In August of 1992, I attended the Republican National Convention, in Houston, Texas. My desire to attend this convention was great because I really believed in George H. W. Bush. Unfortunately, I had just started a new job, was recently married, and had an infant at home to care for. I did not have time to network with the Texas delegation and secure a spot at the convention. So, I drove half a mile down the road to the then Adams Mark Hotel and convinced the California delegation to take me along.
I so wanted Bush to win that election. I admired his coolness, skill, reasoning, and political talent. He emphasized the importance of character and I wanted to be like him. Here are some of the traits that really impressed me about him:
- Cool under pressure
- Degree in Economics from Yale, sound economic mind
- His ability to unite factions nationally and internationally
- Discernment to know when to enter Kuwait
- Knowing not to enter Iraq and call a cease fire
- Keen knowledge of economics, “Watch your wallet”
- Personification of a strong character and sound values
- Like all of us, he had short comings; but he always pushed himself to go beyond his limitations – something that I struggle to do to this day
In 1992, George H. W. Bush lost his bid for reelection to the presidency and something suddenly went out of me, and I felt deflated. Everyone was so cruel to him, especially the media. “Spending too much time on foreign policy instead of national policy”, they said. Larry King showed him no respect at all. Even the president himself appeared battered.
Mary Tillotson of CNN in 1992 asked the president at a televised press conference, “What about your affair?”. This was a dig at the president’s stand on character – as opposed to the numerous accusations of infidelity surrounding Bill Clinton. The president simply said, “Mary, I am disappointed in you, and I am disappointed in CNN”.
I lost my interest in politics at that time and it never really returned with the same fervor. As I stare over the nation’s political landscape, the scene is the worst one could ever image: hate, slurs, incivility, and rudeness. George H. W. Bush lifted us above this. My goal will be to honor him by modeling my personal behavior so that it is inline with his professional persona. I hope others follow the moral outline of his personal character – courtesy and goodwill.