A new biography of George H.W. Bush by Jon Meacham is called Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush. The book brings out all the reasons why he could never be elected president today.
He was humble, he was kind, he believed in self-discipline and self-restraint. He was grateful to this country and knew that he owed a large debt to luck for being born the son of a U.S. Senator who was also rich. He made a sacrifice for his country by flying planes in the Pacific during WWII, and barely escaped death by enemy fire.
In other words, according to Donald Trump, a current presidential contender, he should be considered a “loser” for getting shot down. No contender this year has even served in the military, much less made the kind of sacrifices Bush did leading the CIA, serving as ambassador to China, and as vice-president for 8 years. Truth is, by the time he ran for re-election in 1992 he was plumb tuckered out from all that service. You could see it in his face and hear it in his voice when he came to the University of Richmond for a fateful debate.
Whether his service was good or not I’ll leave to others and I'm sure he had failings, probably some large ones. I haven’t read the new biography, just the review in The Economist entitled “The Narcissism Trap.” Still, it is enough to shake your head at the bravado, the bluster, the boasting, and outride lying that seems to pass for leadership in this election cycle. Good old virtue ethics seems as antiquated as a landline.
Perhaps it would not be bad to have a blustery braggadocio as president in a decade of peace. Yet the world has other blustery and buffoonish leaders right now, as in Russia with its invasion of Ukraine, and in China with its invasion of the South China Sea. What happens when such leaders get in a room together, with the fate of the world in the balance, and each beats his chest, makes threats, and yowls?