What We Will Remember About Bush

>The Iraqi reporter who threw the shoes at President Bush over the weekend was a pretty good shot, and the President has better relexes than I thought. Whether we would like to have been the guy throwing the shoes or not, one has to say that the President acted with great aplomb to dodge the tosses and his reaction was one of grace and humor. I haven’t always been a fan of Bush, but he’s got chutzpah. As much as I disdain the awkward pompous way that he walks and the stumble-mumble of the way he talks, I have to remember that at heart he’s a decent man. I know this from the personal experience of my father-in-law, Guy Godwin.

Mr. Godwin, as we all called him out of deference to his years as a high school principal, was one of the most decent and faithful men I have ever known. He died 8 years ago at age 66 of a heart attack. He loved everyone regardless of their station in life, was forthright, a man of great convictions and few words. He exuded leadership. He attracted “lost boys” and mentored many of us into manhood.
He met George W. Bush when Bush was part-owner of the Texas Rangers. He was at the game with his long-time friend Gene Moore of Lake City, father of financier Darla Moore. They were sitting in the owner’s box, and I’m sure Mr. Godwin, would have preferred sitting off to the side observing the crowd where he could analyze the situation. He was good at sizing up people.
What he relayed to us about what had impressed him about George Bush was when one of Bush’s daughters, a teenager at the time, was sitting up front in Mr. Godwin’s assigned seat. Bush spoke to whichever one it was and said, “_____, Get up. That’s Mr. Godwin’s seat.” He didn’t have to do that. Mr. Godwin was content where he was, but it showed common concern and decency for Bush to make his daughter move. This simple act of courtesy stuck with Mr. Godwin, a man who tended to always vote for Democratic candidates. He measured Bush and found a man who wasn’t given to privilege and pecking orders, just a man who did what he thought was right.
As much as George Bush has chosen wrongly over his presidency, I’m glad that he chose correctly at Texas Stadium. He taught his daughter manners, and he exhibited the common touch. I hope to remember Bush in a better light than I’ve pondered his leadership. Clinton may have been the consummate politician, but Bush deserves a little respect for his fanfare for the common man, at least for my father-in-law. For that I’m grateful.

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