John Avlon: George H.W. Bush, Our Preppiest Ex-President

tags: George H.W. Bush, presidents, The Daily Beast, John Avlon



John Avlon is political director for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. A CNN contributor, he won the National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ award for best online column in 2012.

It’s been a quarter-century since George H.W. Bush was elected president, but the wheels of history are finally turning his way. In a triumph of civility and character over hyperbolic hyper-partisanship, Bush 41 was honored Monday by President Obama at the White House for the success of his Point of Light award for civic volunteerism.

We begin to see clearly in the rearview mirror of history, and George H.W. Bush has lived long enough to be appreciated as the Lone Star Yankee, perhaps the last unapologetically centrist Republican to enter the White House, winning California on the way to an electoral landslide.

In the last few months alone, we have seen the posthumous publishing of Richard Ben Cramer’s Being Poppy, distilled from his 1988 campaign epic, What It Takes. The character of Will McAvoy on HBO’s The Newsroom identifies himself as the sentinel of liberal Republicanism—and boasts a fictitious past as a speechwriter for 41 as his GOP bona fides. A real-life former Bush speechwriter, Christopher Buckley, has been all but drummed out of the conservative clique his father did more than anyone else to help found but retains his perch as an unusually civil and lighthearted voice in often coarse and remorseless civic discourse....



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