BOSTON (CBS) – If you didn’t catch any of yesterday’s dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, you missed a rare sight in our political life – bitter political adversaries celebrating the good in each other instead of targeting the bad.
President Obama, who to this day keeps President Bush handy as his favorite scapegoat, said: “To know the man is to like the man…He knows who he is…He takes his job seriously but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He is a good man.”
Former President Carter, who has never hesitated to share his distaste for most of the Bush-era policies, effusively praised his work fighting AIDS in Africa and said: “I’m filled with admiration for you and deep gratitude for you about the great contributions you’ve made to the most needy people on earth.”
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And former President Clinton seconded their motions. His close relationships with both Presidents Bush are a classic example of friendship triumphing over partisanship.
There’s been a lot of justified admiration expressed during the past two weeks of the goodwill shown by people toward one another in the wake of an attack against all of us. I’ve personally heard some comment on how wonderful that is, and what a shame it is we can’t treat each other with such respect and tolerance all of the time.
Some of those same people I know to be committed partisans with never a good word to say about presidents of the opposite party.
Maybe they could take a cue from the current and former presidents in Texas yesterday, and learn that bitter caricatures are a poor substitute for a genuine understanding of what makes others tick.
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