07-12-2018 03:12

PERSPECTIVE FROM THE 19TH HOLE: This is the title I chose for my personal blog, which is meant to give me an outlet for one of my favorite crafts – writing – plus use an image from my favorite sport, golf. Out of college, my first job was as a reporter for the Daily Astorian in Astoria, Oregon, and I went on from there to practice writing in all of my professional positions, including as a Congressional press secretary in Washington, D.C., an Oregon state government manager in Salem and Portland, press secretary for Oregon’s last Republican governor (Vic Atiyeh), and a private sector lobbyist. This blog also allows me to link another favorite pastime – politics and the art of developing public policy – to what I write.

I wrote a blog a couple days ago reflecting on the life and times of the late George H. W. Bush as he was being eulogized across the country.

Here a few more random reflections, including several great quotes that will help us remember this excellent of presidents.

  • George W. Bush, the son of Bush 41, gave an emotional eulogy that could only be describe as an ode to a father he loved. He broke down once at the end of his statement.

“The best father a son or daughter could have,” Bush 43 said. “And in our grief, let us smile, knowing that dad is hugging Robin and holding mom’s hand again.”

“In victory, he shared credit. When he lost, he shouldered the blame. He accepted that failure is a part of living a full life, but taught us never to be defined by failure.”

  • Arizona Senator John McCain’s state funeral was notable in part for the overt rebukes of President Donald Trump, with calls for bi-partisanship and civility. With Trump in attendance at the official service for Bush 41, those calls for bi-partisanship and civility continued, but were a bit muted.

Bush 43 biographer Jon Meacham said, “His life code, as he said, was: Tell the truth, don’t blame people, be strong, do your best, try hard, forgive, stay the course. And that was and is the most American of creeds.”

  • I love a couple of the quotes from former Senator Alan Simpson who hales from Wyoming.

“He never hated anyone. He knew what his mother and my mother always knew: Hatred corrodes the container it’s carried in.”

What a great line! But not just a line – it speaks volumes about the conduct of public officials, but also about the conduct of all us in our every day lives.

  • Another quote from Simpson: “Those who travel the high road of humility in Washington, D.C. are never troubled by traffic.”
  • Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who served at the same time as Bush 41, came south to offer this trenchant comment.

“When George Bush was president … every single head of government in the world knew that they were dealing with a gentleman, a genuine leader—one who was distinguished, resolute and brave.”

  • Wall Street Journal editorial writers used the headline, “A Show of Class” to describe the national memorial service.

“Thursday’s funeral service for George H.W. Bush was full of eloquence, humor and grace, reflecting the man and the family. The media coverage unfortunately chose too often to lament that it reflected some past era that can’t be reclaimed, as if the future isn’t in our own hands.

“But the respect you get is usually the respect you earn, and the Bush family put on a public rite of national mourning that reflected well on the character of their father and the entire Bush clan, and gave the country a moment of shared respect it desperately needs.

“The eulogies were all well struck, elaborating on the many sides of George H.W. Bush: The war heroism and ambition from biographer Jon Meacham, the personal diplomacy from Brian Mulroney, friendship and wit from Alan Simpson, and the personal reflections of the presidential son. The Bushes are sometimes derided, on the left and right as part of a failed establishment, but on Wednesday they set an example for Americans to follow.”

It’s worth remembering this excellent of presidents. His life commitment was based on service and love of family. Both traits emerged very effectively in a “Show of Class” as we laid to rest in his home in Texas.

There is no question but that we need more public-spirited citizens like Bush 41.