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Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:12 PM

I watched 41 last night...

I don't know why. I guess because I've always been fascinated with George H.W. Bush because he was the first president I remember as a child - well him and Clinton. I never liked him, but I sympathized with him because I always felt he was the sacrificial lamb to Reagan's legacy. You know, those Reaganites never fully embraced him as a candidate and when he decided to raise taxes to keep the economy from totally collapsing, they abandoned him rather quickly.

Anyway, I decided to watch this documentary on HBO last night and I think its outcome was totally different than the film's intentions. Generally, these type of films endear you to a person and I felt Bush came off as bitter, mean and jealous. Maybe he's never been able to get over living in Reagan's shadow or his loss to Clinton in '92, but there were three major points in the documentary where Bush just had a very nasty tone.

1) When talking about the Berlin Wall falling, he went out of his way to attack Dick Gephardt and the media for their approach to the narrative and how they supposedly questioned his muted reaction. He even called Gephardt's comments 'stupid'. I get some resentment there, because partisan politicking at a point like that is always a bit annoying - but he brought it up pretty much out of nowhere and you could see, 23 or so years later, that he still begrudged those people. The question was geared toward his feelings of watching the event unfold and his focus was on Gephardt and the media ... not the actual emotional connection to the wall falling or the dramatic impact it had on the world.

2) It's clear Bush still resents those who opposed the Gulf War. Again, asked about the war itself, he almost entirely focused on the Democrats who opposed it. This is arguably the greatest achievement of the Bush administration and he spent the entire time essentially slamming more 'stupid' comments from those who weren't blindly following the President as we marched to war. He felt vindicated, obviously, but you could tell he was still very bitter over the backlash he received initially from the war and, even after all these years, it's something that hasn't eased. So, instead of focusing on the success, the fact he was the first president since, really, FDR, to successfully lead us through a war, Bush instead bemoaned those who opposed it.

3) He does not like Ross Perot. At all. I'd even wager he hates Perot. Toward the end of the documentary, Bush was asked his feelings on Perot and he flat out said he didn't like him and didn't want to talk about him because he cost him the '92 election. Of course, we all know Perot really didn't cost Bush the election, since number crunchers have found Perot took equally from Bush & Clinton (if not more from Clinton), but the fact he still hangs on to this after twenty-years is very telling. Again, this documentary gives you the sense that Bush is someone who rarely forgives and forgets.

Whatever. I guess it's his right to be bitter. But it was just remarkable how bitter he sounded.

Finally, there was another point in this documentary that left me wondering if Bush 'got it'. He was the head of the RNC during Watergate and the downfall of Nixon. He eventually wrote to Nixon and told him he had to resign and then when asked in the film whether he felt Nixon's resignation had any impact on the country ... Bush said no. How can you say no? Nixon's resignation was a turning point for this country and how it viewed the presidency. Nixon tarnished the presidency more than any other president in modern times and it helped create this image that politicians were nothing but sleazy crooks - a view that has held ever since.

You know, prior to Nixon, even if Americans didn't agree with the president or like his policies, there was at least some credence between the American people & the White House. They looked at the office with respect and trust and let's be honest, there has to be trust because without it, a president just can't succeed.

So, answering that question the way he did was startling. How one could say it didn't have any lasting impact on this country is beyond me.

He also really loves being called '41'.

The documentary itself, sadly, wasn't as good as it could have been. It really is a history of his life, which is fine, and talks an awful lot about his home in Kennebunkport, Maine, but there is little given to his time as vice-president and president ... which is disappointing. And, of course, they barely touch on the '92 election, where Bush blamed the media and Perot for his loss.

The documentary on Reagan, which I saw either earlier this year or last, I can't remember, was much better. It would've been nice getting some personal insights into the back and forth with Democrats during the budget talks that eventually led to his presidency ending. But maybe Bush didn't want to talk about that.

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply I watched 41 last night... (Original post)
Drunken Irishman Nov 2012 OP
regnaD kciN Nov 2012 #1
mzteaze Nov 2012 #2
BlueDemKev Nov 2012 #7
lastlib Nov 2012 #3
BlueMTexpat Nov 2012 #4
Rstrstx Nov 2012 #5
lastlib Nov 2012 #6
BlueDemKev Nov 2012 #8

Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:01 PM

1. The Bush family is classless. Period.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:21 PM

2. I found 41

likable as a person. He wasn't good as a president but given that people thought Reagan was some deity, Bush kinda got the short end of the stick.

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Response to mzteaze (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:51 AM

7. Yeah, such a NICE person...

...do you remember how MEAN he was during the '88 campaign? Willie Horton, Boston Harbor, the Pledge of Allegiance...shall I continue?

The Bush family is very two-faced: They come across as so nice and understanding, but behind the scenes they are hateful, cold-blooded, and bitter towards their adversaries. I wouldn't trust them for one second.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 05:40 PM

3. GHWB was indeed a mean, nasty, vindictive, grudge-carrying SOB.

What he let his campaign team (Lee Atwater et al.) do to Michael Dukakis in '88 was absolutely criminal--I regard it as the lowest, vilest campaign of the postwar era.

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Response to lastlib (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:22 PM

4. I agree entirely. And there are two other things:

1) his cynical choice of Dan Quayle - a totally witless ninny who no one sane could ever imagine as C-in-C, i.e., a male Sarah Palin - as Veep; and

2) his nomination of Clarence Thomas - the least qualified US Supreme Court nominee EVER - to take the place of the legendary and genuinely heroic Thurgood Marshall.

41 was a SOB of the first order, yes indeed.

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Response to lastlib (Reply #3)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 07:25 PM

5. Then you never saw his son's campaign in '94

Against Ann Richards. It was the first real taste of Rove

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Response to Rstrstx (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:34 AM

6. you're right, that one was pretty vicious.

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Response to lastlib (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:54 AM

8. Absolutely. The '88 campaign elevated negative attacks to a whole new level.

Nothing that Bush I could do over the next 24 years could ever erase the mean, nasty person we saw in 1988. There was absolutely NO reason to run that type of campaign, especially against a feeble candidate like Dukakis. He could have easily run on the strong economy and the "feel good" patriotism the country experienced during the Reagan years.

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