In a new era of politics, looking back at the restraint of George H. W. Bush

In a new era of politics, looking back at the restraint of George H. W. Bush

The Presidential podcast, with Lillian Cunningham:

The more the American political climate today resembles a personality-driven reality show, the more the country’s nostalgia seems to grow for restrained elder statesmen like George H. W. Bush. “There’s clearly a new appreciation of his grace, of his dignity,” biographer Jon Meacham says.

“But we miss the point of Bush if we simply focus on his good manners and neglect the genuine historical legacy that he’s left us,” according to Meacham. “There are sound historical, intellectual, philosophical reasons to appreciate with high regard the presidency of George H. W. Bush.”

In this week’s episode of the Presidential podcast, Meacham and fellow historian Jeffrey Engel discuss President Bush’s unique form of political leadership—a vintage combination of public service, conservatism and emotional restraint—and examine why his legacy has grown more positive over time.

Bush was a man who’d enjoyed great success at the head of American society, and saw at as his duty to protect and extend that society into the future. He didn’t think America was broken and so saw no need to fix it.