Poppy wasn’t perfect. I recoiled when he beat Michael Dukakis with the race-baiting Willie Horton campaign designed by Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes. And again when he sent his national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, to Beijing for a secret midnight champagne toast with the leaders who perpetrated the Tiananmen Square massacre. And again when he didn’t do nearly enough to combat the AIDS epidemic. And again when his White House directed the defense of his Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas, that tried to discredit Anita Hill. Unlike President Trump, who does his own wet work, the Bushes took the more refined route of outsourcing their ends-justify-the-means moves.
But, as politicians go, 41 had many good qualities. Most of the time, he tried to do the right and decent thing, as he saw it, to act for the good of the country and the world.
The most interesting thing about the #41 memorial essays in how they refer to a time when we viewed our politicians through a more nuanced lens.