Does Mitt Romney owe George Bush an apology?September 6, 2012
Bill Clinton rocked the Democratic National Convention last night with his speech re-nominating President Obama for a second term. Whatever you may think of him, there’s no denying that the former President can wow an audience. Listening to his speech, though, something suddenly occurred to me:
Why didn’t George W. Bush speak at the Republican National Convention last week?
Frequent readers of this blog know that I’m not a big fan of the second President Bush. Nonetheless, he’s a former President in vigorous midlife (unlike his father and former President Carter, both of whom may have reached the point in their respective lives where they’d rather speak on camera than take the floor) and, until four years ago, the standard-bearer of his political party. Maybe he turned down an opportunity to reclaim the limelight, but I think it’s far more likely that the Romney campaign decided not to invite him to the podium. If that’s true, it’s truly a shame.
Imagine, if you will, being a former President who served to the best of your ability for eight years. Imagine further that, instead of speaking at your party’s convention, you had to sit sidelined and silent in favor of an actor who spent his time on camera swearing at an empty chair. If that former President were me, I’d feel hurt and unfairly marginalized. It’s hard to imagine that former President Bush didn’t feel the same way.
Mitt Romney has made clear on multiple occasions that he doesn’t believe in apologies. In this instance, though, I wish he’d make an exception. While I don’t believe George W. Bush was a particularly good President, his policies mirrored what candidate Romney has proposed, so his exclusion from the stage has to have been personal rather than political. Former Presidents deserve more respect than that, and George W. Bush deserves an apology from the Romney campaign.
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