President Bush himself perhaps provided the most insightful assessment of his presidency in a comment to historian Jon Meacham:
“I am lost between the glory of Ronald Reagan — monuments everywhere, trumpets, the great hero — and the trials and tribulations of my sons.”
Even so, I now look back on his life of service and his decency … and realize what our current political climate has lost, and the standard to which we need to aspire and return. Mr. Bush’s agreement during his term to raise taxes – despite his earlier campaign pledge, and with the understanding that it could (as it did) cost him a second term – because he felt it was the right thing to do – is in stark contrast to the craven focus on self-interest of politicians of both parties that we suffer with today.
I would submit that what can be said of President Bush can’t be said of many presidents: that his years in the White House were simply a part of the tapestry of a larger life that in its entirety consisted of integrity, honor, duty, devotion to his wife, his family, and his friends, and dedication to his nation. Although there are good biographies available about him, I recommend that anyone having the opportunity instead read All the Best – George Bush, a compilation of the President’s correspondence over a lifetime. It demonstrates in his own words, more clearly than any historian, eulogizer or commentator has or will, what a fine man he was.