Bush 41's long goodbye

The nation's farewell to its forty-first president continues with yet another day of ceremonial spectacle, following the state funeral and a national day of mourning that saw the stock exchanges and Postal Service shutting down.  The entire process has been incredibly well thought through, featuring impressive visual production values reinforcing the message that we are saying farewell to a giant among presidents.

The Bush family and its many friends have done a superb job of planning, and the details have been handled with foresight and care.  Witness the specially painted truck, done in the presidential blue color of Air Force One and the presidential seal, that was deployed to Joint Base Ellington outside Houston to receive President Bush from the presidential 747 and transfer him to the waiting hearse.  Every detail of the sights and sounds of the ceremonies broadcast on so many channels has sent a message of dignity, power, and respect for the departed chief executive.

Photo credit: Cropped YouTube screen grab.

Today, a deeply resonant train journey will take place, carrying George H.W. Bush's mortal remains to his final resting place at his presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station.  The forty-first president becomes the fourth POTUS to be honored with a funeral train, following Abraham Lincoln, U.S. Grant, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt – heady company for a one-term president.  And in this, too, the details have been sweated for many years.  This video from ABC 13 in Houston features the specially painted locomotive – done in the presidential colors of Air Force One – that was commissioned years ago.

Photo credit: Cropped YouTube screen grab.

The locomotive, connoting history, strength, and reliability, is a theme the Bush family seems to be fond of.  Recall this image from the 2016 campiagn:


Yesterday, appearing as a commentator on Fox News, Karl Rove predicted (correctly) that crowds of Texans will line the railroad tracks from Houston to College Station.  You can watch live coverage of the roughly hundred-mile train journey online.  My late mother told me as a child about how moved she and the entire nation were by FDR's final train journey, with people lining the tracks in tribute.  The combination of years of planning, with the utterly spontaneous, voluntary reactions of ordinary people moved to stand on overpasses or alongside the tracks, is a tribute to the care and craft that has gone into this farewell – by a political dynasty with two presidents so far that was stymied, by the upstart Donald Trump, in its efforts to elect a third one with Jeb! in 2016.

It was obvious from the moment news of President Bush's demise reached us that "second-order ramifications will begin soon and spread to a powerful chorus of voices invidiously comparing Bush 41 to Trump 45," as I wrote on the first day of December.  For the moment, Maxine Waters is not calling him a "racist," nor are the media featuring her doing so years ago.
John Hinderaker of Powerline:

The liberal media, which deplored Bush when he was an active politician, is happy to praise him now because it provides an opportunity to highlight President Donald Trump's alleged failings of character and personality.  Sometimes the contrast is merely implicit, but liberals don't want anyone to miss the point.

He provides this Grabien compilation of media figures making the point:

The normal rule is to wait for burial before criticizing the recently departed.  But some, like Dov Fisher of the American Spectator, are already tired of waiting.  Clearly, the 41st president's legacy is being re-evaluated, and that will continue.  But the Bush dynasty has a large stake going forward, with a new generation of Bushes not yet done with their plans to serve America by leading us.  The sheer competence and high degree of organization of the farewell to their presidential patriarch is impressive, indeed.

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