CNN said: "Bush and his wife, Laura, and Obama and his wife, Michelle, were seated next to each other, and during Sen. Joe Liberman's eulogy for McCain, CNN cameras caught a sweet moment that quickly went viral.
"Bush was seen taking a piece of what looks like candy (or a mint or lozenge) from his wife, and surreptitiously passing it to Michelle Obama, who mouths a "thank you," while all four members of the former first couples smile.
"In the midst of a solemn event, that one exchange between members of opposing political parties was seen by many as a message of hope and unity."
I may be the only person in the country who was not obsessing over where the Trumplets sat at one of the several McCain funerals but was kind of bugged by George Bush being cute by offering candies to the ladies. This version makes it a little clearer that it was Laura Bush who originally supplied the distractions, but no clearer about why Obama himself didn't get one. Except that his sense of propriety during ceremonies would preclude that.
Still, it was too much like an indulgent uncle passing a peppermint to a fractious child during a long boring sermon. Big-me to little-you, a surreptitious alliance against the adults. Clearly Laura knew what to do about her restless husband.
The media loves the idea of a "friendship" or flirtation between George and Michelle, but it comes a little too close to hugging another man's wife -- acting cute with another president's wife. Too close to taking liberties not excused by status. Bush sometimes is a pastel echo of Trump, pretending to be young and boisterous rather than Trump's bullish claims. No one would ever catch Bush grabbing a lady by the pussy or even suggesting such a thing. But leaning and winking -- that's okay. Cute.
Michelle, on her side, also reacts like a mom indulging a cute kid. What else can she do? Both have to be aware that race enters into it. How tolerant is it that a Republican/
faintly Confederate white man can act like this with her, though it marks her as subordinate (a white man can treat a dark woman familiarly). He would never do this with Mamie Eisenhower or Jackie Kennedy. But George has always been a kid, joking and not paying attention, even at a Great State Ceremonial Funeral. Esp. if he's not very comfortable and it's clear that military stuff makes him itch.
Rachel Maddow's criticism of the Kavanaugh nomination last night (9-3-18) occasionally referred to the George Bush presidency. Evidently the papers that the Repubs withheld with their game-playing were created while Kavanaugh was part of the Bush White House, particularly at the time torture was being discussed. Maybe Kavanaugh didn't take a liberal attitude towards torture, but clearly and officially Bush permitted it.
Propriety is a big part of the defense of Republicans: "We are the grownups, the Papas. You other rabble are simply servants and children. if we have to spank you, we'll do it, because we're entitled and we must keep order. But it's undignified." Bad as Bush was, the rumour today is that Trump is so deranged that his staff has to steal documents off his desk to keep him from signing them. If he doesn't miss them right away, he'll be on to his next mischief and not remember whether or not he signed them.
If Bush got distracted, he had a father and a brother who could put him back on track. Trump's brother died of alcoholism and his father was mafia. It's illiberal of me to say so, but these are simply rude facts. We are degenerating into the England we left to form a new nation, just as England is hoping Brexit will help them return to an old nation. Both are strangely part of a world-wide revulsion against change.
Symbolism rules. The figures of bonneted women in red, echoing nuns with fertility as service, speak more powerfully that the Rule of Law that can be twisted, redefined, interpreted -- even the Constitution of the United States.
It's ironic that my opinions often come down closest to those of VICE.
"Coming back into the public sphere to promote his new book of paintings of veterans, former president George W. Bush has been making stops on all the major talk shows to declare: I! Am! Not! Donald! Trump! On Thursday night, Bush told Jimmy Kimmel that unlike our current president, he was not bothered by SNL parodying him. "The best humor is when you make fun of yourself," said Bush, who as president cut taxes for the rich and started an unnecessary war in Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands and helped give rise to ISIS."
The humour shtick is shared with McCain. But VICE is probably right in suspecting George of merchanizing motives. In fact, I like his painting and his book, but partly because I think he is compensating for lethal damage he did in office. On the other hand, I don't think he was the family member who was intended to be President (It was Jeb.). This idea of a dynasty is another lingering pentimento of British ideas best left overseas. I don't think George fit the part of crown prince nor was happy performing it. He'd rather cut brush.
The Obamas know how to sit through long ceremonies respectfully and with grace. They also know to indulge the immature or dispositionally unsuited to sitting still, as does Laura Bush. I suppose I ought to be more tolerant, more amused. But having been clergy, even in a denomination inclined to be casual, it comes very close to suffering fools gladly. On the other hand, I don't mind agreeing with a publication called "VICE." We're all cameras now.