President George H.W. Bush, who died last Friday at 94, came to the Oval Office by a circuitous route. He first served eight years as vice president, a job he never wanted.
As President Ronald Reagan's steadfastly loyal stand-in, he was nominated to succeed him in 1988 in part amid Republican hopes that his election might extend the Reagan era.
Instead, it produced a foreign policy president who maintained a collective security of his own design, as seen in the Gulf War he led. Bush reversed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and quietly saw without boast the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The senior George Bush made mistakes, including raising taxes after crowing at the GOP...