Can anyone enlighten me on the context behind this famous Bushism? I’m dying to know what set of circumstances triggered this line.
On Friday, 29 September 2000, Governor Bush was on the stump in Saginaw, Michigan, and deviated from his prepared speech to reassure the business community that he would not support the tearing down of energy-producing dams merely to protect threatened fish species, an issue he had recently covered while campaigning in the Pacific Northwest:
. . . on Friday, feeling the need to explain his statement during a speech on energy policy that he intended to maintain dams in the Pacific Northwest, he departed from his text and added, “I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.” He did not elaborate.7
Mark Crispin Miller noted in The Bush Dyslexicon that:
This remark is striking not because it’s silly but because it casts a threatened creature as a national enemy. A relic of the Cold War, the phrase “peaceful coexistence” was a predétente Soviet coinage, meant to pitch conciliation between the world’s two rival superpowers.