The First Bush Is Underrated

Strong and moderate, HW steered the country well in his brief tenure, Ned Lamont argues
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2014 1:39 PM CDT
The First Bush Is Underrated
President George H.W. Bush, flanked by Secretary of State James Baker III, left, and US Ambassador to the USSR Robert Strauss, points to a reporter during a Rose Garden press conference in 1991.   (AP Photo/Greg Gibson, File)

History does not tend to look kindly on one-term presidents—with the probable exception of James Polk, who managed to double the size of the country in four years. But Ned Lamont at Real Clear Politics wants to add "another one-termer to the pantheon: George Herbert Walker Bush." We've been watching foreign policy neophytes in the White House for a generation, and Bush was anything but. A war hero who went on to serve as an ambassador, CIA chief, and vice president, he deftly handled the fall of the Soviet Union and stood up to the militarists who wanted to expand the Gulf War.

"Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land," Bush reflected in his memoirs. He also raised taxes and cut spending, turning the budget deficit into a surplus. And he gets scant credit for how employment was improving as he left office. "Bush the Elder’s term was an extraordinary four years" that "helped lay the groundwork for another eight years of peace and prosperity," Lamont concludes. Click for his full column. (Read more George HW Bush stories.)

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