Normally, when a prominent member of a President’s own political party passes on, it usually has positive political implications. There is a pause in the partisan bickering. The media is filled with the person’s good works – which reflects well on their political party. It provides the President with an opportunity to be a consoler and unifier.
This has not been the case with President Trump.
This was clearly seen with the death of Senator John McCain. His funeral was unusual in that it was weaponized against Trump by the McCain family and an obsessively anti-Trump media. McCain was most certainly a prominent Republican and arguably a war hero, but the day-after-day canonization of his yet-to-be-interred remains was far beyond the merits of the man. He was a man with an angry and vengeful nature. He was every bit as narcissistic as Trump. His votes were too often predicated on political motivation rather than public good (i.e. campaign finance regulations). He preferred to be a maverick instead of a principled conservative. Most of the high praise in the press was designed – with malice of forethought — to draw starker, darker comparisons to Trump – who did little to effectively counter the slander-by-false-comparison.
McCain’s request that Trump not be invited to the funeral and his posthumous letter incorporating a hit on Trump were far from the class and graciousness that Bush “41” demonstrated during his life. The McCain’s family’s unending nasty public comments about Trump during and after the senator’s funeral – as late as this week – have been repetitious and petty. They usually involve how they will never forgive Trump.
Unlike McCain, Bush deserves every minute of every praise. He was an extraordinary human being in demeanor and accomplishment. One does not always have to agree with each and every action or policy to recognize and appreciate the quality of the man.
Of course, he does have his detractors. Many see his call for a “new world order” as some Orwellian scheme of control over the world by a cabal of conspiring autocrats. If you give the phrase that meaning, there is reason to be concerned. Bush, however, was doing what we want American presidents to do – trying to improve the world for mankind by dealing with the evil alliances. We created a new world order after World War I – literally wiping out monarchies. We did it again after World War II –making the world free for democracy. Nixon changed the world order with his China policy. Reagan made an enormous change in the world order with his forced collapse of the Soviet Union. Most Americans would see Bush’s call for a new world order in that tradition.
It is only natural that every praise of Bush will be compared – if not openly, at least in the mind – with Trump – and it is not a positive comparison for the President. It is that crappy personality issue. In that regard, Bush is one of the role model Presidents for his successors and for the children across the country – what a President should be.
Whereas Bush was humble, Trump is egocentric. Whereas Bush was gracious, Trump is petty. Whereas Bush was articulate, Trump is argumentative and too often not credible. Whereas Bush could embrace political adversaries (in the tradition of Lincoln and Reagan), Trump reacts explosively to the least opposition or criticism.
Just to be clear, recognition of Trump’s personality issues, does not mean that I have lost sight of the more important policy proposals and achievements of the Trump presidency. Nor is it an absolution of the ethical collapse and corruptive bias of the left-wing news media. Those are far greater threats to the Republic than Trump’s idiosyncrasies. This is only a comparison of two personalities. If given the choice, I think virtually all parents would want their children to grow up with Bush’s personal character – and not with Trump’s.
Bush’s passing – and all the deserved eulogies that will be offered during this time of requiem – will shine a light on all of Trump’s personality deficiencies. That is unfortunate, but how things are.
So, there ‘tis.