ChipShots from the Louisville Rough - George H. W. Bush

December 3, 2018 - 7:19pm

Chip Sobel

  • Professional Journalist

George H. W. Bush was the last president where no American suggested he was not theirs. "Compromise" is not a bad word. Get what you can, and then fight for more at a later date. Principles are important, up to the point where they prevent the correct thing from being done. "41" was a principled compromiser. No politician, or anyone else for that matter can please everyone. Attempting that is a recipe for failure.

I am better for having had him as my President. So is our nation and the world. Not too bad. Not too bad at all.

It is my fervent hope that all Americans under the age of 35 watch and read as much of the next few days of GHW Bush coverage as possible. For a few reasons:

1. Since nobody teaches civics, American Government, or American History in high school anymore, this will be most instructional about how a then non-dysfunctional country operated just a short time ago.

2. The media, particularly the news stations and print organizations that historically have not shied away from pointing out the failures of all things Bush, are falling all over themselves to paint beautiful broad strokes of respectfulness and admiration for the man. Why? So his accomplishments and demeanor can be juxtaposed with Mr. Trump's.

3. Observers will be given a glimpse of what it was like for a national leader to work with a Congress not of his political party and make something positive out of it. That is what leadership looks like.

4. The last two Republicans to lose the Presidency campaigning while in office shared a reason for that result. In the case of Gerald Ford, he executed the most selfless act of any President in my lifetime, and perhaps our nation's history. By doing what was right for America, and pardoning Richard Nixon, he sacrificed the opportunity for a full, elected term in the White House. As for GHW Bush, the decision to reverse his famous "Read my lips, no new taxes" pledge by working with Democrat Congressional leaders to raise certain taxes was, again, a demonstration of choosing the correct over the promised, the unpopular over the political, and ultimately cost him at the ballot box.

President Bush epitomized a lost form of behavior in American politics - That we can disagree without being disagreeable. I hope to see his kind again.