Saturday, December 1, 2018

George H.W. Bush, 41st U.S. president, dead at 94


   


     


George H.W. Bush
    He was the last of a string of eight consecutive American presidents who wore a uniform during World War II, a teenage volunteer who learned to fly bombers at Chicago’s Navy Pier and at the U.S. Naval Air Station in Glenview.
     George Herbert Walker Bush, 94, the 41st president of the United States and father of the 43rd president, died Friday night. He had been hospitalized three times in recent years, and his health took a turn for the worse after the death in April of his wife of 73 years, former first lady Barbara Bush. They were married longer than any other presidential couple.
     A combination of two heretofore distinct American types — East Coast patrician and Texas oil man, Yale blue blood and Houston wildcatter — Bush presided over what many remember as indeed being the “kinder” and “gentler” era he envisioned, both in U.S. politics, just before the polarizing Bill Clinton years, and in a world where the Soviet Union fell apart, seemingly of its own accord; when apartheid neared its end in South Africa without the expected bloodbath, and war — the Gulf War — was brief, relatively painless, and victorious. 

     With his passing there are now four living former presidents, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and the oldest, Jimmy Carter.
     The current occupant of the White House, President Donald Trump, issued a statement Friday night praising Bush’s “essential authenticity, disarming wit and unwavering commitment to faith, family and country … His example lives on, and will continue to stir future Americans to pursue a greater cause.”

To continue reading, click here.

16 comments:

  1. I’ve never read an obituary as thoughtful and insightful as this; so much more than a mere biography. Very much appreciated.
    RIP, President George H.W. Bush.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm grateful for your ability to capture a lifetime so succinctly. There is a skill to writing an obit that you seem to be a master of. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Paul. It's a certain tone; hard to describe it.

      Delete
  3. “I do think our friendship has sent a message around the world that just because you disagree on something doesn’t mean you can’t work together,” Bush said.

    Because you run against each other, that doesn’t mean you’re enemies,” Bush said at the time. “Politics doesn’t have to be uncivil and nasty.”

    In the current political climate there is something be learned from the late former director of the CIA.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is, but I can't say I have much hope of it being learned at this point. Republicans are too accustomed to demonizing their enemies, and Democrats are facing actual demons.

      Delete
    2. to paraphrase the commander in chief . "there're a lot of shitty people on both sides"

      Delete
  4. It was a pleasure to read this obituary, but I was perplexed not to find it in my Late Sports Final print edition. I hope the print-only readers will get it in their Sunday papers - it's much more engaging than the AP obit by Michael Graczyk that went to press. I especially liked the nuggets I hadn't read before or had forgot.

    What I didn't like were the flaws that were glaringly omitted: Iran-Contra; tolerating Noriega while CIA chief; hiring Lee Atwater and Paul Manafort to give us Willie Horton; indifference to AIDs; Jeb Bush (to be fair, the AP obit and others also leave these out).

    GHWB is likely to be the most decent Republican president in my lifetime, but let's not overlook how much of what he did, or didn’t due, led us to that said state.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly. This hits the wires about 12 midnight last night. The editors at the Sun-Times decided to put AP in the lightly-read Saturday paper and put my obit in Sunday's, which was the right call.

      Delete
    2. I don't know if the old adage : you dont speak ill of the dead is part of a writers credo when doing obits. but you do great job of losing your snarl when you write one Neil. I think its appropriate and professional.

      Delete
    3. Thanks. Journalism has its conventions, like kabuki, and an obit needs a lighter touch. I think the wisdom of this is proved by all those folks posting photos today of Bush throwing up into the lap of the Japanese prime minister. They seem small, and mean. You can treat the subject of an obituary with appropriate criticism—my obit of Walter Netsch comes to mind—but you have to let the facts do your snarling for you.

      Delete
    4. Or, better yet, Morgan Finley.

      http://www.everygoddamnday.com/2016/09/morgan-finley-monument-to-corruption.html

      Delete
  5. Bush's allusion to Reagan's political theories as "voodoo economics" endeared him to me temporarily but the beginning of his book "All the Best...," in which he referred to the "crude propaganda" he and his fellow airmen were subjected to, made me a fan, even though the rest of the book was not quite so candid. A good man and a realistic one in my estimation.

    john

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bush is the only President that I've had the honor of shaking hands with, although he was still VP at the time, in my head that still counts. My HS band was the official welcoming band for him on his campaign stop at Bloom HS, and we got to meet and shake hands with him and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I still have the Bush/Quayle bandanna that they gave us. Thank you for writing such a wonderful remembrance, an impossible task to achieve when it needs to be done with the seated one.

    ReplyDelete
  7. He went in harms way for us. He served again when he had the means to live a life of Riley. He did the right thing despite the political damage. Though he hedged later, he told the truth about triple down economics when it was the Republican bible. Had he the oratorical skills of Clinton and Obama he could have become the best president since FDR. He was probably the most honest president in my lifetime and the only presidential votes I regret were cast for his opponents. Sorry, George.

    ReplyDelete
  8. One of the best obits I can remember reading. Thank you, Mr. S.

    Our current occupant, in what has become the Oval Orifice, makes his Republican predecessors look better and better with every passing day...yes, even Nixon and Reagan, and Bush 43.

    Bush 41 was the by far the best of them, and sadly, we may never see a president of his caliber again--a thought that scares the hell out of me.

    RIP, Mr. Bush. You will be missed.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment, which will be published at the discretion of the proprietor.