Vic Gold on George H.W. Bush Tuesday, Dec 4 2018 

This was written years ago at the request of USA Today, when those editors thought (as did his children) that Victor Gold would go on forever.

IMG_0988.JPGPhoto by Robert L. Knudsen, 1980.

The story was well-known at the time, but is worth retelling for the benefit of members of the Twitter Generation – those under the age of forty who remember George Bush the Elder only as a lively octogenarian with a penchant for parachuting out of airplanes on his birthday.

It goes like this: On the night of March 30, 1981, with President Ronald Reagan hospitalized after a failed assassination attempt, Vice President Bush landed at Andrews Air Force Base, following a hurried return from a trip to Fort Worth, Texas.

The nation’s capital was in a state of shock and confusion. With members of the Cabinet awaiting his arrival, Bush was advised by his Secret Service detail that for security reason he should helicopter directly to the White House South Lawn rather than take the inconvenient route of heading to the Vice President’s residence, then motorcading to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

As Bush’s speechwriter at the time, I well remember the Vice President’s response: “No,” he said, “only the President lands on the South Lawn.”

So it was that, whatever the rush or inconvenience, George Herbert Walker Bush took the long way – but by his lights, the right way – to the White House that fateful night.

To those who knew and worked with him over the years, this was vintage Bush, a man of ingrained modesty, even in moments when the spotlight of history was on him.

In a political world of massive egos, it was a quality all-too-often mistaken for weakness, as when a newsmagazine, with front-cover emphasis, labeled him a “wimp.”

Some wimp. At age 18, with America’s entry into World War Two, he became the youngest aviator in the Navy, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after being shot down in combat. As a Houston, Texas congressman, he braved a rally of outraged segregationist constituents angered over his vote in favor of the civil rights open housing bill, telling them, in Edmund Burke’s words, “Your representative owes you not only his industry, but his judgment.”

And more: As director of the CIA – a job that would have buried the political future of a weaker man – Bush guided that troubled agency though one of the most dangerous periods of the Cold War.

And still more: As U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, envoy to Communist China, chairman of the Republican National Committee – the list goes on, for no American president in the 20th century entered the White House with his range of experience in taking on difficult (and politically risky) assignments.

Not to overlook that signature moment in George H. W. Bush’s presidency when, as commander-in-chief, he drew a line in the sand, putting together an unprecedented coalition to repel Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.

All of which, given his more recent role as one of the country’s most-admired former presidents, makes an impressive resume for the Twitter Generation to consider; though Bush, true to form, discouraged all talk of his “legacy.”

As the last American president who could claim membership in the Greatest Generation, he would help build a presidential library on the Texas A&M campus for future generations to study his record. But time and again, despite the urging of friends (and publishers), George H. W. would turn down all requests to write his own presidential history. Appraising his record, he said, was for others to do.

Still, there was one concession he made to an interviewer who asked what, of all the things he’d done in life, was the accomplishment he was proudest of.

George the Elder thought a moment, then answered: “The fact that our children still come home.”

***                      ***                      ***

Victor Gold was co-author of George H. W. Bush’s personal memoir, Looking Forward.



-30- Thursday, Jun 8 2017 

Nearly four years ago, our father started his blog this way:

By popular demand (the same p.d. that urged Harold Stassen to run for president), I am entering the 21st century and starting a blog, The Wayward Lemming.
You can find it at
— Vic Gold
Although The Wayward Lemming blog is ending, his New Orleans style and wit live on. His children are publishing this final post for him, in the form of today’s Washington Post obituary.
Roll Tide, Daddy.

— Paige, Jamie and Stephen Gold

p.s. We’re still monitoring his email address at victorgoldwriter (at)

Call Your Mama Saturday, May 13 2017 

Mother’s Day and what better way to celebrate it than by making this blog post a T—–free zone, filling in with a memorable Mother’s Day story starring legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. You may have heard it before but it’s worth hearing again….

Bryant was famous for telling his young players to stay in touch with their mothers, a sincere note since the coach, as noted in his autobiography, “Bear,” had been especially close to his own mother back in rural Fordyce, Arkansas.

That in mind, Luckie & Forney, the Birmingham advertising agency that represented South Central Bell, came up with the idea of featuring the coach in a TV commercial urging viewers to phone their mothers on the holiday. Frank Lee, the agency executive in charge of the production, handed Bryant the script, the coach looked it over, a quick rehearsal and the camera rolled.

All went well — Bryant was a natural-born performer — right up to the concluding script line, “Have you called your mama today?” Then, camera still rolling, the coach, on his own, added, “I sure wish I could call mine.”

Check it out on YouTube. It’s why those of us who were around in those years say there may be other coaches with winning records but there’ll never be another “Bear.”

Oh, one more thing. Have you called your mama today? I sure wish I could call mine.

Sound Bite to Remember

“We have our fun on Saturdays.”

–Bear Bryant’s response to a rival coach’s comment that, unlike Alabama’s hard-driven players, his “have fun” during practice.

Was Valley Forge Necessary? Wednesday, May 3 2017 

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the Revolutionary War. A lot of good people got killed in it. I don’t know if anybody remembers Nathan Hale, but he was a real American patriot who got hanged in it. Sad.

Was it really necessary? I mean, it seems to me that something could have been worked out with the British about the tax on tea. All that good Lipton’s dumped into New Hampshire Harbor.

I think it was New Hampshire. Maybe Boston, but I carried New Hampshire big time and I know if they had any say in it, there wouldn’t have had to be a midnight raid by Paul what’s-his- name or good American boys freezing their asses off at Valley Forge. So unnecessary. Really horrible.

Sound bite to remember

The good thing about not knowing history is you can’t make the mistake of forgetting it.

– VG

Report From Trump’s Alt-Reich (7) Wednesday, Mar 22 2017 

Headline, March 21, 2017:


The President’s son-in-law is empowered as a top-level White House adviser. Now his daughter, with national security clearance, is also in the executive inner circle. It’s official. The United States is now an oligarchical banana republic, and it’s fair to call his congressional lapdogs, in terms of both spine and political ideology, Banana Republicans.

Report From Trump’s Alt-Reich (6) Sunday, Mar 5 2017 

Executive tweets, 6:35 a.m. – 6:49 a.m., 3/4/17

Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just
before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!

Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to anelection? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

In the South of my political youth – the 1950s and ’60s – we took our crackpot chief executives in stride. After a vituperative rant before the Louisiana state legislature – akin to Donald Trump’s recent White House news conference – Earl Long’s wife and nephew put the governor in a straitjacket and shipped him off to a Texas sanitarium. Two states over and a decade later, when George Wallace’s campaign opponents learned that Wallace had suffered a combat fatigue breakdown during World War II, they charged that it disqualified him from holding the Alabama governor’s office.

Discharged from the sanitarium, Uncle Earl roared back to Baton Rouge, claiming, “If I’m crazy now, I’ve always been crazy.” On the stump, Wallace, pointing to a bill of health from his veterans hospital, quipped, “I’m the only candidate in this race who has a certificate proving he’s sane.”

It goes without saying that America’s 45th president has neither the candor nor the wit to match those ripostes. Or to point out that if his family and staff enablers took the minimal step of placing him in a straitjacket, it would save the nation from an endless streak of manic presidential tweets.

To the point, it has been evident for some time that Donald Trump’s mental elevator stops several floors short of the Tower, though politically correct terms like megalomaniac and narcissist have been applied to avoid the embarrassing fact that 63 million adult Americans cast their ballots last November for a man who is flat-out crazy.

Still, as George Packer reminds us in the February 27 issue of the New Yorker, Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to the Constitution was written and ratified to take care of just such a dilemma. All that’s required is that a majority of the White House staff or the Congress declare a President unfit for office in order to replace him with the Vice President. Given the oligarchical makeup of the Trump Cabinet and plantain-spined nature of a Republican Congress afraid of a Trumpite backlash, however, the odds against that taking place are 10 million to one.

No, what the moment obviously calls for is a will and a voice like that of my former boss Barry Goldwater. Blunt-spoken Barry, never, in his years on Capitol Hill or as a presidential candidate, afraid to call a spade a goddamn trowel.

Millennials should know that was Senator Goldwater who, in 1974, led the Republican delegation to the White House to tell Richard Nixon that it was time for him to resign the presidency. Again, it was steel-spined Barry who, ten years later, whatever the backlash from evangelical voters, told reporters that the Reverend Jerry Falwell needed “a swift kick in the ass.”

So it is that I can see the old man now, after reading the latest presidential tweets, telling his staff “We’ve got a head case in the Oval Office,” then heading for the Senate floor to call for action under Section 4 of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment. TERRIBLE! A NEW LOW!

Sound bite to remember

“If all I knew about Barry Goldwater is what I read in the papers, I’d have voted against the sonuvabitch myself.”

— Barry Goldwater, post-election appraisal / December 1964

Report From Trump’s Alt-Reich (5) Friday, Mar 3 2017 

“I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign.”

–Jeff Sessions

Probable topics of discussion during Sessions’ two sessions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak:

  1. Sessions’ help in getting Coach Nick Saban to agree to a selfie with the Russian ambassador before the Alabama-Auburn game.
  2. Arrangements for the Bolshoi Ballet to make a guest appearance at the Alabama State Fair.
  3. Ironing out details of Vladimir Putin’s waving the starting flag for the Talladega 500.
  4. The comparative merits of Russian kasha and Alabama black-eyed peas as a side dish at Washington buffets.
  5. Negotiations for a Crimean tour of the rock band Alabama Shakes “after things settle down there.”
  6. Agreement on a specialized team of Putin-trained Russian experts on voter qualification and election-monitoring advising Sessions in the event he ever became Attorney General of the United States.


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