George H.W. Bush Saw Strength in Compromise. Then He Paid the Price for It.

We pay respects to our 41st president for his lifetime of public service, and we marvel at how he was able to set aside the rough edges of a campaign when it was time to govern. He was director of the CIA, envoy to China, ambassador to the United Nations, RNC chair, and vice president for eight years under Ronald Reagan. In none of these positions did he leave much of a mark before assuming the presidency in 1989. He had a remarkable ability to dodge controversy. He was a president so understated that he could fade into the wallpaper between his predecessor, tall-in-the-saddle Reagan, and his successor, feel-your-pain Bill Clinton. His passing at age 94 gives us a chance to reevaluate his faults, and his gifts, which often are one and the same, and weigh the message they send to today’s politicians.