Did you know it's Celebrate Poppy month? A couple of weeks ago was the 88th birthday of former president George H.W. "Poppy" Bush (the "good" George Bush -- sorta kinda.) And the media has been partying with a host of distinctly non-journalistic tributes.
HBO ran what Salon described as a "flattering documentary" -- which, since documentaries are supposed to be about the truth, meant no documentary at all.
"41," a new documentary about George H.W. Bush...is a political film that isn't very political. It's the story of the former president's life, told only in his words, without much context and with no critical commentary.
Whoo-hoo! Good for HBO, continuing to push the bounds of the possible. Besides the cable giant, the New York Times' Maureen Dowd, weighed in with more cotton candy.
I FLEW down to Houston last year to have lunch with George Herbert Walker Bush.
"Did you come because you think I'm going to die?" he asked me with a wry smile.
"Not at all," I replied, adding that I wanted to join him on his planned sky-diving excursion when he turned 90. (It sends the world a message, as he puts it, that "old guys can still do exciting things.")
It made me sad to see him in a wheelchair, his lower legs weakened by Parkinsonitis. He had once been so kinetic that the Chinese press described him as "ants on a hot pan," and his golf game was so manic that W. dubbed it "golf-polo."
But 41 can still drive his cherished cigarette boat, Fidelity IV, in Kennebunkport, and he was very much himself over pizza at his favorite Houston dive: racy jokes, no airs, ever gracious.
He spoke fondly of his new pal, Bill Clinton, and highly of President Obama.
That's why we love the New York Times. It can find something cheery in the ways in which powerful men catering to rich people can get along irrespective of nominal party differences.
The problem, which neither HBO nor The Times will mention, is that Poppy Bush is only a "gracious" man in his public manners, not in his (largely deniable) actions -- the most odious of which have never been reported to the American people by either the establishment media or the so-called "alternative" (liberal) media.
I spent years researching the elder Bush for my book, Family of Secrets. What I learned fascinated and astounded me. It began to explain my gnawing sense that presidential elections generally have almost nothing to do with the rest of us.
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