How Neil Bush Succeeded in Business Without Really Trying

Photo Source National Archives and Records | CC BY 2.0

Now, that ain’t workin’
That’s the way you do it
Get money for nothin’
And your chicks for free.

— Dire Straits, “Money for Nothing”

His mother still called him Neilsie. He refers to his dad, the former president, as Gampy. Neil Bush may be the black sheep of the Bush family, but his relatives have never let him down. Whenever he’s been mired in financial, legal or marital imbroglios, someone in the Bush family entourage has always reached out a helping hand and often that hand has slipped Neil a fat check.

Neil Bush, the fourth child of George and Barbara, was long thought to be the rising star of the family. He had the looks, the convivial demeanor, middle-of-the-road politics and, despite suffering from a severe case of dyslexia that made him the laughing stock of St. Albans (the stuffy DC prep school that groomed Al Gore) the brainpower. At least he seemed brighter than Jeb or George Jr. And, most important of all, he was the favorite son of Barbara Bush, the Agrippina of American politics.

All those lofty political aspirations came to a fatal crash in the fall of 1988, at the precise moment his father was poised to ascend to the presidency, when the Silverado Savings and Loan went belly up with Neil in the driver’s seat.

In these days of multi-billion dollar financial crimes by the likes of Enron, Tyco and WorldCom, the failure of a relatively small Colorado thrift may not seem like much. But…

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