2019-01-29 17:29 | 考研集训营
George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st president of the United States, died on November 30th, aged 94
Wherever he went, as America’s president or before it, George Herbert Walker Bush usually carried a felt-tipped pen and a supply of notecards. On these he wrote letters. Some were thank-yous; others a clumsy, but courteous, attempt to get his views across to other people; yet others just a “good to see you” kind of thing. When the time came to write his presidential memoirs, to salve some of that desperate hurt after Bill Clinton thrashed him in 1992, he published instead 600-plus pages of correspondence. They ranged from doting letters to newborn grandchildren to his worries, as a young seaman in 1943, that his girlfriend Barbara, “so darn attractive”, would drop him while he was away; from his attempt to explain the Watergate scandal to his four young sons, to his mortified account of throwing up in 1992 on the Japanese prime minister, “the damnedest experience”. He admitted that some of the letters were nutty. But they were also of the moment. As he said, “It’s all about heartbeat.”
In one letter he happened to mention a childhood rebuke from his mother: “Now, George, don’t walk ahead.” He took her words to heart, staying, for most of his political career, loyally behind and modestly to one side. As chairman of the Republican National Committee in 1974, he stuck by Richard Nixon until it became more urgent to save the party; at which point, he publicly asked him to resign. He felt afterwards as though someone had died. In his eight years as Ronald Reagan’s vice-president, though they had sparred bitterly in the 1980 primaries over Reagan’s “voodoo economics” and his callow Hollywood sparkle, he never criticised or upstaged him. During the Iran-contra affair of the 1980s, though present at many salient meetings, he declared himself out of the loop, and it was hard to prove otherwise.