George H.W. Bush famously acknowledged that he didn’t have “the vision thing,” but that wasn’t entirely true.
He had a vision of public service, of country above all, of how to govern at home and conduct affairs overseas. In office, he was a pragmatist and a problem solver who held to first principles about sound stewardship. He was a conservative in the traditional sense, understanding of change yet careful in response, looking to find or build consensus where he could.
His death on Friday at age 94 has prompted many reminiscences and evaluations of his long and successful political career. That underestimated vision is worth keeping in mind. During his presidency, especially, it served the country well.
He didn’t always succeed. He made his share of mistakes. Still, his vision was right, his approach sorely missing today and well worth emulating.