George H.W. Bush dead at 94. RIP.


#61

He’s better than most of us.


#62

I agree, and I think that’s true for most Presidents.

Aramando comments were fairly mild. But I do think its in poor taste to be critical of people until they are buried, to avoid causing pain to those who cared about them. It is going to be hard for me to do the same in Trump’s case, but I will. I"m just hoping for a very quick funeral.


#63

It’s almost impossible to have the “wider view” today; maybe because nobody believes in such a thing anymore. The Willie Horton ad is bad, but it’s entirely true. That combination of dog whistling, yet true, selective fact picking basically is Republicanism today, but in social media every sin no matter how old is indelible. More difficult is US policy in Central and South America, and that transition from “blow it up rather than let the commies in” to “please stop making drugs or we send in the CIA” was the worse kind of destabilizing half-influence, rather than just pure colonialism.

But that doesn’t take away from Bush’s heroism and service when he was younger. It’s a lot like Churchill; suddenly there have been a few quotes dug up about him saying racist things, and now to modern social media he’s CANCELLED (the famine in India is infinitely worse than some racist statements, imo). But politics isn’t pretty and it seems like today what people want is a kind consumer’s politics, where there’s a menu and a kitchen and money goes in and exactly what you want comes out, every time, with a smile. Because you’ll never have anything good, ever again, if only the perfect can lead, and it’s entirely possible to criticise people for bad decisions or bad ideas while still approving their decisions or political accomplishments in other ways. I mean, by modern standards, we need to burn Camelot to the ground, because anyone lauding JFK for any reason might be a not so crypto-sexist.


#64

I love the restaurant analogy. I’ll have the $8 ham and cheese omelet special, but the eggs have to be free range, the ham can’t have any nitrates and the pig had humanely raised. Substitute organic tomatoes for toast, and herbal tea for coffee. What do you mean that will be extra is advertised for $8.

Yes, JFK was serial womanizer and nothing else should matter.


#65

In the case of presidents, I’m not sure the extent to which this rule of decorum needs to be followed. They are public actors living on the biggest possible stage. Thousands may live and die by their decisions, even granting that the nature of the job makes this practically inevitable.

As for Trump’s case? Fuck that. If a president tries to do their job in good faith, that’s one thing. If a man sets about taking a wrecking ball to American democracy for no reason other than sheer personal aggrandizement and pathological insecurity, that should be the first thing on everyone’s lips about him while he lives, while he’s dying, and after he hits the ground. I might not say so to Barron’s face, poor kid, but the rest is fair game.

Name a president who didn’t.

William Henry Harrison! :)


#66

I think we’ll just agree to disagree. If I rant about my dead Uncle Joe, after he’s dead, none of you have made the guy (especially since he’s made up!). If I start complaining about all the things Jimmy Carter did the day after he dies, I suspect some of the people on the forum may have volunteered for his campaign, or met him due to Habit for humanity, and may have an emotional connection to him. Ditto with Obama. My criticism shortly after his death would cause additional pain.

Or take it outside of politics. I think Jerry Seinfield is vastly over rated and I loath Adam Sandler both as an actor and the few times I’ve watched interviews with the guy. But I’ll keep my opinions to myself if I’m around for their deaths.


#67

Well, that’s the trick, for me. Politics is life and death. Movies, comedy, etc., not so much. But yes, agree to disagree, and I admire your instinct for decorum.


#68

I think you can sum up Timex’s arguement with ‘all presidents do it’, a kissing cousin to ‘both sides do it’. Which is odd, because he hates that arguement when the GOP does it.

Evil shit is evil shit, and nobody gets a pass for it, regardless of whether someone else is also doing it.

I will say this for HW, he didn’t give the appearance of being in it strictly for the rich, as opposed to reagan, W, and trump. He’s likely the best of that sorry lot, for what that’s worth.


#69

The point is that every president deals with stuff that is so much more complex than you can possibly fathom, where every choice results in people dying.

It’s not about excusing those acts. It’s about realizing that a man is more than the individual things you don’t like about him.

Because otherwise, there’s no point in anything. There are no good presidents. There are no bad ones. No one is good.

No dude, Bush was a good man. He loved his country, and dedicated his life to serving it.

Maybe you don’t think so, but then I suspect you aren’t a good man either, by your measure. I suspect no one is.

Or, perhaps, you simply evaluate a good man as being someone on your political team.


#70

I mean of course being liberal is a necessary condition for being a good person, but it is hardly sufficient.

To be briefly more serious, I do not, by any measure, consider myself a fundamentally good person. At my core is a burning white hot sphere of partly hate-fueled rage. That might be a useful dynamo for doing some good things in the world, and certainly a desire for justice also fuels that flame, but intent and guiding principles absolutely should matter… And I recognize I’d merrily sacrifice many of mine for a sufficiently good end.

Which is, in the end, what I suspect men like HW end up doing. And while I can understand it via some form of empathy, that doesn’t mean that I can excuse it in them any more than I do myself.

To partly assuage the board’s penitent former Republican contingent, I would find it difficult to watch people broad stroke lionize / memorialize Obama upon his passing. His reprehensible actions in the war on terror and almost total lack of meaningful action in dealing with the myriad criminals, war and economic, here at home left a dark stain on his presidency: one that all the eminently respectable traits and notable accomplishments in the world can’t wash out.

I mean, I still like him more, since a greater balance of those achievements benefitted the country at large over the wealthy than any Republican in living memory, but then again, that’s not an especially high bar to clear.


#71

I think you are way to hard on yourself and on others. Passion for others, and nothing you’ve said over the years make me believe that your passion is for primarily for yourself, is a fundamentally good thing and you have that.

I’m more than a little scared of true believers, and you come across that way, although I’m never sure how much is true and how much is an act. I also recognize that it is often the zealots that make things happen.
However, in the world of politics that’s seldom the case. The exceptions like MLK are just that, exceptions, but even they made compromises,mistakes and were often very flawed human beings.

“The Arc of the Moral Universe Is Long, But It Bends Toward Justice”, I thought until just a moment ago that quote was from Martin Luther King, but it turns out I was wrong, it predates him by 150 years.

I am almost certain that in 150 years, some of the things that you condemn President Obama for as being reprehensible, will turn out to be wrong. Maybe most of things you’ll be wrong about. In fact, since its likely than President Obama, is smarter, wiser, and has better access to information than you or I, it’s possible he’ll be right in about everything you disagree with him.

I’ll have no trouble saying nice things about President Obama, upon his death (which being a few years older than him and probably in worse health I’m unlikely to see) because I’m confident he is on the right side of the arc and bending it torward justice. I say this even though I disagreed with most of his foreign policy decisions, and many of his domestic policies. I say this because of his character. President Obama was good men, who tried his level best to do the best things for this country. By the time a problem reaches a president desk, there are no easy obvious answers. If there were they would have been made a much lower level. We laugh at the Trump supporters, who seem to have blind faith in the president. But I think it is far worse for those of us, who have the hubris to believe that we and/or team alone have all the right answers.


#72

I’m not commenting on whether he is a ‘good man’, just whether he did good things or evil things. He did both. Stop saying I did things or claimed things I did not say or claim. I know reading is hard, and comprehension harder, but do try if you are going to attempt to refute someone’s position. Thanks.


#73

Don’t think my personal attitude is quite this dark but I’m already fairly tired of seeing pics of that service dog.


#74

Sully isn’t that good of a boy anyway. I’m old enough to remember when he stole the porkchop off the dinner table a few years back.


#75

I’m not sure if folks realize this, but Bush didn’t cause AIDS… and actually, his son did more to combat it than anyone else.


#76

Well, not him directly. But AIDS was developed by the Cato Institute and used extensively be Republicans in the 80’s and early 90’s as a way of “thinning the herd” of Democratic voters.

#KevinFacts


#77

This is true, and the best thing about W’s presidency, but it doesn’t time travelingly reflect on HW Bush’s presidency.

The gripe against Reagan and Bush is not that they caused AIDS but that they ignored the magnitude of the crisis. I can’t give more specifics but I’m sure others can…


#78

That was the era where the religious right was saying that gays got what they deserved, and that it was gods will. Or at least they did in my part of the world. It wasn’t a problem worth dealing with for them until it escaped the realm of homosexuality and IV drug use.

It’s not that different from the religious right teacher at my kid’s public school just this week saying that the immigrants who had their kids taken away at the border wouldn’t have if they’d just followed the law. Hard to reason with that combination of ignorance and self-righteousness.

So good job W, bad job HW (and reagan).

In the spirit of saying nice things, HW did actually see the error of voodoo economics, and raised taxes accordingly. It possibly cost him a second term, but was the correct thing to do after 10 years of trickle down not trickling down, and helped to decrease the deficit during the clinton years. Was responsible and prudent (no joke intended), and sorely missed in the current climate.


#79

I’m not sure that it can really be laid at their feet though. I mean, there were a lot of other folks in government at the time. The president isn’t the only voice. Seems like a lot of folks engaged in inaction when it came to AIDS in the 80’s.

I don’t think MOST folks really understood the magnitude of the problem in the 80’s. While they could have done more, I’m not really understanding why Bush alone somehow deserves blame for it. I don’t recall him specifically trying to murder AIDS patients. Some of the things, like the ADA provided important protections for them, and bush didn’t simply sign the ADA, he worked jointly with Congress to draft it. (The idea of the president actually working with Congress to write laws seems quaint given the buffoon today)


#80

It’s not a comparison thing nor a percentage of blame apportionment. Of course they didn’t single-handedly cause the crisis, but nobody here is saying that. Both Reagan and Bush had opportunities to do something and they failed to act for many complicated reasons, of which I doubt not understanding the magnitude was one of. Once upon a time, politics was nuance and such decisions were often calculated through many layers of consideration.

HOWEVER, this condemnation doesn’t define his Presidency to me, as it’s one of numerous pieces I put together as a whole. While he wasn’t a saint, he wasn’t the Trump— er, devil. He did some good stuff, he did some not so good stuff. I’d take him without hesitation over any other GOP President who’s been in office in my lifetime (Ford onward) and would rank him in the upper half of those who served in history.