(TriceEdneyWire.com)—I never thought I would miss our 43rd President, George W. Bush. And I’ve never much thought of him as a great, or even good, speaker. But the speech he gave at a conference convened by the George W. Bush Institute was simply eloquent, excellent, thoughtful, and compelling. After keeping a low profile for the past eight years, he spoke up to decry the fact that “bigotry seems emboldened.” “Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children”.
Why did George W. Bush choose to speak so forcefully, in a speech that did not mention 45 but was at least partly directed to him? Perhaps it was Charlottesville, since he and his father, 41st President George Herbert Walker Bush, issued a joint statement denouncing White supremacists, something that 45 simply could not bring himself to do. The younger Bush was blunt last week when he said, “Bigotry or White supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed.”
I knew that I would miss our 44th President Barack Obama. Like his predecessor, he has kept a low profile since leaving office, stepping out very briefly to campaign for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam and to reflect on the challenges we face in our democracy. Like President Bush, President Obama did not refer to 45 by name, but his speech in Virginia was a repudiation of virtually everything our prevaricating “president” stands for. “Some of the politics we see now, we thought we put that to bed,” said Obama. “That has folks looking 50 years back. It’s the 21st century, not the 19th century. Come on!” Seemingly scolding the current administration, Obama said, “Instead of looking for ways to work together to get things done in a practical way, we’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.”