Gov.-elect Ned Lamont paid tribute to former President George H.W. Bush, who died Friday night at the age of 94, by proclaiming that Bush deserves to be considered among the top 10 presidents of all time.
Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, in 1924, with his family bringing him to Connecticut when he was an infant. He was the only president with residential ties to Fairfield County.
“He grew up on Grove Lane in Greenwich, where his dad was moderator of the Greenwich Representative Town Meeting and was later U.S. senator,” said Lamont in a statement issued by his office. “His son, 41, met his wife Barbara at a dance at The Round Hill Club in Greenwich and their first son, 43, was born in New Haven. 43 once said that no one would ever ‘out Texas’ him; George H.W. Bush was not so shy about his Connecticut roots, and we will miss our native son, who was not only a true nutmegger but an underappreciated President.”
Lamont acknowledged that historians have ranked most of the nation’s one-term presidents as being among the least successful White House occupants, with James K. Polk as the sole exception. “Maybe it is time to add another one-termer to the top 10 list, George H.W. Bush,” Lamont continued, praising Bush’s foreign service career and his approach to global crises during his 1989-93 presidency while tartly noting that the U.S. “had mostly foreign policy rookies in the White House over the last generation.”
Lamont also praised Bush for seeking out “a 1990s version of the grand bargain, a mix of tax increases and spending cuts.” Lamont admitted that Bush was “vilified” for the reversal of his 1988 campaign pledge about not raising taxes, but he pointed to declines in federal spending and the federal deficit during Bush’s last year in office as being evidence that his willingness to raise taxes was the correct course of action.
“History will show that he was a really good one-term president,” Lamont eulogized. “As American politics takes a particularly rough turn, we will all miss and should always remember George H.W. Bush, Connecticut’s native son, a kinder and gentler time, marked by courage and wisdom and service.”