Remembering George H.W. Bush

Like everyone, George H.W. Bush is a complex mix of good and bad. I never liked most of his policies, but I always liked Bush as a person. My biggest beef against Bush was in allowing Lee Atwater run a racist campaign against Michael Dukakis in 1988. And in reading some of my friends’ Facebook pages, they remind me that Bush had an abysmal record when it came to LGBTQ issues and dealing with the AIDS epidemic.

On the positive side, Bush was willing to reach across the aisle and find common ground with Democrats on such issues as disability rights and taking a political risk in raising taxes to keep the federal budget from ballooning out of control. What I most admire about Bush was his care for friendships and his willingness to be friends with even those that he disagreed with. He struck up close friendships with Democrats Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, for instance.

In spite of my disagreements with Bush’s policies, I never had the antipathy towards him that I have towards Republicans like Pat Buchanan, Newt Gingrich and Donald Trump. I always thought of Bush as a Republican from a different generation that were willing to compromise and work with Democrats to try to resolve the country’s problems in spite of their political differences.

That seemed to be a time when the Republican Party was healthier and more sane. The party once had moderates and even liberal Republicans like Pete McCloskey and John Anderson. During the 1980s Republican Senator Barry Goldwater opposed Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority in their efforts to impose their fundamentalist Christian worldview on the American political scene. Goldwater saw how the Christian Right would have a bad long term effect on the Republican Party. I think that was beginning of the problems with the GOP. That started the evolution of the Republican Party as the more extreme Right began chipping away at the more moderate segments of the GOP: the homophobic campaign of Pat Buchanan in the 1992 Republican primaries; the ideological purity of Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Republican leadership; the Far Right Tea Party; and the nativist and racist 2016 Trump campaign.

I don’t really include Bush to be that kind of Republican. A great article by Frank Bruni of the New York Times titled George Bush and the Obituary Wars summarizes my mixed feelings towards Bush senior. Bruni wrote:

Bush has indelible stains on his record. He also has points of light. At times he failed the responsibilities of leadership. At times he did right by them. He showed folly and he showed wisdom, cowardice and courage, aloofness and kindness.

Accentuating the positive, especially in the hours after his death, didn’t eliminate the negative…

…But too many of us tend to interpret events, political figures and issues in all-or-nothing, allies-or-enemies, black-and-white terms, blind to shades of gray…

…We like our villains without redemption and our heroes without blemish, and we frequently assign those roles in overly strict alignment with our ideology…

…we do seem to be getting worse at complexity. At nuance. At allowing for the degree to which virtue and vice commingle in most people, including our leaders, and at understanding that it’s not a sign of softness to summon some respect for someone with a contrary viewpoint and a history of mistakes.

Here is a video of the friendship of Bill Clinton and George Bush.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush talked about her and President Bush’s relationship with former President Bill Clinton in an exclusive interview with C-SPAN for its First Ladies series.

About angelolopez

I’ve wanted to be an artist all my life. Since I was a child I’ve drawn on any scrap of paper I could get a hold of. When I went to San Jose State University, I became more exposed to the works of the great fine artists and illustrators. My college paintings were heavily influenced by the humorous illustrations of Peter De Seve, an illustrator for the New Yorker magazine. I also fell under the spell of the great muralists of the 1930s, especially Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera. I graduated with a degree in Illustration. Angelo Lopez has had illustrations published in Tikkun Magazine, the Palo Alto Daily News and Z Magazine. From April 2008 to May 2011, Angelo's cartoons were regularly published in the Tri-City Voice, a weekly newspaper that covers the Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Neward, Sunol and Union City areas in California. He did a political webcomic starring his cartoon character Jasper for the progressive blogsite Everyday Citizen. Since December 2011, Angelo does a regular weekly political cartoon for the Philippine News Today, a Filipino American newspaper based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Angelo is a member of the Sunnyvale Art Club, and the Northern California chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. During the 1990s, he was a member of the part-timer workers SEIU unit in the city of Sunnyvale. Angelo won the 2013, 2015 and 2016 and 2018 Sigma Delta Chi award for editorial cartooning for newspapers with a circulation under 100,000. He has also won the 2016 RFK Book and Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoons. Angelo won first prize for the Best of the West contest in 2016 and third prize in 2017. Angelo is married to Lisa Reeber. They enjoy taking walks, watching movies and hanging out with their nieces.
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1 Response to Remembering George H.W. Bush

  1. Diane Wahto says:

    I agree that the first Bush had many good qualities lacking in today’s Republicans. However, my biggest complaint about him is that he lied about the causes of the first Iraq War. That was, much like the Vietnam War, based on the fear that enemy forces would interfere with our oil supply. It had little to do with Saddam’s invastion of Kuwait, which never much happened. Granted Saddam was a horrible human being, but he was not much different than others in leadership in the MIddle East. I watched the service at the National Cathedral because I’ve been there and I used to be an Episcopalian. I still like the beauty of the buildings and the ritual. Once again, thanks for your thoughtful blog.

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