But his life and his career were anything but failures. Few Presidents ever had the level of accomplishment of George H W Bush; not just in the offices and positions he held as listed above, but he saw his eldest son elected twice to the Presidency, another one elected twice as Governor of Florida; and was a devoted family man, thriving in the accomplishments and the lives of his children, grandchildren and other relatives. A US aircraft carrier is named for him. It evokes the patriotism, sacrifice and courage he displayed as a Navy flier, and it represents the power of America; and his service, his faith, his gentlemanly ways and humble nature are qualities that represent character and inner strength; and both those are examples to which we all should aspire and which have made America a great nation, and Americans a great people.
In death, he has received the respect of people who denied it to him during his active political career -- and worse – now pretend they always loved and respected him. His aircraft was shot down during the war, but he survived, but he never, ever, forgot those members of his crew and his squadron and his fleet who did not survive. Mr. Bush was ridiculed as “a man who was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple,” but actually he worked hard his entire life, and was devoted to our nation in ways that the more modern class of politicians can never be. We say this not to demean any of his successors in the Oval Office, but compare their resumes of service to his, and then wonder why he was humble, and they are not. One can even imagine that had those “nice things” that everyone is saying about him now had been said about him in 1992 (and most of them could have been even then), that he would not have been a “mere one-term President,” but would have won a thumping re-election.
That, of course, is idle conjecture, but the dignified life of George H W Bush had so many successes that one election loss little detracts from them. His death reminds us of those “kinder, gentler” days when one could “disagree without being disagreeable,” and one could contest an election without eviscerating one’s opponent or dancing on his carcass. We hope those days are not gone and forgotten; but if they were to return now, in the wake of the death of this great American, he could have no greater legacy.