Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Bub And The Shrub

Looking at the state of politics in the USA today it would be easy to conclude that there is no place for civility, never mind bipartisanship. There are more snipers in Congress than in the whole of Iraq; more belly-aching in the Senate than in your local E.R.; and more bitchin’ in the media than in a whole parade of tricked-out Escalades.

So you can imagine my shock when Bill Clinton and George W. Bush sat down together today in front of a fairly neutral audience and spoke of their mutual admiration and friendship.

Toronto was the venue, and according to Time Magazine, Bush praised the work of Clinton's foundation, and Clinton praised Bush's work to increase funding for HIV/AIDS care. "My foundation works on climate change and to bring affordable AIDS care and malaria care to people throughout the world in areas that have high incidence of that," Clinton said. "And I must say that has been much easier because of the phenomenal increase in funding from the United States government that President Bush achieved when he was in office. I think that is one of his most important achievements as President," Clinton said, later giving particular credit to Bush's ability to gain the support of Christian Evangelical groups.

Time goes on to claim that they became friends in April 2005 when they shared a flight from Washington to Rome to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II.

Bush has apparently had some trouble adjusting to life beyond the Presidency and Clinton has called him at home to chat about the path he has personally taken following his two terms.

Whatever your feelings about each President, and many of us harbor very strong ones, this is good for our country and good for the world. In some ways, neither man was the perfect statesman during his tenure; but as Clinton has decidedly proved, moving beyond personal scandals or partisan politics is not only possible, but remarkably effective.

That Bush is choosing to follow a path of statesmanship is extremely gratifying. The man has intimate knowledge of issues that affect us all, and if he continues down this path he will be a valuable agent for change - and that can only be positive news.

It's a shame that Dick Cheney chooses not to do the same.

But I won't end on that note. I see nothing but good news when two leaders can form friendships that transcend their political views, and when they combine forces to make our world a better place. I'm excited to see how this pans out.

Posted by Jon Rice at May 30, 2009 8:56 PM
Comments
Comment #282248

Lessee,

Two guys with legacy issues. One a philandering whore, the other a dry, peter principle drunk. What a pair. Jimmy Carter makes ‘em both look like Ron Reagan Alzheimer candidates.

Sorry, I’m not feeling generous today.

Posted by: gergle at May 30, 2009 10:39 PM
Comment #282250


Magnanimity is a sign of true character and is much in the American temperament. It is one reason out country is great.

Presidents Bush & Clinton know something about the challenges of being president. They are now generally beyond politics. They can be generous. Generous people are usually happier and more successful. That is the irony of life.

It takes a smart person to by cynical, but it takes a wise one not to be. You have to pass through cynicism to achieve wisdom. It is a bridge too far for some.

Jon - you are right that it is good news, but not really that surprising. The only odd man out is Jimmy Carter. Look at the picture of the ex-presidents meeting Obama and note the body language.

Posted by: Christine at May 30, 2009 11:05 PM
Comment #282252

A lot of lefties in that picture ;) Left-Handed U.S. Presidents
James A. Garfield (1831-1881) 20th
Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) 31st
Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) 33rd
Gerald Ford (1913- ) 38th
Ronald Reagan (1911 - ) 40th
George H.W. Bush (1924- ) 41st
Bill Clinton (1946- ) 42nd
Barack Obama (1961- ) 44th

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 31, 2009 12:17 AM
Comment #282257

Another bit of positive Bush legacy appears to be more of a commitment to democracy in international affairs. Another way to put that is to suggest at least a easing of anti-democracy activities. In south America there is a decided move to the left. Leftist leaders have been democratically elected in several countries without typical American interference like financing death squads and staging counter coups etc. This is not 100% of course. I am sure the CIA still has their grubby hands at work here and there, but it is better than we could have expected from a Rep administration.

Posted by: bills at May 31, 2009 7:41 AM
Comment #282261

Like i said to Ron Brown three years ago if you were going to have a Beer with a president W J Clinton and “JR” Bush were the best two, G H W Bush is looking good.

Posted by: Rodney Brown at May 31, 2009 11:11 AM
Comment #282265

It takes a smart person to by cynical, but it takes a wise one not to be. You have to pass through cynicism to achieve wisdom. It is a bridge too far for some.

Or you have to be a complete sucker with a vested interest in being blind. Sometimes the troll under the bridge eats your billy goat.:)

Posted by: gergle at May 31, 2009 12:10 PM
Comment #282267

Gergle

If you have passed through the cynical sophomore stage, you understand that letting yourself be a sucker is not wisdom. To give respect, you have to demand respect. You look for win-win results. Some people think that is silly. I have enough experience to know that is the only sustainable alternative.

Posted by: Christine at May 31, 2009 12:31 PM
Comment #282279

I might obey a person who leverages respect. There is a huge difference between leveraged obedience and true respect. I have enough experience to know that earned respect is much more valuable than demanded respect. Cynicism is born of distrust. It would be foolish to avoid cynical behavior in favor of putting our trust in those who would readily use and abuse us.

Posted by: RickIL at May 31, 2009 4:52 PM
Comment #282282

RickIL,

“I have enough experience to know that earned respect is much more valuable than demanded respect. Cynicism is born of distrust”

Bingo!

I am more likely to distrust someone that demands respect, than I am someone that cultivates, or earns that respect.
While I might respect someones rights a human, I could give a rat’s *ss about someones ego that demands my respect.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 31, 2009 7:51 PM
Comment #282283

RickIl

The earned and demanded are not mutually exclusive. I am not speaking of demanding undeserved respect. I was responding to gergle talking about the non-cynical guys being suckers. I am talking about reciprocity - the win/win that I mentioned. Too often we forget the responsibilty part of rights. It is not virtuous of generous to let others behave poorly toward us. It shows our lack of respect for them. They are not “good enough” to be held to a decent standard.

Posted by: Christine at May 31, 2009 8:58 PM
Comment #282289

Christine,

Respect is something that is given freely or not at all.
I respect my associates because they have earned my respect and, hopefully I have earned theirs. I respect someone that I know deserves it.

For instance I respected McCain enough to vote for him until his campaign went dirty and he little or nothing to stop it. At that point he lost my respect.
I don’t respect Cheney regardless of what he has achieved politically because I despise what he stands for.
I respect Hemingway as a writer, but not as a person because from what I understand, he wasn’t a very good human being.

“It shows our lack of respect for them. They are not “good enough” to be held to a decent standard.”

This doesn’t mean they forfeit their rights as humans.
Every human has rights. Even the lowest form of scum doesn’t forfeit their right to a fair trial that determines their guilt or innocence.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at May 31, 2009 11:04 PM
Comment #282295

Rocky

I respect your opinion, so I see that I am evidently not making myself clear.

I am not saying anybody forfeits any rights. I am simply saying that holding others to standards you consider reasonable is a sign of respect. Cutting slack all the time is not.

Think about it from this angle. what if we were friends who went to lunch together. Only EVERY time we went I bought the meal because I thought you were unable to pull your own weight. In fact, whenever you offered anything at all, I just dismissed it and insisted on being “generous” and “tolerant” of your failings. Is this relationship based on mutual respect? Or is it just a one-way dependency?

It is often more blessed to RECEIVE than to give. It shows respect.

BTW - respect also has a variety of connotations. It does not necessarily imply fondness. Most people respect rattlesnakes; few love them.

Posted by: Christine at June 1, 2009 12:04 AM
Comment #282297

Christine,

The rattlesnake doesn’t itself, demand respect. Someone who doesn’t know of the “danger” wouldn’t know to give it a wide berth, and therefore no “respect”.
Also “respect” would seem to depend on which end of the rattlesnake you’re on.

“Think about it from this angle. what if we were friends who went to lunch together. Only EVERY time we went I bought the meal because I thought you were unable to pull your own weight. In fact, whenever you offered anything at all, I just dismissed it and insisted on being “generous” and “tolerant” of your failings. Is this relationship based on mutual respect? Or is it just a one-way dependency?”

There is no true relationship where the other party assumes too much. Communication demands that both parties understand the rules.
In your senario there is no communication at all.
Not to be contrary, but I have had this happen and I ended it after the second lunch. I do have “self-respect” and I didn’t allow it to happen again. That is not to say I don’t enjoy being taken out to lunch, but that it must be implied before hand.

I assume nothing, this isn’t my first rodeo.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at June 1, 2009 12:36 AM
Comment #282323

Oh, geez! Spare me, oh wise one. When we are done anointing ourselves the smartest persons in the room, and dancing on pin heads, perhaps we can get on with it.

I neither respect Bill Clinton, Ron Reagan nor GW Bush as presidents. You apparently do. Wonderful.

I give you Krugman:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/01/opinion/01krugman.html


But, thanks for the condescension.

Posted by: gergle at June 1, 2009 1:12 PM
Comment #282335

Gergle

It is up to you. I prefer to choose differently. My way has worked to make me healthy, wealthy (by standards) although maybe not wise (in by your standards). I hope your outlook has worked out as well for you. We will continue to disagree.

Posted by: Christine at June 1, 2009 9:03 PM
Comment #282336

Christine,

Yes it is up to me. Thanks for acknowledging that.
Yes, we disagree. That doesn’t entail disrespect. Debate is what makes this website interesting. I’m sure we both come here to hone skills and learn a thing or two along the way, at least, that’s what I get from here.

Thanks for your responses.

Posted by: gergle at June 1, 2009 10:15 PM
Post a comment