April 7, 2014
TOO LATE TO GIVE HIM A SECOND TERM, BUT WE CAN GIVE HIS SON A FIRST:
Bush 41 Reunion Looks to Burnish His Legacy (PETER BAKER, APRIL 3, 2014, NY Times)
Posted by Orrin Judd at April 7, 2014 2:41 PMFrail from a form of Parkinson's disease, Mr. Bush, 89, has benefited from a wave of historical revisionism that has transformed him from the biggest incumbent loser since William Howard Taft to, by at least one measure, the most popular former president of the past half century."This is a man who campaigned for a kinder, gentler nation," said Mark K. Updegrove, director of the Johnson library, who is working on a book about the two President Bushes. "And it's interesting that after a quarter-century, he's getting a kinder and gentler verdict in history."Mr. Updegrove's is one of several books in the works about the 41st president and will take its place among recent documentaries and awards. After bestowing the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Mr. Bush three years ago, President Obama brought him back to the White House last summer to honor him. Last week, Mount Vernon gave Mr. Bush its first Cyrus A. Ansary Prize for Courage and Character. Next month, he will receive the Profile in Courage award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.Mr. Bush's single term, from 1989 to 1993, proved a pivot point at home and abroad. The last president to have served in World War II, he managed the end of the Cold War, reunified Germany and expelled Iraq from Kuwait. He reauthorized the Civil Rights Act, updated the Clean Air Act and signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. But he broke his "read my lips" promise not to raise taxes and lost re-election when he seemed disengaged from a troubled economy."Twenty-five years later, history is beginning to recognize that George Bush was the best one-term president in American history," said James A. Baker III, his secretary of state and friend.Robert Gates, Mr. Bush's C.I.A. director, who later served the younger Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama as secretary of defense, said, "There is no precedent for the collapse of a great empire without a war," adding that Mr. Bush was "beginning to get the credit for the way he managed that."