April 03, 2014

In Which I Agree With A Liberal Democrat About His Analysis Of A Republican Presidency

Ned Lamont made a splash when he beat Joseph Lieberman in the Democrat primary a few years back. He was backed by the Markos Moulitas, founder of Daily Kos. In other words, he is definitely a liberal.

But look at what he has to say about the presidency of the elder President Bush and the reason he should be highly ranked as a president.

Maybe it is time to add another one-termer to the pantheon: George Herbert Walker Bush. Presidential surveys put him in the middle of the pack, but he should be moving up. We have had mostly foreign policy rookies as president over the last generation. But as the Berlin Wall came crashing down and Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, the man in the Oval Office was a decorated war hero and had been a U.S. envoy to the United Nations, ambassador to China, CIA director, and Ronald Reagan’s vice president. America was well-served by his experience and his character.

Like Dwight Eisenhower a generation before him, Bush 41 was on firm footing when he stood up to the militarists who wanted to expand the scope of Operation Desert Storm and take out Saddam Hussein.

* * *

Bush the Elder’s term was an extraordinary four years for our country and helped lay the groundwork for another eight years of peace and prosperity, something acknowledged by the JFK Library Foundation last week when it named George H.W. Bush a 2014 recipient of the prestigious John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for the political fortitude he demonstrated in dealing with the federal budget.

“President George H. W. Bush risked his reputation and ultimately his political career,” said President Kennedy’s grandson, Jack Schlossberg, “and should not be forgotten.”

Most importantly, Lamont concludes with this assessment of the former president, a man I have come to admire after more than fifteen years of living in the same city he does and seeing the many ways – often quietly – he works to make this community a better place. I agree with it whole-heartedly.

His speechwriters could never get President Bush to talk much about the war, even while his adversaries—and sometimes even his friends—caricatured him as weak. But he was often right on the big issues, and history will show that he was a really good one-term president who never stopping serving his country.

I believe that George H. W. Bush will, as was the case of harry Truman, continue to rise in the estimation of historians. My hope is that we see this rise while he is still with us to experience that vindication of his life and policies – and for it to be recognized that he, rather than Jimmy Carter, is the model of what a post-presidency should look like.

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