George H. W. Bush says he’s “mellowed” on same-sex marriage – “People have a right to be happy”
A new biography of George H. W. Bush is releasing next week and it contains a surprising number of previously unreleased insights into the former President’s beliefs, as well as his thoughts on his son’s presidency.
Combing through notes, diary entries, and personal exchanges, biographer Jon Meacham has pieced together the new book Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush. It covers, among many topics, Bush’s evolving stance on same-sex marriage.
Spanning from 1988 during his first campaign where he said “Americans don’t want homosexual marriages codified,” up to this year when he and his wife Barbra were witnesses at a same-sex wedding near their compound in Maine.
“Personally, I still believe in traditional marriage,” Mr. Bush wrote. “But people should be able to do what they want to do, without discrimination. People have a right to be happy. I guess you could say I have mellowed.”
The book also touches on how Bush felt about his son’s presidency without filter, saying VP Dick Cheney had “his own empire” within his son’s administration, and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was an “arrogant fellow.”
While he continued to praise his son, he did tell Mr. Meacham that the younger Mr. Bush was responsible for empowering Mr. Cheney and Mr. Rumsfeld and was at times too bellicose in his language.
“I do worry about some of the rhetoric that was out there — some of it his, maybe, and some of it the people around him,” Mr. Bush told Mr. Meacham. “Hot rhetoric is pretty easy to get headlines, but it doesn’t necessarily solve the diplomatic problem.”
Destiny and Power, which was featured in the New York Times Sunday Book Review here, gains some insight into the 91-year-old former president’s thoughts on his son Jeb who’e the moderate GOP’s favorite in the 2016 primary race:
Nearly all of Bush the elder’s friends thought the more studious Jeb had a better shot at the Oval Office than George W.; even James A. Baker, the secretary of state, had once jokingly described the older son as a “juvenile delinquent, damn near.”
“I thought Jeb had a better chance to win than George.” The 1994 gubernatorial elections in Texas and Florida settled the question, at least around the Bush dining room table: George W. won, surprisingly, and Jeb, just as surprisingly, lost. (Jeb would prevail in 1998 and serve eight years. Stay tuned to see if George H. W. Bush outdoes Adams on the offspring-in-the-Oval-Office front.)
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