So much for George H.W. Bush's decency, civility, gentlemanliness...

Now that a fifth woman has come forward to say that former President George H.W. Bush patted her butt, it's fair to say this is rather disappointing. Bush, whatever one's views of his presidency, wasn't the kind of person you'd expect to hear this kind of behavior from.

After all, didn't he run for election against Bill Clinton on a narrative of "character matters" and "character counts?"

Didn't he make his political bones on "decency" and "civility"? Wasn't his authorized biography in the works to be titled 'The Last Gentleman'? Didn't he open a "National Civility Center" in 2011?

Our nation's oldest living former president, President Bush is acknowledged for his strong character marked by decency and civility.

said the blurb from the LBJ Foundation awards ceremony honoring Bush in 2013.

Turns out Gentleman George had some ungentlemanly habits. Who wants to be patted on the rump by a stranger who felt he was entitled to it? And it was five women who said he did it, suggesting, that there was definitely a pattern. His apology was decent, one supposes, but what we have left is some wear and tear on his mildly reproachful image of Mister Civility and Decency all above the fray of lowly partisan politics.

It was a bit worse than former President Jimmy Carter admitting he lusted in his heart for women not his wife. And it was nowhere near the league of former President Bill Clinton who was repeatedly accused of assault, rape, coercion, harassment and disgusting behavior in the White House. Clinton's the president who "finished the job in the sink," as the Starr Report noted.

Bush does have his defenders, who have brought up good points - that Bush is an old man in a wheelchair without all his faculties, that his arms can only reach to butt height during photos, that he was a member of the Skull and Bones fraternity, that he's a product of the 1940s when this kind of behavior went on (and women slapped back).

Still, it doesn't quite mesh with his image as a high gentleman above it all, and disdainful of the "uncivil." That not-insignificant part of his legacy has just gotten a little more tarnished.








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