Worth your time if you missed it this morning, particularly the last minute or so. The pomp and circumstance of today’s proceedings, the sheer mass of world elites parading before the cameras, had me agreeing belatedly with what Charles Cooke wrote yesterday, that we over-honor our presidents in death. If any public figure deserved a grand send-off, it was a man who began his professional life in combat during World War II and ended it overseeing a peaceful end to the Cold War. But Cooke had a point: “To shut down our civil society for a day in order to mark his peaceful passing is to invert the appropriate relationship between the citizen and the state, and to take yet another step toward the fetishization of an executive branch whose role is supposed to be more bureaucratic than spiritual, but that has come of late to resemble Caesar more than to resemble Coolidge.”
What makes Bush’s eulogy so affecting is that it cut through that pomp and circumstance and delivered Bush the man, and the father. For all the chatter this week about 41 as an exemplar of America’s stiff-upper-lip old WASP aristocracy, the Bushes have always been demonstrative in their affection for each other. Dubya did his best here to maintain that stiff upper lip but in the end there was no resisting the weight of the moment.
Oh, if you’re wondering: The Trumps and Obamas shook hands, awkwardly, when POTUS arrived. The Trumps and Clintons did not.