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How to be a ‘founding father’ in the 21st century

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Jon Meacham, having written a book about former president George H.W. Bush, was ideally suited to deliver one of the eulogies at Washington National Cathedral on Wednesday. Putting Bush’s presidency in the larger sweep of history he said, “George Herbert Walker Bush was America’s last great soldier-statesman, a 20th century founding father. He governed with virtues that most closely resemble those of Washington and of Adams, of TR and of FDR, of Truman and of Eisenhower, of men who believed in causes larger than themselves.”

Meacham’s “20th century founding father” is an intriguing turn of phrase, one that can be read in at least three ways.

George H.W. Bush was the father of one president and of a governor. His grandson George P. Bush is commissioner of the Texas General Land Office. The forest of Bushes that populated Washington National Cathedral was an impressive reminder that Bush led one of the great American families -- one that includes politicians, lawyers, philanthropists, authors and, above all,........

© Washington Post