With former President George H.W. Bush's health taking a turn for the worse, Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News paid the 41st President the sort of compliment one would expect from an Upper West Side liberal:
Everybody in this country ought to respect the man known as Bush 41, now more than ever. It's not that he was a great President - he wasn't, though he was so much better than his own son - but he has led such a great American life.
Translation: You're a schmuck, but not as a big a schmuck as your son. Now that you have been out of office for nearly 25 years and are nearing the end of your life, it turns out you're not such a bad guy after all.
There really is no place for him in the current Republican Party. Bush the elder isn't nearly mean or stubborn enough. He is too much of a gentleman, possesses too much of a quality almost gone from modern politics, both sides, a quality called grace.
That would be the current Republican Party that has nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney in the last two election cycles and might very well nominate Jeb Bush in 2016.
Of course, Lupica makes it clear he didn't think Bush 41 was much of a gentleman when he let Lee Atwater sick Willie Horton on Michael Dukakis or when he appointed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.
But, you see, Lupica thinks Bush has "grown in stature" since he left the White House.
Translation: Bush no longer talks like a Republican or, heaven forbid, like a conservative.
I should note that in February 2011, I took Lupica to task for berating Sarah Palin after she expressed her concerns about The Arab Spring in Egypt. Lupica wrote, "She also questions the motives of the people in the street, the ones whose courage will make Egypt a better place when this is all over, whoever is in charge next month, or next fall."
Well, it turned out Palin's concerns (and those of many others) were well founded. Egypt is not a better place today. Mohamed Morsi is in charge and is ruling the country by decree.
With this in mind, the words of Mike Lupica should be taken (if Nanny Bloomberg permits) with a grain of salt.
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