WASHINGTON, D.C.—In Alabama, where George W. Bush supposedly was slaving away on Winton “Red” Blount’s 1972 U.S. Senate campaign in lieu of National Guard duty, he is remembered by a Blount son as a smartass “cuntsman” from Texas.
Bush Junior, as he was then called, used to come into Blount’s campaign office in Montgomery, prop his feet up on a desk, and blab on about how much he’d drunk the night before, according to a detailed article by New Orleans freelance journalist Glynn Wilson on his Progressive Southerner blog (southerner.net/blog/awolbush.html).
Blount’s Belles, a group of young Republican women and Montgomery debutantes who were helping out on the campaign, would fall into a swoon at the sight of young George. “We thought he was to die for,” said one. But the Blue Haired Platoon, a group of older women campaigning for Blount, referred to Junior as “the Texas soufflé” because he was “all puffed up and full of hot air.”
Blount was a Bush family friend, a successful contractor who had served as Nixon’s postmaster general (best remembered for firing 33,000 employees), and a Nixon emissary to George Wallace. Wallace was shot in 1972 and subsequently dropped his independent campaign for the presidency, which must have taken a load off Nixon’s mind. Watergate happened that year, and the GOP’s takeover of the South—the party’s “Southern strategy” featured a coded emphasis on race and an appeal to young white men—was just beginning. Old man Bush, Nixon’s UN ambassador in 1972 and chair of the Republican National Committee in 1973, and Postmaster Blount used to go over to the White House to play tennis.
Junior, though, was no such heavy hitter. “He was an attractive person, kind of a ‘frat boy,’ ” Blount’s son Tom, an architect, recalled, according to Wilson’s article, “George W. Bush’s Lost Year in 1972 Alabama.” “I didn’t like him.”
According to Wilson, Tom Blount “remembers thinking to himself” the following: “This guy thinks he is such a cuntsman, God’s gift to women. He was all duded up in his cowboy boots. It was sort of annoying seeing all these people who thought they were hot shit just because they were from Texas.”
When it came to political trickery, Bush Junior got in on the ground floor, receiving tutelage from the masters of the art, which reached its zenith in the person of Lee Atwater. As campaign coordinator, Bush Junior talked to the outlying county offices and doled out campaign materials, including smears against John Sparkman, the sitting Democratic senator, claiming that Sparkman was soft on race. The Blount people, according to Wilson, disseminated a doctored radio tape claiming that Sparkman wanted to send black and white kids around town so as to “mix” the schools. Blount billboards across the state proclaimed: “A vote for Red Blount is a vote against forced busing . . . against coddling criminals . . . against welfare freeloaders.”
Additional reporting: Ashley Glacel and Alicia Ng