiers in Vietnam, Fauci became a “yellow beret” with the National Institutes of Health. His bio showed no advanced degrees in biochemistry or molecular biology but in 1984 Fauci became head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). 

 Back in the 1990s, Nobel laureate Kary Mullis, inventor of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), said Fauci “doesn’t understand electron microscopy and he doesn’t understand medicine. He should not be in a position like he’s in.” Unfortunately, he is. 

 Fauci’s NIAID funded the Wuhan Institute of Virology for dangerous gain-of-function research that makes viruses more transmissible and deadly. In early 2020, Fauci opposed President Trump’s ban on travel from China and went on to recommend the destructive lockdowns that crushed the powerful Trump economy, infringed on Americans’ constitutional rights, and enabled massive voting by mail.

 Dr. Fauci has reversed himself on many aspects of the pandemic, remains evasive about its origin, and shows little if any concern for suffering Americans. This same Dr. Fauci recently claimed “Attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science.” As Louis XIV might have put it, “la science, c’est moi. This certified white coat supremacist is the highest-paid bureaucrat in the entire federal government.

 Are Fauci, Kellermann, and Duncan worse than Bush with his “mesmerizing self-delusion”? That’s a tough call, but one thing is certain. America’s ruling class is pretty much all Bush-league now.  

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About Lloyd Billingsley

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Hollywood Party and other books including Bill of Writes and Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation. His journalism has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Spectator (London) and many other publications. Billingsley serves as a policy fellow with the Independent Institute.

Photo: Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images