George H.W. Bush Blasts Mike Dukakis in New Book

The former president does not hold back in a new biography.

George H.W. Bush and Mike Dukakis at their second debate in 1988. AP Photo/Lennox McLendon

George H.W. Bush and Mike Dukakis at their second debate in 1988. Photo via AP.

Former President George H.W. Bush still has an axe to grind with his 1988 campaign nemesis former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.

According to recently released excerpts of a new biography, Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham, President 41 trashed the old Democratic standard bearer, calling him as “a little midget nerd” coming out of a coal mine.

The National Journal described the snarky comments by Bush as out of character for the 91-year-old former president.

But it isn’t just the Democrats who have earned his ire. Bush commented on characters from his son’s time as president, too. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is described as an “iron ass” while former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was an “arrogant fellow” with “swagger.”

In the book, Bush declares that Cheney changed significantly since his time as secretary of defense under him in the early 1990s.

“He just became very hard-line and very different from the Dick Cheney I knew and worked with,” explains Bush, pointing to the September 11 attacks as the source of Cheney’s new-found militarism.

He goes on to say that Cheney built “his own empire” within his son’s administration.

Per Bush, Rumsfeld was even worse and “served the president badly” during his time as secretary of defense from 2001 to 2006.

“There’s a lack of humility, a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks. He’s more ‘kick ass’ and ‘take names, take numbers’. I think he paid a price for that,” Bush says of Rumsfeld, according to the New York Times, which also received an advance copy of the book.

His opinions about Cheney and Rumsfeld were long suspected but never expressed publicly until now. According to the biography, Bush said his son was also to blame for giving rise to the two neoconservative hawks by not challenging their chest thumping enough.

“I do worry about some of the rhetoric that was out there—some of it his, maybe, and some of it the people around him. Hot rhetoric is pretty easy to get headlines, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the diplomatic problem,” Bush told Meacham.