The Paula Gordon Show Logo The Paula Gordon Show
Dynasties & Crony Capitalists

Kevin Phillips

     ... political scientist and observer. Author of American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, Wealth and Democracy, The Politics of Rich and Poor and a number of others books, Kevin Phillips first came to prominence in the late 1960s with his book, The Emerging Republican Majority. A former Republican and White House strategist, Mr. Phillips has been a political and commentator for more than three decades, contributes regularly to National Public Radio and writes for Harper’s and Time.


The Bush family is a giant fraud, reports long-time political analyst and former Republican Kevin Phillips. He criticizes failed economic policies of both Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush and the extent to which the Bushes have given the world two generations of failed Middle Eastern policies. While Iraq comes readily to mind, Mr. Phillips says the Bushes are also in a sense responsible for "9/11" -- that event was very much tied to the whole Saudi orbit that the Bush family has been in for decades. The deeply flawed House of Bush that Mr. Phillips reveals is at the intersection of "The Establishment" in America and the nation's "military-industrial complex" of which President Dwight D. Eisenhower so famously warned. The legacy is a national security state in a perpetual-war/garrison-state/anti-terrorist condition, instead of a healthy democracy in which all hereditary transfers of power are questioned, Mr. Phillips says. He objects to all multi-generational celebrity politicians, military dynasties and 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation owners of major media companies, but the House of Bush stands out.

The Bush dynasty, Mr. Phillips says, put the "C" and the "I in "Conflict of Interest," combining crony capitalism with a multi-generational taste for secrecy and deceit, from clandestine activity in and outside of government to questionable political connections, war profiteering and shady business dealings. The Bushes' idea of capitalism, he says, is in essence one where capital gets the preferment from government to be able to make money from its control of government, with no obligation to the ordinary people who observe ethics. Halliburton is an outstanding example, Mr. Phillips says -- while the name conjures up images of Vice President Cheney, few know that for eight decades, beginning in 1929, Halliburton has been part of Bushdom. Mr. Phillips recites current examples and others that reach back four generations to President George W.’s great-grandfathers and the fortunes they made in finance, oil, defense industries and the national security state.

With George W., Mr. Phillips says, came a new twist. The Bushes made a relentless transition from the economics that allowed America to take the lead in the early and mid-20th century, embracing America’s surge of religious fundamentalisms -- equal, Mr. Phillips believes, to that in the Muslim world. No one has ever asked George W. the extent to which he shares his co-religionists' ideas about Armageddon and the End Time, Mr. Phillips worries. The answer is full of dangers since these ideologies promise that a war in the Middle East leads to The Rapture and believers' salvation. Unchallenged and in striking contrast to America's tradition, Mr. Phillips says George W. imposes his narrow denominational and sectarian viewpoint on the nation, while the mainstream press has mostly failed to raise the serious Constitutional and political questions involved.

The fraud continues, Mr. Phillips says, one example sufficing: George W. is not a "wartime president." The United States has not declared war, though the President has successfully limited personal and press freedoms using such rhetoric. Mr. Phillips believes George W. Bush has all the hallmarks of somebody who has taken everything way too far in his radical departure from traditional politics. The result? A come-uppance to rival the one liberals experienced at the end of the 1960s and Vietnam, Mr. Phillips says -- the one that made Kevin Phillips famous in the first place.

[This Program was recorded April 14, 2004, in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.]

Conversation 1

Recalling his conservative Republican roots for Paula Gordon and Bill Russell, Kevin Phillips anticipates a “come-uppance” for today’s failed conservatism. He details why he believes the Bush clan is a giant fraud, from economic failures to “9/11.”

Conversation 1 RealAudio6:40

Conversation 2

George W. Bush broke into national politics as his father’s liaison to the Religious Right, Mr. Phillips recalls, examining the resulting serious political implications. The center of power in the U.S. has probably become Texas rather than California, Mr. Phillips says, detailing the destructive legacy of Texas’ “Alamo psychology,” from Lyndon B. Johnson to George W. Bush. Mr. Phillips explains why dynasties are an enormous danger for the U.S. He explains why dyslogia -- attributed to both Georges -- is frightening in a Commander-in-Chief. Comparison between the Adams and Roosevelt families and the flawed Bushes are dismissed, as Mr. Phillips criticizes all hereditary celebrity politics.

Conversation 1 RealAudio11:46

Conversation 3

Mr. Phillips considers the role of four generations of Bushes in what President Eisenhower warned America against -- the “military-industrial complex” -- and shows how all have actively engaged in deceit and inappropriately profited from America’s secret functions of government. Whether accidentally or contemplatively, Mr. Phillips says, Bushes capitalized on national security state elements that lead to American dominance, then closely aligned themselves with the Republic Party’s Religious Right. The dangers of fundamentalism in the U.S., the Arab world, Israel and from George W. are considered. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -- the principle architect of the 5-4 decision that found for George W. in 2000 -- is held accountable for his anti-democratic public statements.

Conversation 1 RealAudio11:58

Conversation 4

The separation of church and state in the United States has always meant that the Federal government would not take sides denominationally, Mr. Phillips points out, comparing that fundamental principal to George W.’s adopted religion and its deep effects on domestic and foreign policies. Mr. Phillips considers why the mass media have essentially failed to report on this religious connection, concerned this narrow denominational viewpoint should raise serious Constitutional and political questions. Conspiracies are considered. The Bush family’s lack of interest in working democracy is not new, Mr. Phillips shows. He considers all kinds of American dynasties, including media-owning families, concerned about democracy in all political parties.

Conversation 1 RealAudio11:15

Conversation 5

The ability to correct itself after capitalist-conservative excesses has been an American strength, Mr. Phillips observes, dubious about that ability in the face of changed global circumstances. He calls today’s national security state a “perpetual-war/garrison-state/anti-terrorist” condition. George W. is not a “war time president” because the United States has not declared war, Mr. Phillips points out, and explains how Bush has put this rhetoric to use limiting personal and press freedoms. The dire consequences of using American civilians as mercenaries in undeclared wars are discussed. The Bushes put the “C” and the “I” in “Conflict of Interest,” Mr. Phillips says, with examples of “crony capitalism” that bode ill for the nation’s future, especially where energy is concerned.

Conversation 1 RealAudio10:57

Conversation 6

Counter-reformations happen often, Mr. Phillips says, describing several. The ability of today’s non-fundamentalists to verbalize their critiques is essential to the outcome of the struggle against fundamentalism, world-wide, he predicts, uncertain how democracy will fare in the 21st century.

Conversation 1 RealAudio3:33


Mr. Phillips has a richly deserved reputation for looking below the surface, doing serious work with the intellectual rigor it takes to turn data into information. His books have shone lights on dark and shadowy places that must be examined in a democracy if We The People are to govern ourselves and resist yielding to rapacious elites of any stripe. We applaud Mr. Phillips and we thank him.

Related Links:

Mr. Phillips expands on much of the extremely useful information he has made available in American Dynasty at the website for the book.

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush is a Viking book, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

Our earlier program with Kevin Phillips, sets some of the predicates for this discussion.  Two subseqent programs focus on the mortal threat to America from debt, oil and religious fundamentalists and from the financialization of the American economy.

The regulatory failures of a government tightly entwined with business are presented in Bob Monk's book Corpocracy.

The Republican Party's long-standing alliance Big Business and crony capitalists goes back to the age of the "robber barons" and is well documented in two recent biographies:  Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw and Mellon, An American Life by David Cannadine.

Tim Weiner shows how the CIA has contributed to the corruption of American democracy over the last 60 years.

Robert Kennedy, Jr. shows what happens to public health when regulated industries gain control of the government regulators.  It was Robert Kennedy, Jr. who first quoted to us Mussolini's remark that "fascism" should more properly be called "corporatism."


In Sound Truth and Corporate MYTH$ Riki Ott describes how Exxon, by using its wealth and political connections, has effectively avoided responsibility for the ongoing damage done to the environment and to human health by the Exxon Valdez.


Evangelical minister Jim Wallis says that religion must be disciplined by democracy and that Christianity is much more concerned with taking care of the poor than with tax cuts for the rich. 

Robert Fuller explores abuses of all kinds of power which he characterizes as “rankism” in his book Somebodies and Nobodies.

An icon of the business establishment, David Rockefeller insists that what’s importance is not one’s influence but how one chooses to use that influence.

Activist and author Paul Loeb says that democracy cannot survive if we give in to cynicism, hopelessness or the belief that there’s nothing we can do to improve our communities

           Quick buttons
© 2007 The Paula Gordon Show.
All materials contained on this website are copyrighted by The Paula Gordon Show and may not be used for any commercial purpose without the express, written consent of Paula Gordon. Non-commercial use is permitted and encouraged provided that credit is given to The Paula Gordon Show, appropriate urls cited, links are provided where possible and meaning is not altered by editing.