History should treat Bush better

November 29, 2018

Some presidents are viewed more favorably as the time they left office passes.

George W. Bush could be one of them, and for the most part, he deserves better treatment from the historians.

The 43rd president did not leave Washington in the best way in terms of public opinion. The Great Recession began during the waning months of his presidency in 2008, and he largely was blamed for the economic freefall that burdened millions of Americans.

But Bush also was the president who exhibited strong leadership in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 2001, terrorist attacks. His concerned yet confident approach during those days of crisis made many an American proud.

This might not have anything to do with the way he governed, but Bush was and is a kind, considerate man with a personality rather easy to like. In the highly partisan Washington of 2018, many would welcome more leaders who are similar to him.

At least one organization recognizes Bush’s qualities. The Associated Press has reported The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation will present Bush with the 2019 Lincoln Leadership Prize during a ceremony on April 1 in Chicago.

The annual award recognizes people for a lifetime of service in the spirit of Lincoln, the nation’s 16th president.

Ray McCaskey, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors, says much of Lincoln’s legacy was defined by his leadership during the Civil War. McCaskey says Bush also faced great challenges and demonstrated “resolute leadership” after the Sept. 11 attacks.

We applaud the foundation and congratulate Bush. He is a most worthy recipient.

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