POLITICO Playbook: R.I.P. George H.W. Bush

WE WILL NEVER HAVE another man in public life quite like George Herbert Walker Bush. A war hero. A two-term congressman. Ambassador to the U.N. and China. Chair of the RNC. CIA director. Vice president. President.

HE WAS THE son of a senator from the great state of Connecticut — where he spent much of his childhood. The father of a president and governor.

FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS … NYT’S ADAM NAGOURNEY: “George Bush, the 41st president of the United States and the father of the 43rd, who steered the nation through a tumultuous period in world affairs but was denied a second term after support for his presidency collapsed under the weight of an economic downturn and his seeming inattention to domestic affairs, died on Friday night at his home in Houston. He was 94.

“Mr. Bush, a Republican, was a transitional figure in the White House, where he served from 1989 to 1993, capping a career of more than 40 years in public service. A decorated Navy pilot who was shot down in the Pacific in 1944, he was the last of the World War II generation to occupy the Oval Office.

“Mr. Bush was a skilled bureaucratic and diplomatic player who, as president, helped end four decades of Cold War and the threat of nuclear engagement with a nuanced handling of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the liberation of Eastern Europe.

“Yet for all his success in the international arena, his presidency faltered as voters seemed to perceive him as detached from their everyday lives. In an election that turned on the economy, they repudiated Mr. Bush in 1992 and chose a relatively little-known Democratic governor from Arkansas, Bill Clinton, a baby boomer, ushering in a generational shift in American leadership.” NYT … Cover of the late edition of the New York Times

WAPO’S KAREN TUMULTY, who has been working on this obit on and off for years: “Although Mr. Bush served as president three decades ago, his values and ethic seem centuries removed from today’s acrid political culture. His currency of personal connection was the handwritten letter — not the social media blast.

“He had a competitive nature and considerable ambition that were not easy to discern under the sheen of his New England politesse and his earnest generosity. He was capable of running hard-edge political campaigns, and took the nation to war. But his principal achievements were produced at negotiating tables.

“‘When the word moderation becomes a dirty word, we have some soul searching to do,’ he wrote a friend in 1964, after losing his first bid for elective office.

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