(12 June 1924 to 30 November 2018)
Born in Massachusetts, educated at Yale, after flying for the navy in World War II, he became part of the Texas Oil industry, and a lifelong Republican. With experience in Congress, the Diplomatic Corp. and Intel, he was a steady second-in-command to the more flamboyant Reagan, and an obvious choice as his successor to the presidency. He oversaw the end of the Cold War, clipped Saddam Hussein’s wings (but crucially, drew back to allow that dictator to stay in place, ensuring an uneasy balance of power in the Middle East), and was generally a centrist on monetary and social policy.
He may have been the last American President to promote civil discourse and a respect for political opponents. After him, came the nightmarish kill-or-be-killed stoushes, mainly domestic – the Starr Chamber; the hanging chad election; 911; the homeland security reaction and Iraq; the withdrawal of U.S. foreign influence in the face of China and Russia, and the new partisan brutality of Tr(i)umphalism and Trump derangement. Bush stated in his inaugural address that his purpose was “to make kinder the face of the nation and gentler the face of the world.” In this, for a time, he succeeded.
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