Classy move. Pure and simple class:
It has been a longtime tradition for former Presidents not to be critical of their successors, but you wouldn't know that if you ever listened to the utter failure that is Jimmy Carter or the impeached Bill Clinton, both of whom have been known to bash other Presidents. Good to see Bush stay above the fray and keep it humble.
Since flying home to Texas after the Obama inauguration on Jan. 20, Bush has been totally silent, staying first on his Crawford ranch and then moving into a new house in the Preston Hollow section of north Dallas to begin work on a book and his presidential library at Southern Methodist University.
Tuesday in Calgary, the 43rd president gave the first of about a dozen paid speeches arranged so far by the Washington Speakers Bureau on his 2009 schedule. And here's what Bush told about 2,000 business persons about his successor, the 44th president:"There are plenty of critics in the arena. he deserves my silence."
Bush said something else too:
"I love my country a lot more than I love politics. I think it is essential that he be helped in office."
Not exactly the Rush Limbaugh failure line of comment. Or the Dick Cheney tone. Bush also said if the new president wanted his help "he's welcome to call me."
The former president received two standing ovations from the Canadian audience, which paid $3,100 per table for "A Conversation with George W. Bush."
Bush said he was pleased to make his maiden post-presidential speech in a place like Alberta, (named for a daughter of Queen Victoria) which is Canada's most conservative province and one with close and deep energy-economic ties to Texas.
Bush joked that he'd need more such engagements to pay for the house his wife, Laura, bought without him seeing it. "I actually paid for a house last fall," he told the crowd. "I think i'm the only American to have bought a house in the fall of 2008."
The ex-president seemed to enjoy himself in the question-and-answer session, saying he was prepared to stay all day. "I'm flattered people even want to hear me in the first place."Bush also revealed the outlines of his book, which will be built around what he regards as his 12 toughest decisions. "I want people to understand what it was like to sit in the Oval Office," he said.