December 5, 2006

"A true measure of a man is how you handle victory and how you handle defeat..."

Why does George H.W. Bush break down and cry? Is it really about Jeb? Or is he broken up about that other son?

30 comments:

stephen said...

Wow!

That's about all I've got right now. More later when I can wrap my mind around it.

Donald Douglas said...
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Anonymous said...

There's no evidence the elder Bush is transferring his feelings to his other son. He's just a loving parent who's quite justifiably proud of how this particular son handled defeat. No more, no less.

SteveR said...

Jeb has been through some tough times as well but no doubt he is dealing with the weight of GWB also.

Slac said...

I bet he was thinking about a lot of things... including his own defeat to Clinton and how his children...

Oh hell I don't know at all what he's thinking. He's one of the only men in history to live long enough to see his son become his president. Have their been any others? What a psych job that must be.

PatCA said...

They say that at every funeral, you're mourning the one before.

So that's my speculation--he's mourning earlier losses, one of which is I'm sure watching his other son take a beating.

stephen said...

All of you remind me of those people they have at the CIA who diagnose foreign leaders with this or that disease without an actual physical diagnosis but only seeing them from a distance.

Watch out Althouse! Next they'll be diagnosing you from your bloggingheads appearances.

Ricardo said...

If you'll remember, Jeb was the one who was originally being groomed for the Presidency. That retrospective, alone, can open the door to a lot of emotions.

Anonymous said...

Well heck, Stephen, it's not like we're setting foreign policy here, we're just watching a video of an old man proud of his boy. Big deal.

The way I see it he's one of those old men who, God bless them, get softer and not grouchier with age.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I cannot slight him for being emotional at a tribute to his son who's done very well indeed.

Michael said...

Slac: Have their been any others?

Just the Adamses.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm not slighting him. I think it's touching.

Donald Douglas said...
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ada47 said...

Who knows. I saw him break up once when he talked about his daughter that died from childhood leukemia fifty years ago. No doubt the man is a loving father, and maybe it was all about Jeb.

I have often wondered, though, how the man feels about his other son, W., who failed at just about everything, who he always has to bail out of trouble, and who has now failed in so great a manner that he has perhaps damaged the country beyond our ability to recover any time soon. Does he feel guilty for not intervening sooner, for letting his son play out this ugly Oedipal psychodrama for so long and to such tragic consequences?

DBrooks said...

Jeez, ada47. My first reaction was to tell you to put a sock in it, but I decided that wasn't any more graceful than your comment--a comment that says a lot more about you than does any of the Bush family. We should all have such "failures" in our families. The man graduated from Yale University, has an MBA from Harvard, was twice elected Governor of Texas, and, again, twice elected as President of the United States. Some failure. I suspect you have loved ones who are proud of you for having accomplished a great deal less than that.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. If that's what failure is, sign me up for more of it.

Alpha Liberal said...

Papa Bush should get a break on this one. Old dudes get emotional easily.

For my money, the past six years of watching his dumbshit son screw up the country for decades to come must take an emotional toll.

Shoulda made George stand up on his own two feet. Guess that will never hapen now.

reader_iam said...

As I recall it (but could be wrong), back in the late '80s/into the '90s it was Neil about whom they were the most--if not defensive, then protective. Maybe both. And not just because of the Silverado thing

And yes, "it" was supposed to be Jeb. Ever wonder where we'd be if that "supposed to be" had played out?

Tim said...

Sentimentality is an underrated emotion, especially in men toward their children, and more especially toward their sons.

It is touching, more so because its sincerity is transparent. I fear that as our political culture coarsens to the point only scoundrels will run for higher office, we will be the lesser for letting a more civil time and more civil leaders slip from our grasp. We're all to blame for that, no matter to which party you belong.

As for whether GHWB was thinking of his son the president, who knows if he was at that moment? But surely he does, and I don't doubt for a moment he's as thoughtful and sentimental toward GW as he is toward Jeb.

ada47 said...

OK, dbrooks.
Well, there were some failed oil companies, and some suspicious "liberation" of stocks. Dad and friends did the bail outs.

And graduating from Yale and getting a Harvard MBA might be hard work for the rest of us, without the connections, but that is just what those people do (same with the Kennedy's, OK?). Believe me, I am on the admissions committee at a pretty exclusive university, and we lower the bar for, shall we say, "development cases".

He only got elected once.

And getting elected does not mean success. Unless you will tell me with a straight face that Jimmy Carter was a success. No, I didn't think so.

But all snarkiness aside, this Iraq mess is beyond comprehension. I say that as someone who has never had a clear cut, black and white opinion of this war. It seems we've lost, and in a large part because Bush f*cked it up. And the dilemma about whether we should send more troops for a final push or get the hell out is a real one, and I do not envy a single pol, Dem or Rep, who is now in the position of trying to figure out what the hell we do now. This has cost countless lives, and more death will follow.

We're in debt up to our noses. Katrina. Should I go on?

What must be worse for the old man is the way Junior has "managed" his foreign policy as if it were nothing more than a chance to repudiate Dad, to show him that he, Junior, knows a thing or two. And Dad stood back, let the boy do his thing, told himself that he had his turn, now it's the boy's turn.

HW may not have been my favorite president, but no question the man had principles and humility. And his born-again son with the messianic salvation narrative who "listens to another Father" has pretty much pissed all over those principles.

And do't you think that anyone who is speculating why old Bush was crying is revealing more about themselves than of the Bush family? Does anyone really know why HW was crying? No, we're just gossiping. ANd if you are here, reading this post, you're no better than me.

ada47 said...

Than I.

Michael Farris said...

"you're no better than me... Than I."

As a practicing linguist, I'd say that 'than me' is always correct, though 'than I' is also acceptable in this case.

Goesh said...

It's probably an acquired habit from his WW2 days, shedding a few tears for his fellow pilots that never returned from their missions.

monkeyboy said...

Goesh;

Please tell me thats snark.

monkeyboy said...

Sorry, NOT snark.

I'd hate to think you are accusing him of not caring about the losses in his TBM squadron.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

First, if you want to understand W, look at Barbara. Jeb and GHWB were always the close ones in that family.

As for the list of fathers who saw their sons become President, you can certainly add Harding's father, who actually outlived him.

Gullen wrote a book about presidential fathers, but I've never read it.

One of the more interesting and little known fatherly connexions is that Eleanor Roosevelt's father was Teddy Roosevelt's younger brother.

Finally, for all you small minds entangled in your own partisan piffle, you should read what people said about Harry Truman back in '51 and '52. Then go read what is said about him now. There is simply too much you don't know to form a valid opinion one way or the other.

corporate law drudge said...

"The man graduated from Yale University, has an MBA from Harvard, was twice elected Governor of Texas, and, again, twice elected as President of the United States. Some failure."

Yeah and Howdy Doody became a successful TV star, too

Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Ann,

It was clear to me that GWH Bush was also suffering from the stress of realizing that the debacles caused by his son are ultimately traced to the Bush family's aristocratic ambitions. In other words, the old man is as much to blame for Irag and other evils as the clueless son he foisted upon the world stage. Royalty, aristocracy, and plutocracy always were and always will be bad ideas and we have been forced to suffer through yet more proof of this.

Revenant said...

"The man graduated from Yale University, has an MBA from Harvard, was twice elected Governor of Texas, and, again, twice elected as President of the United States. Some failure."

Yeah and Howdy Doody became a successful TV star, too

And given that you haven't even achieved Howdy's level of success, let alone Bush's, it might be smart of you to ease off on the use of the "failure" label.

dbp said...

Why does everything have to turn back toward W?

Jeb Bush lost his first bid for Governor of FL and then won in his next try 4 years later. This just might be what Sr. meant by in victory and in defeat. No?

This is clearly what GHWB was talking about given the setting in the film clip.

Even if Sr. was thinking about Jr. please bear in mind that dad is a pretty mainstream Republican and it is really pretty much only the left who really think of W as a failure. I am sure the old man is bursting with pride over both his sons. They have both gone far by any standard.

dbp