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Mourning President Bush

Susan Estrich on

I spent more than a year working to beat him. I thought his campaign manager was about the most unethical person I'd ever met. I knew that the fish rots from the head. I was not a big fan of George H.W. Bush's.

Until I -- and much of America -- came face to face with a president who lacks everything we took for granted in him.

Nobody was afraid of a Bush presidency, which was one of the reasons he won. Compared with a relatively unknown liberal governor who let a black first-degree murderer out of prison and then rape a white woman, the vice president was the safe choice. And he was safe.

I don't know a single soul who told me that they were actually afraid of a Bush presidency. He appointed judges I didn't favor, gave tax cuts to the wealthy, played it cozy with the Saudis. But he was never scary. You never thought, "My God, this guy doesn't listen to everyone. He shoots from the hip, embarrasses us in the eyes of the world, creates all kinds of uncertainty, has no respect for anyone or anything, thinks he knows everything, makes everything personal and lost the House with a booming economy."

George H.W. Bush respected the office of the presidency.

He respected the rule of law.

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He surrounded himself with aides who were not chosen solely based on their loyalty to him.

He did not brag about manhandling women, did not spend his day watching television and actually believed in talking to Democrats.

He wrote nice notes to people ("nn") -- including people he disagreed with -- not Twitter posts

We were opponents, not enemies.

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