Since leaving office in 2008, President George W. Bush has laid low, staying out of public life and has taking up painting. He emerged today and together with the other four living Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, attended a dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
The day could have been awkward, given that a substantial amount of President Barack Obama’s campaign and presidency was dedicated to bashing Bush II’s policies. But for all intents and purposes, it seems that today, all have been able to put politics aside and revel in the historic moment. But as one caller to Sirius XM’s Michael Smerconish show pointed out, W sort of paved the way for there to be a Barack Obama.
By appointing two highly competent, well-credentialed African Americans in the positions of Secretary of State for his two terms, George W. Bush created the atmosphere where America, with its sordid racial history and past, could see a black person in a superior and elevated position. Bush helped to start an era where people who may not have been comfortable before were able to visualize a black president.
Of course, President Obama is his own man with a qualified past of his own. The circumstances of the struggling economy in 2008, Obama’s planned policies and promises, along with his out-of-this world oratory skills helped him land the gig. But there is little doubt that Bush II aided a bit too. It also helped Condi Rice be considered as a possible vice presidential candidate for Gov. Mitt Romney during the last presidential race. For now, a career in politics is off the table. But you never know.
This Monday, Rice, will be in town during an event hosted by an organization she once chaired while Secretary of State. The event will be hosted by the Millennium Challenge Corporation. During its 2013 Forum on Global Development on Monday, April 29 at the Ronald Reagan building in Washington, DC, Rice will keynote. Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman and Senator Patrick Leahy will also speak.