Big Red Car here like a lot of people feeling the loss of former President George HW Bush and reflecting on the accomplishments of this good and great man.
“Fair winds and following seas, Mr. President. We have the watch.”
I use the word “good” before the word “great” because he was as revered for his goodness as he was for his greatness.
This was a man whose most significant professional limitation came in the form of a short guy with a crewcut named Ross Perot.
In the 1992 Presidential election, George Bush was just off the victory in the First Gulf War tempered by his failure to adhere to his own “read my lips, no new taxes” promise.
No Democrat wanted to take on such a popular President, so the Dems picked a nobody Arkansas Governor named William Jefferson Clinton.
The election was made more interesting by the injection of an independent candidate — Ross Perot.
What happened, Big Red Car?
Some say that President Bush campaigned in a lackluster manner or that Bill Clinton was particularly energetic, but everybody noticed Ross Perot, his charts, and his crazy aunt in the basement/attic. She was very mobile for a crazy aunt.
In the end, the numbers told the story as Perot/Stockdale took 19,742,267 votes nationwide — 18.9%/0 states carried.
Bush/Quayle received 39,104,545 votes — 37.4%/18 states carried.
Clinton/Gore won with 44,909,889 votes — 43%/32 states plus DC carried.
The Electoral College math ended up with Clinton 370 v Bush 168 v Perot 0.
In the end, Bill Clinton won with 43% of the votes for him and 57% of the votes against him. Fair to say that fewer people wanted Clinton as President than didn’t.
What might have happened, Big Red Car?
Several things might have turned out differently is Ross Perot hadn’t intervened.
1. George Bush would have won and governed for four more years.
2. Bill Clinton would have lost and we would have been spared his impeachment and the entire tawdry episode.
3. Monica Lewinsky would have married a nice doctor from Las Angeles and never had Bill Clinton’s sperm sprayed on her blue dress.
4. The world would have been spared the Wicked Witch of Little Rock, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Can you imagine a world without Hillary? Do you long for a world without Hillary?
George HW Bush, American Dreamer
George HW Bush was an adventurer in the greatest sense of the American Dream. When the US was attacked at Pearl Harbor, this wealthy, teenage son of privilege threw his advantages aside and said, “Send me.”
When asked who shall we send, he said again, “Send me.” He went to war in the cockpit of an Avenger torpedo bomber and was shot down and recovered by a submarine after losing his two man crew. Dried off, he went back to war.
He fearlessly went in harm’s way.
Later in life, he would pack up a car and take off for Midland, Texas to learn the oil business. Fearless.
Bush and Ronald Reagan — political rivals — forged what today looks like the most effective President-Vice President leadership team in US history. Give Ronald Reagan credit for knowing what he had with Bush.
Warrior, entrepreneur, Congressman (Tx 7), Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the RNC, Envoy to China, Director of Central Intelligence
George Bush was the best prepared Vice President/President in US history.
Bush was elected President and would have been re-elected save for Ross Perot. It would have been a good sixteen years. Instead we got Bill Clinton.
Fair winds, following seas, sir
Every military service has its quirky ways of saying goodbye or its odd phrases. The Army used to say, “See you on the high ground.”
One unit I served in used to say, “Two up and one back. Hot socks and dry chow. Circle up on the objective.”
Translated that meant we were attacking with two platoons forward and one in reserve and that when we seized the objective we would dig in a circular defense followed by hot chow and to change your socks. You sort of had to be there to understand it.
The Navy says “Fair winds, following seas, sir. We have the watch.”
They use the phonetics Bravo Zulu to signify a job well done.
I doubt we will see such a well qualified, kind man as George HW Bush as our President any time soon.
Bravo Zulu, Mr. President.
But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car. Godspeed.