George Bush & Bill Clinton Play Nice Together -- Why Can't Congress?

Maressa Brown

Bill Clinton George H.W. BushIn 1992, incumbent Republican George H.W. Bush and Arkansas governor and Democrat Bill Clinton duked it out in a super-contentious and memorable presidential election.

Maybe it was especially memorable for me because, at the time, I was one of the only kids voting for Clinton in my third grade class. I held my hand up long and proud for the Democratic candidate, because I knew he stood for women's rights, and that was what was most important to me as a 9-year-old. (In 18 years, not much has changed!)

None of us kids -- and certainly none of our parents -- could have guessed that two Clinton terms, two Bush Jr. terms, and almost an Obama term later, Presidents 41 and 42 would be BFFs! But, it turns out, they ARE.

Does this mean that if we fast-forward 18 years from now, Obama will be gabbing over coffee with W.? Nancy Pelosi will be hittin' up the red carpet with House Speaker John Boehner? I can't wrap my head around either of those scenarios, but hey, if Bush and Clinton are buddies now, anything's possible, right?

The latest scoop on these two presidential pals (Barbara Bush actually calls them "the odd couple") came out yesterday, when H.W. opened up to his hometown newspaper, The Houston Chronicle:  

First, let me explain that just because you run against someone in an election, it doesn't mean you hate the guy. We have to get rid of that notion. But it also would be true that you don't exactly become best friends either. Bill and I did just that, though ... Our friendship grew out of a shared belief you have to try to help whenever and wherever you can. So we have become quite close.

Who knew H.W. had a soul?! Could it just be something that has developed with age? I'm not sure, because it seems like this friendship has been blossoming (awww) for some time. Bush told the Chronicle that he and Clinton initially started "hangin' out" when W. Bush was PotUS and asked them to team up to raise money for the 2004 tsunami victims in South Asia. Soon thereafter, they banded together for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike.

Now they actually meet up for lunch to chat! Bush said they "just had a 2 1/2-hour lunch, just the two of us, when Bill was in Houston a few weeks ago, just catching up." 

I'm psyched that their ex-prez bromance is now being reported, because they're setting an awesome example. Don't you think Congress could stand to take a tip from these two? Even though the mid-'90s was like a war between Clinton and a GOP Congress, he's now able to sit down and actually see eye-to-eye with a member of that party. It could be that it's just easier for these two now, because they're both out of power. But they still have different world views, they probably don't agree on various political issues, and yet they're making a difference on the international stage -- together! 

Bush even said it himself in the interview:

I do think our friendship has sent a message around the world that just because you disagree on something doesn't mean you can't work together.

Today, America is just as divided as ever down party lines, yet no one is happy with the way Washington is run. Everyone claims they want to "work together," but the way I see it, the Republicans are blocking the Dems at every turn. If you're a Republican, I'm sure you see it differently. Either way, everyone's saying one thing, then turning around and fighting like school children. Actions speak louder than words. I'm really not sure how genuine many politicians are when they say they want to move this country forward as a team.

Republicans don't idealize Bush Sr. the way they do their current idol Reagan, but he was his VP. So, maybe today's Congress could stand to look to him and Clinton to see what "working together" actually looks like.  

Do you think Congress could stand to learn something from this "odd couple"?


Image via Kris Connor/Getty

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