DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA: After over seven months of impatiently waiting, “America’s grandmother” Barbara Bush ordered her husband to come home and join her. The news will report that former President George Herbert Walker Bush died on Friday night at the age of 94. The real story is that First Lady Barbara Bush needed him far more than we ever could. When she demanded something of her family, it got done. Do you want to be the person to tell Barbara Bush “no?”
Well, George didn’t either.
Time heals all wounds, but for some people, “until death do us part” is not good enough. George and Barbara Bush were married for 73 years. That kind of love is not going to let something inconvenient like death get in the way.
Time also romanticizes things. Bush was defeated for reelection because he was seen as an aristocratic blue-blood who was out of touch with the common people. Now he is hailed as a champion of the everyman. The truth is in the middle. George and Barbara Bush were both political blue-bloods. Simultaneously, they both sincerely detested the notion of political royalty and political dynasties. The commitment to public service above self-was as genuine as it gets.
He was the man who helped win the Cold War peacefully. The man who helped bring down the Berlin Wall while refusing to take an ounce of credit. He was the man who lied about his age so he could serve his country.
George Bush was the man who flew 58 combat missions and led the men who routed Saddam Hussein. He was the father of President George W. Bush and Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
He was also happy being the old grandfather with the fantastic crazy socks.
Bush is now hailed as a bipartisan healer who worked across the aisle. The truth is more disappointing. Democrats brow-beaded him into abandoning his “Read my lips, no new taxes” pledge. When he compromised with them, they used that against him. Democrats clubbed him over the head in the 1992 election as a liar.
The man who beat him, ironically, broke the exact same pledge without consequences upon taking office himself.
A shared love of America, Texas and each other
What was never in debate is how deeply George loved Barbara, and how much they both deeply loved America. Bush’s hand-written notes to her are an inspiration to young and old men everywhere looking to properly court a woman.
Bush was frequently seen as a second fiddle. He was Vice President to President Ronald Reagan, comedic foil for Dana Carvey, and runner-up to President Bill Clinton. Yet in an irony that deserves notice, they all saw him as first-rate. How often do Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama agree on anything? They both had high praise for the late president upon his passing.
For all of Bush’s roles from baseball star to oilman to Congressman to RNC Chair to CIA Director to Vice President to President, his role as Barbara Bush’s husband was by far his most important.
Now he gets to continue his marriage after a brief separation.