Colin Hackley/Associated Press
When the senior President Bush shed tears a few days ago in the Florida Capitol about the memory of son Jeb's defeat in the 1994 Florida gubernatorial race, he supposedly was choking up about the grace in defeat showed by a son who had, at the time, represented the family's hope to someday put a Bush back in the White House.
"He didn't whine about it. He didn't complain," the former president said before choking up. As he tried to continue, he let out a sob and put a handkerchief to his face. When he spoke again, his words were broken up by pauses as he tried to regain composure.Maybe. But my guess is Bush was really crying less about Jeb's injured decency than the simple fact that the '94 defeat was where everything started to go wrong for the family. It meant that the wrong son ultimately ascended to the presidency -- instead of the accomplished anointed successor, the wayward black sheep took over, with the result that the Bush family name will now be permanently blackened in the history books, linked with the single worst foreign policy mistake in American history. In short, tears of self-pity from a proud man who saw all his dreams turn to ashes.
Of course, he could have been wracked with sobs for the nearly three thousand American men and women who have been killed in Iraq since the wrong son was elected, the far larger number grievously wounded, with physical and emotional scars they'll carry for life, or the even greater number of Iraqi dead and wounded. He could have been weeping for the way worldwide sympathy for America in the wake of 9/11 was wantonly transformed into worldwide hatred. He could have been feeling the world's pain. But probably not.
"I'm the emotional one," Bush said later. "I don't enjoy breaking up, but when you talk about somebody you love, when you get older, you do it more.'"It seemed to be all about the Bushes.